Blueseventy Swim of the Week: Rooney Ends 2015 With Speedy 100/200 Frees


Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

On the cusp of the 2016 Olympic year, the United States Olympic roster appears to have doors open for a handful of young swimmers in events with questionable depth. Based on Maxime Rooney‘s end-of-2015 meet last week, the 17-year-old is looking more and more capable of stepping through one such door in the freestyle relay events.

Rooney is currently the top high school senior in the country, based on our Class of 2016 NCAA Recruit Rankings, and is coming off a summer that saw him win a Junior World Championship and set a junior world record in the 200 meter free.

On the weekend before Christmas, Rooney swam at the CA NV Sectional, bettering his personal bests in no less than 6 different events including a 1:33.82 in the 200 yard freestyle that ranks him 4th all-time in the 17-18 age group. He’s tied for that slot with a swimmer you might know of: one Michael Phelps.

Rooney’s other personal-best swims: a 42.7 in the 100 free, a 47.7 in the 100 back, a 1:43.0 in the 200 back, a 46.6 in the 100 fly and a 1:44.2 in the 200 fly.

But there’s a reason that 200 free is so exciting with the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials upcoming. Rooney is the junior world record-holder in the 200 meter free, and could have a shot to challenge for a spot on the U.S. 4×200 free relay in Rio.

Maybe more pressing for the U.S., though, is the 4×100 free relay that desperately needs some fresh blood after a catastrophic 2015 World Championships in which the U.S. relay missed the final entirely. It’s often said that a 200 yard race is somewhat equivalent to a 100 meter race – that’s why 2012 Olympic 100 free champ Nathan Adrian regularly swam the 200 yard free as a training swim in-season. Rooney’s endurance over 200 yards could be a sign he’s ready to challenge for a spot on the 4×100 free relay – one of swimming’s marquee events, and one that’s led to transcendent Olympic moments like the run-down anchor legs from Jason Lezak (2008) and Yannick Agnel (2012).

Rooney is still just 17  years old, and has his work cut out for him to take advantage of the American openings in the 100 and 200 frees. But these Blueseventy Swim(s) of the Week suggest Rooney is well on his way.

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A preview for Rio:
Usa men’s 400 free relay: Adrian, Phelps, Rooney and Dressel (Conger, Schneider, Feigen alternates)
Usa Men’s 800 free relay: Phelps, Lochte, Dwyer, Rooney (Smith, Conger, Shoults alternates)
100 free: Adrian, Rooney and Dressel for 2 spots (my pick: Adrian and Rooney)
200 free: Dwyer, Lochte and Rooney for 2 spots (my pick: Lochte and Rooney)


You think Rooney will be better than Dwyer?


Can’t see feigen qualifying. I would bet on Schneider and Chadwick. And us must use 2 of the top 2 to be safe instead of putting other guys.


U might have forgotten the Gentle Giant Matt Grevers – he is very keen to be on that relay as well . I believe he has what it needs to go 47 high even in prelims . For the 200 free , Dwyer who had a super end of the year will be probably the best comes trials – he is in the range of the 1.45 or lower . Second spot might go for Lochte or Rooney … hard to say right now .


Hazardous pick at the moment but, especially in olympics years, there are youngsters fastly improving, so..:-)


Prediction :

Rooney qualifies to be an alternate in either the 100 free or 200 free for Rio. Will steadily improve after 2016. Expecting big things from him in NCAA’s and he will make a breakthrough in the Olympics 2020 if not sooner (Worlds).


Sorry, I meant alternates in the 100 free or 200 free relay.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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