Fil-am swimmer Maxime Rooney
Last month, Fil-am swimmer Maxime Rooney gave every reason why Philippine Swimming has to recruit him to don the Philippine colors.
At the Santa Clara leg of the Arena Grand Prix in USA, sixteen year-old Rooney broke Jessie Khing Lacuna’s 100m Butterfly Philippine national record of 55.08 set last Myanmar SEA Games.
Rooney clocked a record breaking time of 55.03 last June 20 at the preliminary swims of the said meet which earned him a slot at the evening “C” Finals. He failed to improve his prelim swim though in the evening finals, but still managed to clock 55.38 which is still considered the fastest time of any Filipino swimmer in the said event this year.
The following day, Rooney again showed his might in the 200m Backstroke event, registering a preliminary swim of 2:03.17 which breached the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championship qualifying B standard time of 2:03.36
This feat has made him the first Filipino swimmer to have registered a 2015 World Championship qualifying time.
Not just that, his 2:03.17 200m Backstroke clocking could also automatically clinched him a spot at the 2015 SEA Games, after it surpassed the 2013 SEA Games gold medal time of 2:03.44 set by Indonesia’s Ricky Anggawijaya.
Are those feats not yet enough? Then let me continue!
Had Rooney been sent to the SEA Age Group Swimming Championship this year in Singapore, his times at the Arena Grand Prix last month could have won him 3 gold and 3 bronze medals for the country.
His time of 23.71 in the 50m Freestyle event has equaled the gold medal time of Malaysia’s Alwyn Tan in the 16-18 age bracket, while his 100m Butterfly time of 55.03 has beaten Tan’s gold medal time of 55.91.
The third gold could have been in the 200m Backstroke event where reigning SEA Games gold medalist Ricky Anggawijaya only registered a time of 2:04.40 to clinch the SEA AG gold medal (Rooney’s time is 2:03.17).
His three bronze medals would be in the 200m Freestyle, 100m Backstroke and 200m Butterfly events.
Rooney’s 200m Freestyle time of 1:54.90 is faster than the 1:55.12 the bronze medal time of Singapore’s Benedict Boon Ji Chao; while his 100m Backstroke time of 59.26 has beaten Thailand’s Thanapoom Kruekamka’s bronze medal time of 59.81
His 2:05.46 200m Butterfly time is also way above the SEA AG bronze medal time of Vietnam’s Yen Phan Lam, 2:06.11
Really not yet convinced why Philippine swimming has to recruit Rooney? Then let’s compare his times to the 2nd Youth Olympic Games qualifying standard times.
His 100m Fly and 200m Back times have surpassed the QTA marks of the 2nd YOG; while his times in 50m Free, 100m Free, 200m Free, 100m Back, 50m Fly and 200m Fly have surpassed the 2nd YOG QTB.
Meaning, at age of 16 years old and two months (he just turned 16 last April), he has clocked eight (8) 2nd Youth Olympic Games qualifying marks – a feat none of our Youth swimmers have achieved since Youth Olympic Games started in 2010.
Still doubting if Maxime Rooney should be recruited? Then, let’s talk about the Philippine national records again.
Rooney’s times at the Arena Grand Prix last month have broken the 100m Back, 200m Back, 100m Fly and 200m Fly Philippine junior national records of the 16-18 boys age-group.
His 100m Backstroke time of 59.26 has surpassed Ryan Paolo Arabejo’s 16-18 Boys junior record of 59.38 set in 2007; while his 55.03 and 2:05.46 times in the 100m and 200m Fly have broken Enchong Dee’s 56.64 junior record set in 2006 and James Walsh 2:06.76 junior record set in 2004.
Most impressively, his 2:03.17 time in the 200m Backstroke has smashed the 21 year-old junior national record of Ryan Papa which is 2:05.79 set at the 17th SEA Games in Singapore.
Whew!!!! Impressive feats right?
But these feats mean nothing if Philippines won’t be able to recruit Maxime Rooney.
In 2012, Ronney’s uncle, Harry Radaza wrote to John Pages – a sports writer in Cebu – about Maxime Rooney.
“Excerpt from the 2012 Sunstar news article : Why am I telling you all this about Maxime Rooney?” asked Harry Radaza. “Well, his father is my cousin. His father’s mom remarried that’s why he has a non-Filipino sounding last name. Maxime is half Filipino, of course. His grandmother is the sister of my uncle, Congressman Radaza. She grew up in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.”
Upon receipt of Harry Radaza’s email, John Pages forwarded the email to Guy Concepcion, 1988 Seoul, Korea Olympian, hoping that Concepcion will inform Philippine Swimming Incorporated about Rooney.
Pages also wrote a news article on Rooney’s impressive feats in 2012, but he has not been really known in the swimming community until this year.
A friend, Joey Santosi, was the one who mentioned Rooney’s name to me early this year, and he said that he has already told PSC Commissioner Akiko Thompson about Rooney and another Fil-Am swimmer, Prudence Rooker.
With this development, hopefully we will be able to see Rooney represent our country in the future international sporting events (so as Prudence Rooker).
We also hope that Rooney is still interested in representing our country, and that there will be no problems with his dual citizenship application.