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2014 Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic VI

The following is a report from Dave Holland, who attended what has become a popular meet: the Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic in Orlando, FL. Obviously the meet agreed with him since he swam some very fast times, including a new LMSC Record in the 200 breast!

Rowdy and Dave

“Here I am with Rowdy, who sees the same hairstylist as me evidently.”

[This was] a very good experience. Rowdy was on deck and shows the same enthusiasm and warmth that he does on TV. He talked to everyone and was everywhere, cheering and talking nonstop. At one point, as we passed near the locker room, he could tell I was getting ready for a race and said “what have you got?” When I said 200 fly, he smiled, put his hand on my forehead, and said something to the effect of “bless you son”.

He also got very excited on Friday night because he helped to orchestrate the first ever 360+ relay. Four guys, 3 of them in their nineties and the young one at 88, swam an 800 free relay, and Rowdy was there coaching and encouraging every step of the way. Then he ran over to the microphone, informed the crowd of the historic nature of this swim, and everyone got into it. The entire crowd cheered them on as they set the first world record for men 360-399. Those old guys were just so happy as each one did his part over in lane 8, and climbed out using the ladder to shuffle over to a plastic chair that we set up for them. When it was done, they sat together there and everone wanted a photo with them. You could tell they had given it their all. One of the guys had a bad shoulder and did sidestroke most of the way, but rallied on the final 25 and did his full stroke. Rowdy said that each of them had been swimming since a young age. An entire lifetime of swimming, almost 360 years as a group, and still making history.

There were 200 + people at the meet. I swam my usual events, and had a decent 400 IM and 200 fly. I was pleased with my 200 breast, too, which is a relatively new event for me. I also swam some 25’s and that was a lot of fun, something different.

I was the only swimmer from VMST but I did run into Kelly Parker Palace and her husband Mark, who have swum with us in the past. As usual, everyone was friendly and it was nice to meet some new people.

I highly recommend this annual meet to others- it was a nice little 4-day vacation with great weather. I did nothing but eat, swim, sleep, and lie in the sun. That’s my kind of championship!


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