Rowdy Gaines to Take on Female Olympians in Swimming's Battle of the Sexes

Yahoo Contributor Network

Swimming analyst and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines will be doing more than watching the action at the RCP Tiburon Sprint Classic. He'll be getting in on the action.

Billed as swimming's version of "Battle of the Sexes," Gaines will jump in the pool against the woman who turns in the fastest time in the 50-yard freestyle event, is reporting. Gaines, who now is known for his swimming commentary on NBC and ESPN, won gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle and 4x100-meter freestyle and medley relay events at the 1984 Olympic Games.

Swimmers such as 2012 Olympians Kara Lynn Joyce, Dana Vollmer and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace already have agreed to swim in the event. In addition, former 50 freestyle American record holder Lara Jackson has agreed to swim, as well, according to the meet website.

The race doesn't quite sound fair when you consider that Gaines is a 53-year-old TV analyst and spokesperson. But don't be fooled -- Gaines can still throw it down in the pool. In fact, he does so on a fairly regular basis.

In 2011, Gaines swam to a Masters world record time of 21.36 in the 50-yard freestyle. Of the women entered in the event, only Jackson and Vanderpool-Wallace have swam faster than Gaines' world record in the men's 50-54 year old age group.

And Gaines is confident that he can take on the women and win. While talking to, Gaines joked that he's given more grief at home than he will receive in the pool.

"I am a father of four daughters and these swimming women can't beat me anymore than I've been beaten already at home," Gaines told the website. "I look forward to taking on any and all of those ladies blindfolded and with one hand tied behind my back."

The RCP Tiburon Sprint Classic is described as a "boutique event" which features the fastest 50 freestyle swimmers from around the world. The event is held in a private two-lane pool, and tickets are only available for up to 150 spectators. Tickets for the event cost $500, and the proceeds benefit The USA Swimming Foundation and Hospice By the Bay, according to the meet website.

The race is scheduled to take place on Sept. 8, 2012, and the "Battle of the Sexes" race isn't the only event scheduled to be contested. A men's race, which will include Fred Bousquet, Ricky Berens, Nick Brunelli, Jimmy Feigen and Josh Schneider also is scheduled.

Winners of the men's and women's events will receive $10,000, according to the RCP Tiburon Sprint Classic website.

Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She is a longtime Olympic fan, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46.

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