Rowdy Gaines Gives Insight to NBC Coverage for US Nationals

“I like the way that USA Swimming has this because it put’s the pressure on the athlete to make sure they’re training in the middle of the quad. I think if they didn’t do that, you would be apt to, not take it easy necessarily, but back off on what you should be doing.”

NBC’s own Rowdy Gaines gave SwimSwam an exclusive interview on what exactly goes into a big production like US Nationals, and what his job looks like during the meet. Many are familiar with Rowdy as the voice of swimming and see him on deck at nearly every major meet, but what you may not realize is how much actually goes into Rowdy’s job at this high level competitions.

“We sit down every day, and we have a 3-hour production meeting, and we go over every single athlete. Name pronunciation, where they’re from, what club, what country. We do our homework. But, I tend to gloss over the other athletes and concentrate on, the Chase Kalisz’s, because I know Chase Kalisz is going to win. That’s the unfortunate thing about our sport is that, especially in a short race… you can’t talk about lane 7.”

US Nationals is part of the 2018 Team USA Summer Champions Series, presented by Xfinity, which consists of five events this year, concluding with the U.S. Gymnastics Championships Aug. 16-19. This nationals will be a qualifying meet for several international teams across USA Swimming, including 2018 Pan Pacs, 2019 World Championships, 2019 Pan American Games, and 2019 World University Games.

“One of the criticisms I get, and it’s justified in a way, is the fact that I never mention Sue over there in lane 8, and she had a best time. Well, we never see her! She could have had a best time, and she was there, but the camera never showed her. We have to talk about what’s happening in front of us… in front of you. So, this chance, I can say ‘here’s 13-year-old Sue Jones who’s over there in lane 8, and she just made the Pan Am team’, which is so cool for her. And that’s something I’ll be able to bring up a lot more during this meet than I ever have before.” 

NBC will broadcast two hours of coverage at 3 p.m. ET on both Saturday and Sunday, while NBCSN has more than eight hours of coverage.

Ted Robinson handles the call throughout the competition, alongside three-time Olympic gold medalist and analyst Rowdy Gaines and reporter Ahmed Fareed.

Events on NBC and NBCSN will be streamed via authentication on and the NBC Sports app. Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA content will be streamed via authentication on,, the NBC Sports app, and the Olympic Channel app.


Following is NBC Sports’ telecast schedule of the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships, part of the Team USA Summer Champions Series, presented by Xfinity:

Date Time (ET) Event Network
Wed., July 25 9 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 1 Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA
11 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 1* NBCSN
Thurs., July 26 9 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 2 Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA
11 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 2* NBCSN
Fri., July 27 9 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 3 Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA
11 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 3* NBCSN
Sat., July 28 3 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships (Taped) NBC
10 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 4* Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA
Sun., July 29 1 a.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 4* NBCSN
3 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships (Taped) NBC
9 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 5 Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA
Mon., July 30 6 p.m. 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships – Day 5** NBCSN

*Indicates same-day delay

**Indicates next-day delay

LIVE STREAMING: and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will stream coverage via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value for their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports app is available on Apple iOS, Android and select Samsung devices, as well as on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Comcast’s X1, Roku, Win10, PlayStation and Xbox.

Both the NBC Sports app and NBC Sports Gold are powered by Playmaker Media, NBC Sports Digital’s technology service which provides end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.

Courtesy of NBC.

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Will it be streamed by usa swimming? For those that don’t get the olympic channel


It should be! If not that’s just messed up.

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo

Rowdy gets way too much hate. I have never heard another commentator who has the passion and excitement for the sport more than him. Most others sound boring.


There are some exceptions. For example, I really enjoyed whoever did the day 1 stream for men’s ncaas this year and the boomshakalaka guy who is at other major national meets.


That guy over rowdy any day.

Becky D

Livestream Andy!

Rowdy will be the first person to explain that he’s calling races for NBC, for an audience of non-swimmers or swammers who not as in-touch with swimming. I think he’d release his inner swimNERD if he were calling for hardcore swimmers only.


Non swimmers don’t watch swimming really lol unless it’s their kid or family member. Swammers know what he’s talking about.

Sean S

But he doesn’t change the way he calls races when it’s SEC champs or NCAA champs when it’s exclusively a well informed audience tuning in. And his excuse of not having time to talk about the swimmer in lane 8 doesn’t hold up when he’s calling a 1650 and only mentions 2 names the entire race until the very end when a guy he thinks is getting lapped wins the whole thing.


When Ledecky was swimming the finals of the 800 in London he spent more time talking about Phelps (who (a) doesn’t even swim distance and (b) wasn’t swimming the event) than Ledecky or any of the other women in the heat.


Mel should do a live Swim Swam podcast so we don’t have to listen to 16-hours of “breathing to his right”. It would be nice for swimmers and swammers to have a swim junkie live podcast.

I do give Rowdy big props for coming out against PED doping in Rio.

Ex Quaker

I disagree with him on how difficult it is to talk about other swimmers in the heat- other countries’ reporters seem to have no problem and Rowdy spends a HEFTY percentage of the race talking about the favorite. It’s not relegated to their performance in the race, either; he’s well known to focus in on more peripheral information (things such as Ryan Lochte’s kid when Lochte is competing in a race). That time would seem better spent, at least to me, focusing on the “second-tier” athletes in the heat (e.g. anyone who isn’t winning/the favorite). However, I’m glad he’s receptive to criticism and seems to take it seriously.

Johnny Twobad

Notice how Rowdy’s voice goes up about three octaves when a race gets close, esp. when an American catches up and passes a rival.


That comment is uncalled for and inappropriate – His voice only escalates 2 octaves and turns sharp…F sharp if I am not mistaken.

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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