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A night for the ages, including age 46, at Olympic Swimming Trials

Two swimmers in their 30s, and one in her 40s, stood out on day two of the Olympic Trials in Indianapolis.

From 1928 through 2012, you could count on one hand the number of U.S. Olympic swimmers over the age of 29. The increased professionalization of the sport has more recently incentivized competing well beyond college.

Chase Kalisz, 30, started Sunday night by finishing second to Carson Foster in the 400m individual medley.

Kalisz, the reigning Olympic 400m IM gold medalist, is in line to swim at a third Olympics in Paris. He has made the U.S. team for every major international meet since 2013 (Olympics, world championships, Pan Pacific Championships).

SWIMMING TRIALS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

He can break Ryan Lochte’s record as the oldest American to race an Olympic 400m IM, according to the OlyMADMen.

The 400m IM is called the decathlon of swimming for its all-around test of all four strokes. It’s significantly tougher for older swimmers, as Michael Phelps showed in 2012 (fourth at the Olympics) and Lochte showed in 2016 (not making the Olympic team in the event while injured).

Foster adds name to U.S. Olympic Swimming roster
Carson Foster outpaced Tokyo gold and silver medalists Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland in the men's 400m individual medley to qualify for the Paris Olympics after missing out on the last Summer Games.

Next, 21-year-olds Gretchen Walsh and Torri Huske went one-two in the 100m butterfly. Then came 46-year-old Gabrielle Rose.

Rose is the oldest of the 1,007 swimmers who qualified for trials. She may be the oldest person ever to compete at Olympic Trials. USA Swimming doesn’t have any older athletes in its historical records, though records before 2004 are incomplete.

A dual citizen, Rose competed in the 1996 Olympics for Brazil in the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m IM. In 2000, she made the U.S. Olympic team at trials in Indianapolis, then posted her best Olympic result of seventh in the 200m IM in Sydney.

Rose retired from elite competition shortly after missing the 2004 Olympic team. She did race for much of the last two decades at the masters level (age-group swimming that can have divisions for those over 100 years old).

After swimming a personal best at the April 2023 masters nationals, she made qualifying for the Olympic Trials a goal. Rose accomplished it last November.

Then on Sunday, Rose swam another personal best, 1:08.43, in the heats of the 100m breaststroke. Her, daughter, Annie, who was born in 2014, was in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The time would have won bronze at her first Olympics in 1996. At the 2024 Olympic Trials, it was 11th-fastest in the field out of 76 finishers overall.

Rose made it into the 16-swimmer semifinals Sunday night. None of the other semifinalists were alive when she made her Olympic debut.

"(Making the semis) was my big stretch goal,” Rose said. “I was really, really nervous because I just wanted to have the swim I was capable of.

“There’s no expectations. I’m not going to make the team.”

Then in the semifinals, Rose swam another personal best — 1:08.32 — for 10th place overall. She missed the eight-woman final by 59 hundredths.

She’s also qualified to swim the 200m breast later this week.

“So much of this journey feels like a cherry on top to my career as a professional swimmer two decades ago,” Rose posted on social media a week before trials. “The past 13 months have been an incredible ride, a bonus lap in a sport that has given me so much in so many different chapters.”

In the last final Sunday, Nic Fink prevailed to make his second Olympic team at age 30 in the 100m breast.

He will break Brendan Hansen’s record as the oldest U.S. Olympic breaststroker in history, according to the OlyMADMen.

“I didn’t picture myself really ever being an Olympian, let alone two times,” Fink said on NBC.

Charlie Swanson finished second to Fink, which puts him in line to make his first Olympic team.

Swanson isn’t in his 30s or 40s. He’s 26. But he’s also a revelation.

Swanson went into Olympic Trials ranked 10th in the U.S. this year by best time in the 100m breast. He was sixth at nationals last summer at an age where swimmers are often slowing down.

Yet Swanson lowered his personal best in all three rounds at trials. He entered with a top swim of 59.89 from 2023, the only time he’d ever broken one minute.

On Saturday and Sunday, he swam 59.44, then 59.34 and finally 59.16.

He would be the oldest U.S. male swimmer to make his Olympic debut with no prior world championships final experience since 1920, according to the OlyMADMen.

Katie Ledecky qualified for her fourth Olympics by winning the 400m freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.