LAUSANNE, Switzerland, May 21. THOUGH the all-important qualification times will not be released until December, FINA has announced the qualification guidelines for the swimming competition at the 2016 Olympic Games.
None of the rules are different from previous Olympic Games. A country can enter two athletes per individual event if both swimmers exceed the A standard in the event. If the country’s top athlete in an event achieves just the B cut, they could be selected for the meet as the fourth selection priority. Swimmers with A cuts are chosen first, followed by the relay athletes and the Universality swimmers (those from countries who have no swimmers achieving a A cut or just one swimmer in one gender having an A or B cut, provided they competed at the 2015 worlds). FINA has set the cap at 900 swimmers for the meet.
March 1, 2015 is the first day that Olympic qualifying times can be reached. Many countries will not hold selection meets until spring 2016, but smaller countries might use meets starting next March to get athletes qualified.
As was the case in London, the top 12 seeds in all relay events in Rio will come from the top 12 finishers at the 2015 world championships. The remaining four teams per relay event will be those with the fastest times as of May 31, 2016.
The last day to achieve qualifying times in individual events will be July 1, 2016, which means the U.S. Olympic Trials will have to be held in late June at the latest. This will give the Americans a little more than a month to prepare for the Games, about a week longer than was set in 2012.