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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Oh, Mel … diplomatic and humble AND a great ‘team player’ for the promotion of our beloved sport … yet – imho – just go for it – you might just be in the right place at the right time for the transition to “that chair”. Glad you ‘planted the flag’.

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

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

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.

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.)

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.


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

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


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.


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?”


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


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

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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