Olympian to visit Lewisburg

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rowdy Gaines, three-time swimming gold medalist at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, will be coming to the Lewisburg Recreation Center on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m.

Besides his three Olympic Gold medals, Gaines' other accomplishments include being a member of the Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

The Florida native is an eight-time NCAA Champion and 22-time NCAA All American, and 17-time National Champion. He also is an eight-time Pan American Games champion, a five-time World Champion and holder of 11 world records.

Gaines went on to become the voice of American swimming, as the acknowledged expert commentator for the Olympics on NBC Sports and also for other major swimming competitions televised by ESPN, ESPN2 and Turner Sports.

Gaines, the Executive Director of Rowdy's Kidz, an initiative of The Limu Company (TLC) based in Lake Mary, Fla., conducts free swim clinics across America to help build character and promote life lessons through swimming.

The Rowdy's Kidz program was created to help children better understand the value of having an active lifestyle, healthier nutritional choices and the positive can-do attitude that champions share through school visits and presentations, free swim clinics, online tools, and regular communication directly with kids.

Regarded as the fastest swimmer on the planet during the 1980's, Gaines shocked the world with his announcement in 1991 that he had contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves.

Gaines fought back from partial paralysis to overcome the disorder and said in an interview at the time, "Swimming literally saved my life, my doctors explained, that my lung capacity from swimming spared me from breathing with a respirator."

Gaines will share his Olympic experiences, his amazing recovery from Guillian-Barre Syndrome, and will be available to sign autographs at the 7 p.m. open public meeting in the banquet room at the Rec Center.