Rooney swam for the Pleasanton Seahawks under coach Steve Morsilli before moving to Gainesville to swim for the University of Florida under Gregg Troy. After an impressive year of racing in 2015, Rooney earned a spot on the US National team. At just 17 years old, he became the youngest male on the team. The versatile Rooney has duel citizenship being half Filipino, but has opted to represent USA, the country he has grown up in.
At the 2015 U.S. National championships and still just a junior swimmer, Rooney lit up the pool in the 200 meters freestyle breaking the World Junior Record en route to winning gold. The promising swimmer touched in 1:47.10, just .01 ahead of 2nd place. Rooney took over two seconds off his previous best time, making him the fourth fastest American of the year.
After his impressive performance at the U.S. Nationals, Rooney was selected for the National Team. He became the youngest male swimmer on the 2015-2016 team.
2015 FINA World Youth Championships
In Singapore, Rooney didn’t disappoint in his first appearance in the Team USA uniform, collecting five medals. On day one, Rooney earned his first international medal in the 100 meter freestyle placing 2nd in 48.87. Doubling the distance in the 200 meter freestyle, he stormed to first place in 1:47.78, over half a second ahead of his teammate, Grant Shoults in 2nd place. The pair teamed up with Sean Grieshop and Grant House in the 4×200 freestyle relay to take gold in a new Junior World and Championship records. His other medals were silvers in the 4×100 meter freestyle and medley relays. Rooney also competed in the mixed 4×100 freestyle placing 5th in the final.
2015 Doha World cup
Rooney gained some valuable experience at his first senior international meet in Doha, leaving with some more hardware. Rooney came away with a bronze medal in what was proving to be his best event, the 200 meter freestyle. A second off his best time swam in the summer, he finished in 1:48.15. He also swam in the 100 meter freestyle. Despite going into the final in 2nd position, Rooney finished 6th in the final in 49.77.
2016 U.S. Olympic Trials
At his first Olympic trials, Rooney finished 9th in the 200 meter freestyle and 14th in the 100 meter freestyle.
College Swimming – University of Florida
Among the top three high school recruits in the nation, Rooney chose to move from the west coast to the east coast to swim for the University of Florida in 2016. Under University of Florida Head Coach Gregg Troy, Rooney’s ascent has continued.
In his first season as a Gator, Rooney earned three All-American honors for his performances at the 2017 NCAA Championships. His best finish came in the 400 yard freestyle relay where he combined with Caeleb Dressel, Jan Switkowski and Mark Szaranek to take the silver medal in 2:46.21 behind Texas. This was his second medal of the week after picking up a bronze on the first night in the 800 freestyle relay. His other All-American swim came in the 200 yard freestyle where he finished 6th in 1:32.98. Rooney also swam the 100 and 500 yard freestyle finishing 28th and 48th respectively.
Rooney once again earned All-America status on the 800 free relay, this year splitting 1:33.26 to help the gators come in 4th overall. He also anchored the Gators to a 5th place finish in the 400 medley relay, splitting 42.02. Rooney also placed 35th in the 200 IM, 21st in the 200 free, and 28th in the 100 free.
Rooney Changed up his schedule once again in terms of individual events, swimming the 100 fly on Day 3 of the meet and the 200 fly and 100 free on Day 4. In the 100 fly, Rooney went a best time, dipping under 45 for the first time in finals to touch for 4th in 44.99. On Day 4, Rooney placed 18th in the 100 free and 30th in the 200 fly.