"For him to come out, the Olympian to say, 'hey I didn't start swimming till I was 17 and you guys are 15, 16 years old' , you know it's never too late to achieve something like this," Heritage High School swim coach, Julie Sakalares said.
"Means a lot. My swimmers are dedicated and they get up at the crack of dawn and they don't get a lot of recognition. So for Rowdy, a 1984 Olympian to come and speak with them is huge," Sakalares said.
Gaines travels across the country to visit with students and show them why they should always go for gold. But he said the goal, is only one part.
"To me it was never about the Olympics itself, it was always about the journey. It was all about experiencing the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys that we all experience in our lives," Gaines said.
Now what set Gaines apart in his early years, is what he hopes to pass on to the next generation.
"The biggest thing for me was the discipline I had and the passion I had, I love swimming man, I love our sport."
Gaines also does swimming commentary for NBC and ESPN. He worked in both the Beijing and London Olympics and he hopes to be in Rio for the next summer Olympic Games.