Courtesy of Julia Galan
The YMCA of Central Florida Masters team is excited to host the 7th Annual Rowdy Gaines Classic, a unique short course meters meet whose unofficial motto is “Fast, Fun and Friendly”! This year’s competition, which is also serving as the 2015 Dixie Zone Short Course Meters Championships, will be taking place at the YMCA Aquatic Center in beautiful Orlando, Florida from October 9th-11th, 2015. The short course meters, 3-day championship style format of the meet will allow participants the opportunity to break quite a few records at the world-class YMCA Aquatic Center facility.
Since its inception in 2009, the Rowdy Gaines Classic has been characterized by its inclusiveness – a competition that is open to all, and where everyone has a story. Last year’s edition alone saw unprecedented performances by John Corse, Bill Adams, Tiger Holmes and Ed Graves, who became the first men’s relay team to set world records in the 360-399 age group for the 400 and 800 meter freestyle relays. Swimmers new to the sport raced together with Olympians and world-class athletes. Families comprised of several generations of swimmers competed in the same events. An international atmosphere prevailed, including participating swimmers from the Bahamas, Cuba, Britain, Germany, and Estonia. Whether new to the sport, seeking a best time, or hoping to break a record, all competitors at the Rowdy Gaines Classic were welcomed.
And if there was ever a pool where records could tumble, it would be the YMCA Aquatic Center of Orlando, the perfect venue for the Rowdy Gaines Classic. As one of the largest indoor swimming complexes in the southeastern United States, the Aquatic Center hosts a variety of national and international competitions each year. The star-studded record board on the far side of the pool deck features swimming greats as Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Matt Biondi, and Janet Evans, among many others. The location – right in the heart of Orlando’s International Drive and within walking distance of a wide variety of shops, restaurants and hotels– is perfect for post-meet relaxation and refreshment.
A popular competition is usually accompanied by a top-notch organizational team, and the Rowdy Gaines Classic is no exception. Headed by Jillian Wilkins and Scott Bay, the team of officials, timers and volunteers are professional and friendly, making the Classic a smooth and efficiently run event. And the extra touches, such as the beautifully designed medals for first, second and third places, or the specially designed Rowdy Gaines Classic t-shirts, are the perfect complement to an exciting meet.
And speaking of Rowdy Gaines, the meet’s namesake hardly needs an introduction, as most of us know this three-time Olympic gold medalist and International Hall of Famer. But while he may have countless accomplishments to his name, Rowdy is never absent from the pool deck, where you’ll find him swimming, cheering and chatting with friends and fans alike. In fact, Rowdy and YCF Masters coach Scott Bay even host a free stroke clinic during the meet that allows participants to watch from on deck or even get in the water to practice the instructional drills presented.
With a fast pool, a 3-day championship style short course meters format, a dynamic and friendly atmosphere, and Orlando in October, who could pass up the opportunity to experience the 7th Annual Rowdy Gaines Classic?
Scott Bay, Jillian Wilkins, Rowdy Gaines and the YCF Masters are looking forward to welcoming Masters swimmers of all ages, levels and nationalities to the YMCA Aquatic Center on October 9th through 11th.
Still not convinced? Get a taste of the meet atmosphere from our 2014 post-competition recap here.
We’re looking forward to seeing you in Orlando!
Julia Galan is a lifelong competitive swimmer and a USA Swimming and U.S. Masters Swimming coach. Julia’s passion for the sport, for coaching and for writing led to the creation of Swimspire, a coaching and swimming inspiration source geared towards athletes of all levels and goals.