2020 Tokyo Olympics: Rowdy Gaines’ Reaction to Caeleb Dressel’s Relay Finish Steals the Show on ‘Rowdy Cam’

by Suzanne Halliburton

Rowdy Gaines got way rowdy when calling the Tokyo Olympics swimming. And his voice kicked up an octave each time Caeleb Dressel hit the pool.

You see, Gaines and Dressel have a kinship. Way back in the day, Gaines was a champion swimmer at Auburn. He won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics as he established himself as the fastest man in the water.

Now, almost four decades later, Dressel, a fellow Florida native, laid claim as the fastest of the Tokyo Olympics.

The official Tokyo Olympics social media account had some fun with Gaines’ exuberance.

“Introducing the latest Tokyo Olympics innovation. ROWDY CAM.”

So, want to get rowdy, watch the video. Here’s a warning, you probably don’t need to turn up the volume. Rowdy will wake up your sleeping dog.

The race in question was the men’s 400-meter medley relay. It was the final race of the Tokyo Olympics swimming competition. Dressel, America’s gold-medal man, swam the butterfly leg, so he wasn’t the anchor of the relay. That was Zach Apple.

Rowdy celebrated them all. And if you’d like some behind-the-scenes flavor, Gaines is basically a swim coach sitting in the TV booth. Ordinarily, coaches prowl the pool decks, stopwatch in hand, obsessively checking splits. Then, they’ll stop talking as the race is ending and start jumping. Up in the booth, Gaines clicked off the splits and put them into context without the need of notes. Then he threw up his arms in celebration as he realized that the United States won the gold and held off Great Britain.

(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Gaines Wouldn’t Be Anywhere Else Than Tokyo Olympics

Plus, Rowdy Gaines had some American skin in the game. The Americans only win gold in this relay. They’ve never lost it at the Olympics. The only time another team earned gold was when the United States boycotted the Olympics in 1980. Coincidentally, Gaines was set up for a banner Olympics in 1980. He was the world record holder in the sprints, but he didn’t get to swim. Instead, he extended his career for another four years to compete in Los Angeles. And he anchored the American medley relay, too, while also winning golds in the 100 free and 400 free relays.

Now, he gets his swim on by calling events for NBC. He started doing Olympic commentary in 1992.

But Gaines isn’t capable of being the calm, cool analyst when it comes to calling his former specialty, the freestyle.

Dressel, who won five gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, appeared on set for an interview last night with NBC. Dressel said Gaines yelled so loudly Saturday night that he could hear him as he walked to the podium.

What did Rowdy yell?

“Welcome to the club!”

Like Gaines did back in 1984, Dressel won the sprint freestyles at the Tokyo Olympics.