Day In The Life of NBC Sports Voice of Swimming Rowdy Gaines At The Olympics

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman Hodges and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

Three-time Olympic Champion and NBC Sports Voice of Swimming, Rowdy Gaines, has the dream job. Who wouldn’t want a front-row-center seat at the Olympic Games?  The 2021 Olympic Games (and the U.S. Olympic Trials) will mark Rowdy’s 8th turn in the chair.

What I want to know is what’s it really like? I have an idea. I’ve subbed for Rowdy before, but only for small competitions.  I know it’s intense, days starting at 5am and ending, sometimes, after midnight.  Thankful, ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Rowdy shares some details in this SwimSwam Podcast.

Rowdy also addresses the elephant in the room. Rowdy is well aware his commentary is not for us, the Swim Nerds. Rowdy’s working for NBC. He’s under direct instructions to call the races for the non-swimming audience, that fan that drops in once every four years.  “I have to have a moment where I explain the backstroke flags,” Rowdy laughed.  “I do it on every Olympic telecast.”

Rowdy, of course, loves the television gig and he shares a lot of insights:

  • his day-in-the-life from the Rio Olympics
  • how he goes to the bathroom during live telecasts
  • a few funny mistakes over the years
  • when he’s gotten the giggles during live telecasts
  • how he tries to manage four people talking in his ear while he’s commentating
  • and he shares his thoughts on how COVID will impact the Olympics


Music: Otis McDonald

Follow Rowdy Gaines on Instagram here.

Follow Gold Medal Mel Stewart on INSTAGRAM HERE

Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 months ago

Uh oh, can swimswam provide a live cast announcer of their own? We can then just mute the video feed. I think the swimswam commenters could group fund a salary for Gil, Mel and/or Braden to do this. I would gladly fork over $20 (or even more) and I bet there are more than 100 others like me….

Reply to  Andy
5 months ago

100x$20 wouldn’t even put a dent in the legal bills we’d be handed when NBC sued us for that 😉

Reply to  Braden Keith
5 months ago

Is it specifically illegal in the sense that it’d be like an unauthorized radio broadcast, i.e. describing the action in the water as it’s happening? I recall one of the old defunct swimming sites doing this like 10 years ago, don’t remember which.

Reply to  Reid
5 months ago
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 months ago

Otherwise you would take it,wouldn’t you?

5 months ago

Like for over 50 breathing to his/her right comments in Tokyo; Dislike for under

Last edited 5 months ago by FLSwimmer
cynthia curran
5 months ago

Really, can’t picture Brue Furness doing this. Rowdy Gaines fits this foro NBC. He has the personality. I think before Rowdy, Spitz or Naber did it in 84. Spitz did it in 76. Naber did it in 88. Donna Devarona in 72 or 78. Donna Devarona did several different sports. So, did Summer Sanders do different sports besides swimming.

Reply to  cynthia curran
5 months ago

Spitz and de Varona did it in ’84. That was his last time, but I think de Varona did it up through 92.

Reply to  cynthia curran
5 months ago

Naber was decent in 1988. His partner, Don Criqui, was AWFUL. 1984 with Jim Lampley and Spitz was 4/10. Basically the old model of a seasoned sports presenter (from other sports) with the veteran swimmer color commentary. The 1976 broadcast team of “Cowboy” Curt Gowdy and deVarona was comical. DeVarona deferred to Gowdy, let him interrupt her, and he didn’t really know what was going on. Go ahead and watch the 1976 4 x 100 FrR again, where the USA women upset the East Germans. As much as I don’t like Rowdy’s presenting, he’s much better than 1976 and 1988.

cynthia curran
5 months ago

I think Mel Stewart most also really like the sport since he does swimswam.

Irish Ringer
5 months ago

Props to Rowdy knowing the commentary he gets from this audience.

5 months ago

“She’s going to do it, Dan! She’s going to do it!”

5 months ago


“Oh yeah! Rowdy’s always right!”


5 months ago

I would love to see Natalie Coughlin as a swimming commentator.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

Read More »