A Reminder of the 2024 Olympic Qualifying Standards; Times Are Faster Than Ever

Emma Mckeon of Australia celebrates after winning the gold medal in the 50m Freestyle Women Final during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 17th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Another Look At the 2024 Olympic Qualifying Standards; Times Are Faster Than Ever

The World Aquatics qualifying times for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris feature some extremely fast standards.

There are a few events with the same standard as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but for the most part, the standards are faster — and in most cases, much faster. The times in the men’s 400 free, 1500 free and 200 backstroke are the same. The rest of the events on the men’s side have faster expectations, with several events standing out.

For a country to earn a pair of invitations to the Games, two athletes must hit the A standard. A country will be permitted a single entry in an event if the B standard is met.

In the men’s 100 butterfly, athletes will have to crack the 52-second barrier to qualify for action in Paris, and an argument can be made that this event jumps out as the most difficult to meet. For a country to qualify two swimmers in the 100 fly, a time of 51.67 will be required. Additionally, the cutoff in the 400 IM for a single entry is 4:13.76.

The times for the women’s 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke and 400 free are the same but the 800 free time is nearly seven seconds faster, while the 1500 free time is a stunning 22 seconds faster. It will now take under a minute for a country to send a pair of entries in the women’s 100 backstroke and sub-1:07 will be required for two entries in the 100 breaststroke.

Men’s Olympic A Standards

50 Free: 21.96 (22.01 in 2020) — B 22.07
100 Free: 48.34 (48.57 in 2020) — B 48.58
200 Free: 1:46.26 (1:47.02 in 202) — B 1:46.79
400 Free: 3:46.78 (3:46.78 in 2020) — B 3:47.91
800 Free: 7:51.65 (7:54.31 in 2020) — B 7:54.01
1500 Free: 15:00.99 (15:00.99 in 2020) — B 15:05.49
100 Backstroke: 53.74 (53.85 in 2020)— B 54.01
200 Backstroke: 1:57.50 (1:57.50 in 2020) — B 1:58.09
100 Breaststroke: 59.49 (59.93 in 2020) — B 59.79
200 Breaststroke: 2:09.68 (2:10.35 in 2020) — B 2:10.33
100 Butterfly: 51.67 (51.96 in 2020) — B 51.93
200 Butterfly: 1:55.78 (1:56.48 in 2020) — B 1:56.36
200 IM: 1:57.94 (1:59.67 in 2020) — B 1:58.53
400 IM: 4:12.50 (4:15.84 in 2020) — B 4:13.76

Women’s Olympic A Standards

50 Free: 24.70 (24.77 in 2020) — B 24.82
100 Free: 53.61 (54.38 in 2020) — B 53.88
200 Free: 1:57.26 (1:57.28 in 2020) — B 1:57.85
400 Free: 4:07.90 (4:07.90 in 2020) — B 4:09.14
800 Free: 8:26.71 (8:33.36 in 2020) — B 8:29.24
1500 Free: 16:09.09 (16:32.04 in 2020)— B 16:13.94
100 Backstroke: 59.99 (1:00.25 in 2020) — B 1:00.29
200 Backstroke: 2:10.39 (2:10.39 in 2020) — B 2:11.04
100 Breaststroke: 1:06.79 (1:07.07 in 2020) — B 1:07.12
200 Breaststroke: 2:23.91 (2:25.52 in 2020) — B 2:24.63
100 Butterfly: 57.92 (57.92 in 2020) — B 58.21
200 Butterfly: 2:08.43 (2:08.43 in 2020) — 2:09.07
200 IM: 2:11.47 (2:12.56 in 2020) — B 2:12.13
400 IM: 4:38.53 (4:38.53 in 2020) — B 4:39.92

2024 Olympic qualifying times

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Angello Malefakis
Angello Malefakis
2 years ago

Sorry but FINA needs to get its act together. It is time to bring back the three (3) qualifiers for each nation as it once was . In addition we need some flexibility in times to get more nations involved in swimming. The swimming times as an example make one to be a professional. NOT allowing 3rd world nations to participate is an outright disgrace to the sport. The time for 1500 as example should be 15:30.00. WTF has time to swim the A standard unless YOU are a professional swimmer. How many of these professionals can survive on the mediocre FINA prize money. That is why FINA is like FIFA one of the most corrupt organizations in the world. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on FINA making swimming a professional sport for athletes to live on pennies on the dollar while FINA pockets the rest.

Paul Becskehazy
Paul Becskehazy
1 year ago

I agree …I was a world class Olympic swimmer and water polo player in 1972 when things were different. The relay team that I was on was fourth but we had 11 men and women on our Brazilian team . Only six of them got into the final . But we had a chance to go despite being strictly amateurs like most our competition. A nation could take three in each event!

the question of corruption, FINA was/is very corrupt ! Recent head of Fina Water Polo was a Romanian crook called Marculesku who was a corrupt referee back
in my day ! if your water polo team was playing Russia and he was reffing you would be screwed by him!

I worked for a swim suit company 45 yrs ago and they paid off the Fina members from a Country to get them to wear the Co’s swimsuit ….I quit after less than a year, I could not take the corruption the head of the Company in the big revenue Sports . Adolf Dassler of Adidas was a crook who paid sports federations

Michael David Linnihan
Michael David Linnihan
1 year ago

The olympics to me, is about having the best athletes compete. 15:30 is slow. Finally the olympics will be top to bottom faster than an amateur NCAA meet. Athletes who are not professional will compete in the games. Student athletes who are studying to become doctors and engineers will compete. So, the argument that these times are only attainable if you are a pro is wrong. Amateur athletes will compete in these games while going to school or working. However, I do agree with you about how fina should pay more, but I dont see anyone boycotting, or starting a new organization. At the end of the day, the clock doesnt care what you look like, where youre from, how much money you have, or about any other excuse. The clock is objective; it cannot be corrupted. Dont like the cuts? train harder and sleep more.

2 months ago

but is it though? is that the REAL purpose of the biggest sport celebration in the planet? to just have the 16 best of each event (from 7 countries BTW) to swim against each other? are we sure that’s what we want? Why not using Worlds to define the selective best, and make the olympics the inclusive event that it originally was?

Éric Lahmy
Éric Lahmy
1 year ago

Totally agree.

1 year ago

Whilst I can agree regarding the moral turpitude of World Aquatics; I disagree regarding the 3 per nation rule. It was brought in post Moscow due to the podium sweeps of the East German women in both Montreal and Moscow.

Just WHO will benefit from a return to 3 per nation ? Just how many podiums would it actually change ? With regards to the latter; one, maybe two, on either side but that’s far from definite. Regarding the former; in all honesty the only country that would clearly benefit is USA but probably in fewer events than one thinks. AUS women = maybe in a couple of events but for anyone else it will be one isolated event at best.

You are also ignoring the reality that the 5 Ring Circus is bursting at the seams with regards to size and capacity; hence THEY cap competitor numbers. Sadly that means that you cannot realistically extend unlimited “universitality places” to every event of the program.

Agree with you, in principle, regarding FINA prize money but swimming is always going to be fighting an uphill battle for visibility in the media market against established professional sporting leagues, be they domestic or international. The fall of ISL, whilst a shame for the swimmers, was a warning with regards relying one “one man’s money” and there is also the issue of availability of the majority of peak talent for such leagues due to NCAA/school age competitors.

Joshua Evans
Joshua Evans
2 years ago

I completely agree. The are essentially removing the B cut times from swimming.

Virgil kritzmacher
Virgil kritzmacher
1 year ago

Those aren’t really qualifying times. If they were, then countries like the USA would have several, not just two, swimmers in many events.

Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman
1 year ago

FINA or WORLD AQUATICS (its new name) must die!!!

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