Olympian Gabrielle Rose, 46, Hits Olympic Trials Cut in 100 Breast

At 46 years old, two-time Olympian Gabrielle Rose has qualified for the 2024 Olympic Trials.

Rose clocked 1:09.82 in the 100 breaststroke in a long course time trial, representing Alpha Aquatics where she also coaches. She was just off her lifetime best of 1:09.38 from the 2002 Pan Pacific Championships. Rose also qualified in the 200 breast with a time of 2:31.68, just .01 seconds under the Olympic Trials cut.

*Meet Mobile reports Rose swimming 1:09.82 (33.21/36.61).

According to the USA Swimming database, that swim makes Rose the oldest 2024 Olympic Trials qualifier by over a decade. The next oldest qualifier is Brandon Fischer, who at 34 years old swam qualifying times in the 100 breast and 200 breast at the 2023 TYR Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo.

It’s a bit of a full circle moment for Rose, who first broke out with national age group records for 11-12 girls in the 50 and 100 breaststroke. After a self-described plateau as a breaststroker, she turned her focus towards improving in other strokes.

Rose also competes in master’s swimming, where she holds 14 records across the 35-39 and 45-49 age groups.

Rose is a dual citizen of the United States and Brazil. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, representing Brazil, she finished 14th in the 100 butterfly, 22nd in the 200 IM, and 23rd in the 100 free. She later switched her sporting citizenship to the United States and qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the 200 IM, where she placed 7th.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Rose also had a successful collegiate career representing Stanford University. She was a 22-time All American for the Cardinal, graduating in 2000, and later returned for an MBA in 2009.

According to the USA Swimming database, there are currently 61 athletes qualified for Olympic Trials in the 100 breaststroke. Lilly King and Lydia Jacoby, who represented the USA at the last Olympics, currently lead the rankings.

Correction: An earlier version reported Rose’s swim was a personal best. The article has since been updated with her best time from 2002.

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Chris D
20 days ago

i’m the same age as her and I cannot do not have half of the recovery at 46 that i used to. I still have speed but greatly reduced.

Chris D
20 days ago

that’s absolutely insane.

20 days ago

Any theories in why the oldest qualified swimmers seem to be breaststrokers? I remember the last trials where Ed Moses also qualified.

Besides complete coincidence, the only thing I can think of is that its probably the stroke where gym time translates the best, and its easier to fit in gym workouts than swim workouts in a limited masters schedule.

The White Whale
Reply to  RAP
20 days ago

Also Steve West is a good example. It’s a good question. Perhaps it’s the same phenomenon that causes breast to either be most swimmers best stroke or their worst stroke.

cynthia curran
Reply to  RAP
20 days ago

Its a stroke you can do at any age, but actually in the 60’s and 70’s I think freestyle holds up better in times than breaststroke. The top freestyle time in 65- to 69-year-old women is 1:04 in 100 meters and the top breaststroke time is 1:32.

Reply to  RAP
20 days ago

My thoughts:

1) It’s the most technical stroke by a long shot. We all know plenty of people who could bust out a decent 50 fly on strength alone, but fast breaststroke is a different animal. Since the relative contribution of technique to speed is higher, you preserve more of what makes you fast.

This trend is probably limited, though, since you probably eventually hit an age where you lack the baseline strength to use that technique at all, at which point performance starts to decay much faster than free and back.

I suspect (with absolutely zero data) if you graphed relative speed vs. age in the different strokes, breaststroke may initially preserve its speed better through the 40s,… Read more »

Reply to  RAP
20 days ago

My thought is maybe because breaststroke kick has a glide phase, it requires leg strength more than leg fitness? Like obviously being this fast requires a level of fitness, but it’s not the same leg fitness demands as endless 6-beat flutter kicking.

M d e
Reply to  RAP
16 days ago

It’s because of how much resistance there is and how much of the stroke is carried by technique.

it’s why a lot of the ridiculously fast young kids times are breaststroke also (I.e. the 12 year old Japanese girl who went 2:25 In the 200).

20 days ago

Love this and all stories related to Masters swimmers absolutely crushing it. Go, Gabrielle!

20 days ago

FINA website says she went 1:09.38 at 2002 Pan Pacs so looks like it might not be a pb?

Reply to  jeff
19 days ago

The article states… She was just off her lifetime best of 1:09.38 from the 2002 Pan Pacific Championships.

Rob Davis
20 days ago


Swim Fast Swim Pretty
20 days ago

Congrats! That is an amazing tiger swim suit!! Power of the jungle!

20 days ago

*Brandon Fischer