Coleman’s Carpool: Gold Medal Mel answers “Who will be the next Rowdy”

In Coleman’s Carpool we get the insider’s perspective on your favorite swimmers. SwimSwam Head of Production, Coleman Hodges, invites swimmers to take a ride with him and talk about anything…except swimming. Mostly.

Melvin Stewart is a man of many names. 3-time Olympic Medalist. 2-time Olympian. Ambassador of the USA Swimming Foundation. Professional Hollywood Screenwriter. ESPN Analyst and Host. Perhaps most well known (and fondly referred to in the swimming community) as Gold Medal Mel. He’s traveled the world, he’s has success at every level, he’s made a name for himself in numerous circles. But to us at Swimswam, he is Co-Founder and CEO.

Everyone who’s a swim fan knows Rowdy Gaines. He has become the voice of swimming to this generation, sitting in the coveted NBC announcer chair at every major swim meet, national or international, for the last 15+ years. I asked Mel 1) why wasn’t he announcing swimming? and 2) Who will be… the next Rowdy?

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Admin
4 years ago

….haven’t even watched this vid yet… Hang on. I forget what I said bc I was just hanging out with Coleman in ATX…

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
4 years ago

Watched it…. I mentioned only a few guys, but the list is longer and includes a lot of exceptional women. You get better at it with time. Rowdy certainly did…….. I’d add that the BBC coverage, the way they did it, is ideal. I really liked the BBC’s coverage of the 2012 Games. There was a host and a color person, but in between events they threw the camera to Ian Thorpe in a studio sitting on a couch. Thorpe’s commentary made me feel like I was watching the Olympics with him on the couch. Just chill, very authentic. That’s the Olympic experience, and that’s what I’d like to see in 2020.

PK boo I\'m sad my name is too short now
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
4 years ago

I think it’s telling that a lot of hard-core swim people would rather watch the BBC feed or the international swimming feed, and people who aren’t into swimming watch, know, and appreciate Rowdy. I think having both options available remains a good thing, and am curious if there is a way to bridge the gap between the two.

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
4 years ago

Oh snap…… Phelps? If Michael wants to call color, Michael will call color. However, I do think the way the BBC did their coverage would work great with Phelps. It’s all FaceTime / direct connection with the audience, a starring role. (I’m a big fan of what Phelps is doing on Facebook.)

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
4 years ago

Just wrote a long comment about Phelps and didn’t post… So, Phelps. Can’t believe I didn’t mention Phelps. If Phelps wants the chair, Phelps gets the chair. I actually think Phelps would be fantastic. He’s got an eye for details– and he’s comfortable on camera.

JDM
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
4 years ago

Thanks for adding there are some exceptional women who could be on that list!

Reply to  JDM
4 years ago

yeah….the old gender roles in sports is lame (utter BS really), and it especially doesn’t fit in swimming.

Charlie
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
4 years ago

Donna DeVarona was ABC’s female swimming announcer for years and years — I may be wrong but I think she shared duties with Murray Rose before she was paired with Mark Spitz and then John Naber. Why things went to just one male, namely Rowdy, after Donna is puzzling.

marklewis
4 years ago

He asks, “Who is going to be the next Rowdy Gaines?” but there’s no sign that Rowdy’s leaving. Is NBC replacing Rowdy?

Rowdy Gaines does not have command of the English language. That, combined with his erratic ADHD mind, makes for some bad announcing. A recently retired sports media critic said that Rowdy was the most annoying announcer he had to cover.

Mel alludes to the “politics” of swimming. Is it because it’s a small elite community that you have to be careful not to offend anyone and “play nice?”

Cate
Reply to  marklewis
4 years ago

I like the fact that he shows a lot of excitement when he works the meets. The problem is he doesn’t seem to have done his homework concerning the swimmers. There are only so many times he can say “breathing to his right” until you know he’s winging it. Also his over the top fawning over Michael Phelps is embarrassing

Drewbrewsbeer
4 years ago

I’d love to hear a team of Stewart, Phelps and Coughlin (when she’s ready) .

Steve Nolan
4 years ago

(A minute into the video) COLEMAN COULD SEE THAT RED CR-V COMING UP ON HIM B/C HE WAS BREATHING TO HIS RIGHT!

Cate
Reply to  Steve Nolan
4 years ago

Lol. Wish I had a dollar for every time I heard Rowdy say that.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Cate
4 years ago

I want him to purposefully say it in a non-free stroke so badly. It would make like 0.01% of the audience’s head explode (SwimSwam commenters) and I would die.

Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

I loved watching the swimming coverage on the NBC app for two reasons:
1) The two commentators were the woman and man duo from Australia and New Zealand (Rowdy Gaines wasn’t on it);
2) They talked about all of the swimmers, not just he Americans, and this was refreshing.

Fun fact: if you view the NBC archive videos of the Rio races, they don’t use the Dan Hicks/Rowdy Gaines version, but the above #1 version.

I could see Melvin doing the job. I heard him provide commentary for some events circa 2010 and he was knowledgeable and provided a pleasant easy-to-listen-to voice.

I assume that the job will go to Phelps for the 2020 games. He… Read more »

Cate
Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

The commentators you are referring to are Nicole Livingstone and Bruce McAvaney. They are both Australian. You’re right they are so much better than Rowdy and Dan. They are more informative and more prepared.

Dani
4 years ago

Brittany maclean!

northern light
Reply to  Dani
4 years ago

Brittany MacLean did very well commenting at the World Short Course Championships in Windsor.

Ice age swimmer
Reply to  Dani
4 years ago

I am not trying to be mean here, but although she is very knowledgeable, her delivery is SO monotoned and deadpanned, that she comes off as either deeply depressed or extremely bored. Absolutely NO animation in her voice. I found it very difficult to listen to. It made me really appreciate Rowdy.

ALEXANDER POP-OFF
4 years ago

NBC should hire Ariana Kukors! The commentary is in need of a fresh voice, a female voice, a younger swimmer with major experience and accomplishment to add a new dimension. She was very good this summer.

Chase
Reply to  ALEXANDER POP-OFF
4 years ago

I could see Ari being the next Rowdy! I also think Anthony Ervin could be it too. He’s a great ambassador for the sport, and is the “rock star” of swimming

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Chase
4 years ago

Ari indeed did very well & has the “broadcast-quality” voice. As for Tony, it depends on how long Rowdy keeps being the Energizer Bunny of swimming for men (of course, there is Dara for the ladies!)

Sir Swimsalot
4 years ago

I’m ready for Rowdy to be replaced.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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