Rowdy Gaines life is one of inspiration and courage. Gaines, born in Winter Haven, Florida, didn't start swimming until the age of 17. He tried other sports as youngster but was either too short, too slow, or not coordinated enough. As he recalls, "I wanted to play football but was so intimidated by the size of the other players."
A shy boy growing up, Rowdy Gaines found the solitude of swimming laps to be just what the doctor ordered. But his shyness quickly dissipated with his new found swimming success. After two years of rapid improvement as a high school swimmer, he was offered a scholarship to swim for Auburn University and under legendary coach Richard Quick.
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