Serene Maxime: Relaxed Rooney Claims First National Title in 4 Years

Maxime Rooney reacts after winning the national title in the 100 fly. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

Editorial content for the 2019 USA Swimming National Championships coverage is sponsored by FORM Swim Goggles. See full event coverage. Follow FORM on Instagram at @FORMSwim #swimwithform FORM Swim-Logo

While most athletes use fast-paced, loud music to get pumped up for an event, Maxime Rooney is different.

Rooney performs at his best when he is relaxed and serene.

He must have been really relaxed on Friday because he swam two of the best races of his career on the same day, claiming his first national championship in four years.

“The last couple months have all been about my mental game. At this level, everyone does the work in the pool. It is really about getting myself mentally prepared to perform at the right time,” Maxime Rooney said. “I have been listening to a lot of music behind the blocks to calm my nerves and keep the stress low. I try not to listen to too much up-beat stuff. I listen to things that keep me at peace and don’t raise my heart rate because I want to be as relaxed as I can. When I am behind the blocks, mentally, it is go time. It is time to execute.”

Rooney won the 100 butterfly at the 2019 Phillips 66 US National Championships at Stanford. Having the meet near home helped his relaxation, too, since so much of his family was able to watch his stellar performances.

“California is my home. The first two days, my middle brother came, then my other brother came to day. My mom, my dad, my grandma, my cousins and some of my best childhood friends came. It is really cool when I walk out and I see them, it is like a home vibe and I know that is when I am most relaxed,” he said.

Rooney started the day by taking the top seed in the 100 fly, clocking a 50.68 — the second-fastest performer in the world this year behind Caeleb Dressel. Rooney followed that up with a still-stellar 51.09 to win the title.

Earlier in the meet, Rooney finished second in the 100 free, which was a step that built toward his performance Friday.

“It’s been a while since I have had 100 percent best times, so I was really pleased that I could put it all together,” Rooney said.

His stellar performance came just months after announcing his transfer from Florida to Texas and beginning training in Austin. He was fourth in the 100 fly at NCAAs in March, but was always waiting for that huge swim. Moving to Texas was a difficult decision, but the results this week bring Rooney a bit of validation.

“The work I did at Florida doesn’t go away either. I am grateful for the investment that the Florida coaches made in me, I am extra eager and excited to have the opportunity at Texas to make those relationships,” he said. “It shows that hard work pays off.”


Maxime Rooney; Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

When he is not training, Rooney keeps relaxed through his writing.

“The last 3-4 weeks, with taper, you get a lot of time on your hands. I just always have my notebook. Sundays, I set aside time to really get all of my thoughts and my writing out,”  Maxime Rooney said. “It is really cool to have that outlet. There is power in aggressively writing things out and peacefully writing things out. I love it.”

And it works. Relaxation equals results for Rooney, and now that the formula worked, his biggest performances could be yet to come.


Maxime Rooney; Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

Check out full results here.


  1. avatar

    He won the 200 freestyle in San Antonio in 2015, so this is not his first National title.

    • avatar

      That must have been his long time 1:47.10 PB. He smashed that as well at this meet. We are all so happy for you Maxime!

      P.S. the orange Long Horn gear looks so right on Maxime.

  2. avatar
    Daniel D'Addona

    Thanks that has been corrected