At the World Championships in Kazan, Russia last year, the Australian men failed to make the finals of the 400 freestyle relay with a disappointing 13th place finish. Relay qualification standards only guarantee an Olympic berth to the top 12 relays at the World Championships. Australia was left to earn one of four open spots.
Thursday in the final session of the 2016 Australian Championships, the team of James Magnussen, Kyle Chalmers, James Roberts, and Cameron McEvoy posted a time of 3:12.26, which would have earned them third in Kazan last year.
The relay is expected to qualify for Rio, but according to SBS news, their fate will not be certain until May 31.
Jacco Verhaeren, an Australian National coach, explained that these likely relay swimmers will be allowed to attend team camp and “will treat them like equal athletes,” but nothing is guaranteed yet.
Additionally, FINA rules now require a country to use every member of their relay team in prelims or finals, or else face disqualification. Vergaeren called it “a silly rule to be honest but one we have to deal with.”
Should the Australian men earn a lane in Rio this summer, the relay could be a serious force to contend with.
For now, Australia’s Olympic roster will remain with 34 swimmers.