Rouse was ranked as the No. 1 100m backstroke swimmer in the world from
1989 through 1996 –– a unique status that places him on par with Hall
of Famers Roland Matthes, Krisztina Egerszegi and Adolph Kiefer as the
only others to claim an eight-year dominance in the stroke. Since age
11, Jeff has been setting national age-group records, being designated
as Swimming World’s Age-Group Swimmer of the Month in 1983. In his first
year at Stanford University, Jeff won the Pan Pacifics in the 100m
backstroke, the first of four such titles. He also secured seven NCAA
National Championships in individual events. In 1991, Jeff realized his
first World Record, bettering the 54.51 posted by David Berkoff, his
opponent famous for a 33m underwater dolphin kick known as the Berkoff
Blastoff that was limited by FINA to 10m.
Rouse swam their 100m
event in 54 flat. In his Olympic debut in 1992, Jeff was out-touched by
Hall of Famer Mark Tewksbury, which made him vow to return in 1996 for
the Gold. At the Games in Atlanta, Rouse delivered on his promise. In
total, he collected four medals, including two Gold in World-Record
setting performances in the 100m back and 400m medley relay. Jeff has
always been conscious of doing The Right Thing, a quality that empowered
his role as captain of both the Stanford and 1996 USA Olympic Teams. He
has also spearheaded a drive to foster athlete integrity by instituting
random drug tests in swimming, and he frequently talks to schools about
the value of sports and benefit of demanding and delivering 100%.
Today, part of Jeff's being a role model includes participating in Swim Across America, which he has done since 1996.