Former U.S. National Team Member Maxime Rooney Announces Retirement

by Yanyan Li 41

May 07th, 2022 National, News

Former U.S. National team member, 2019 National Champion, and 2015 World Junior Champion Maxime Rooney announced his retirement from competitive swimming Saturday afternoon via Instagram. He most recently competed at the 2022 U.S. International Team Trials last week, where he finished 12th overall in the 100 free, 3rd in the 50 fly, and 8th in the 100 fly.

Twenty years of swimming to have these words woven into my heart. I’ve learned to love God, but more importantly I’ve learned it’s always been about His love for me. This was, is, and will always be His glory alone. As I transition out of swimming as an athlete, I know God’s favor will bring me to a place where I am utilized and challenged in order to grow. I know His love is moving and working to bring me from glory to glory. Now it’s time to thank God and personally thank all the people He has placed in this part of my life.

As a 17-year-old, Rooney first turned heads at 2015 U.S. Nationals when he won the 200 free, breaking the world junior record in a time of 1:47.10. He later went on to win the same event at the 2015 FINA World Junior Championships in Singapore. In addition, he also won silver in the 100 free with a time of 48.87 behind Kyle Chalmers. His performances that year got him named on his first U.S. National team, in which he was the youngest male swimmer on the team.

A year later, Rooney competed at the U.S. 2016 Olympic Trials, finishing 9th in the 100 free and 14th in the 200 free. He was off of his 2015 times that meet, although his best time in the 200 free from the year prior would have finished fifth.

Rooney would then go on to spend the 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 seasons competing collegiately with the University of Florida. As a Gator, he was a two-time SEC champion, winning the 200 free in 2017 and the 100 fly in 2019. He was also a two-time all-American, finishing 6th in the 200 free at the 2017 NCAA Championships and 4th in the 100 fly at 2019 NCAAs. After spending three years in Gainesville, Rooney transferred to Texas for his senior year, the 2019-20 season. However, he never got to swim his final collegiate championship meet, as NCAAs were canceled that season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Rooney was an incredibly versatile college swimmer, having qualified for NCAAs in the 100/200/500 free, the 100 fly, and the 200 IM, he was arguably a better long course swimmer. At 2018 U.S. Nationals, he finished seventh in the 100 free with a time of 48.56, with Caeleb Dressel out-touching him by 0.06 seconds. But 2019 U.S. Nationals was where Rooney really shined. At that meet, he dropped nearly a second off his best time to finish second in the 100 free with a 47.61. In addition, he also won the national title in 100 fly with a time of 51.09, swimming a PB of 50.68 in prelims. Those swims cemented Rooney as a favorite to make the 2020 Olympic Team.

Then, the pandemic hit. Olympic Trials were delayed by a year, and Rooney came into that meet as the third seed in the 100 free and second in the 100 fly with his times from 2019. He was well off those marks at the meet, finishing 11th in the 100 free and 12th in the 100 fly and failing to make the finals or the Olympic team for the second time in a row.

Rooney also swam for LA Current for two seasons in the International Swimming League.

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OC111
15 days ago

Love your words for God, wish you the best in your continued journey in life!

Last edited 15 days ago by OC111
Swimfandom8
15 days ago

a great representation of one of the BEST: a great athlete but an even better person of character and strength

Swim Fan
15 days ago

This is a real sad news!!! Very unexpected knowing that as a fan, Maxime has so much more to accomplish and do great things to our sport.

These retirement announcements from our incredible swimmers who I believe are still at their prime are alarming. I don’t know what it is but our sport organization/leaders (perhaps?, I don’t really know) and/or swimming community as a whole need to do better to keep the likes of Rooney, Farris, Carr etc. stay out of early retirement…😢

~ From a very sad Swim Fan

Noah
Reply to  Swim Fan
15 days ago

If you arent the ELITE out of the elite swimmers, its very hard to stay swimming and make good money after college.

SpeedRacer
15 days ago

Tina Andrew’s comment in his insta 😳

Ervin
Reply to  SpeedRacer
15 days ago

Certifiable

Potato
Reply to  SpeedRacer
15 days ago

Pickleball

Swamfan
Reply to  SpeedRacer
15 days ago

The swim swam insta account liked her comment lol

Meow
Reply to  SpeedRacer
14 days ago

Ma’am, this is a Wendy’s.

Matthew 10:32
15 days ago

Thank you for sharing your gift of swimming for all to see.

Ol' Longhorn
15 days ago

All the best, but should’ve stayed at Florida (that said Gainesville vs Austin is an IQ test). Eddie’s great and all, but gotta believe Rooney’s one hot summer was mostly the Florida training with some Eddie tweaking. Tough to believe freestyle U and the world’s fastest 100 flyer couldn’t have gotten him to a stellar pro career.

Danjohnrob
15 days ago

I remember discussion here that Maxime could have chosen to represent the Philippines internationally, as other U.S. swimmers who were eligible for dual citizenship have done. It’s almost impossibly difficult to make a U.S. Swimming Team! I’m sad that this talented and obviously very motivated athlete never got his shot on the big stage! Good luck in the years ahead!

aquajosh
Reply to  Danjohnrob
15 days ago

Natalie Coughlin could have too

Bob
15 days ago

Never met his potential