Two-time Olympic swimmer Gabrielle Rose has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials at age 46 — 23 years after her most recent Olympics.
After qualifying over the weekend, Rose will be 47 years old at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, the oldest swimmer at the Trials in decades. Rose qualified for two events, the 100m and 200m breaststroke.
Previously, the oldest swimmer in recent memory was Dara Torres, who was 45 at her final U.S. trials in 2012; Torres placed fourth in the 50m freestyle that year.
“It’s lighter, it doesn’t feel as high stakes,” Rose told NBC Sports on Monday. “I’m fitting into a busier lifestyle where I’m not really the priority, like my daughter is and work, and so I just have perspective and I’m able to appreciate and seize every day with a different level of desire and intention.”
Rose, born in Rio de Janeiro to American parents who were living in Brazil for work, competed in both the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Rose swam three events in 1996 for Brazil; in 2000, she competed in the 200 meter individual medley for Team USA, coming in seventh place.
Although she made a bid for the 2004 Olympic team, she came down with mononucleosis ahead of the meet. Rose placed eighth in the 100m freestyle, just outside of the top-six cutoff to make the team. She retired soon after and has competed at the masters level since then.
Rose qualified for the trials over the weekend with a career-best 01:09.42 in the 100m breaststroke and a time of 2:31.68 for the 200m breaststroke. The qualifying times for the Tokyo Olympic team were 1:05.28 and 2:21.75 for those two events. Many swimmers, including Rose, consider competing at the U.S. trials a goal in and of itself.
“Masters swimming has been like a lifeline for me,” she told NBC. “I just enjoy the camaraderie and community and staying connected to the water.”
In addition to her goal of making the trials, Rose recently completed a longtime goal to renovate the aquatics center at University of Memphis, where she grew up. The pool is named after her late father, former Holiday Inn CEO Mike Rose, who died in 2017.