1,131 Swimmers Qualified For US Olympic Trials As We Enter 2020

As we head into the new year, it’s time for an update on where the total count lies for US Olympic Trials qualifiers.

In mid-August, after all of the major international competitions had wrapped up (other than World Juniors), the qualifier count was at 1,115. As of January 7, 2020, that number has only increased by 16, up to 1,131. USA Swimming’s stated goal is to have between 1,200 and 1,400 qualifiers.

Those 1,131 swimmers have amassed 2,358 qualifying cuts in total, up from the 2,299 last summer.

The 2020 US Olympic Swimming Trials will be held from June 21st-28th, 2020 at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Swimmers will be able to compete in any events where they’ve hit the Olympic Trials standard (link below) with no ‘bonus events’ allowed.

By Event:

The 50 freestyles continue to see a high volume of qualifiers, with the distance events bringing in the lowest numbers.

Event Female Qualifiers Male Qualifiers
50 FR 97 122
100 FR 87 102
200 FR 84 74
400 FR 78 84
800 FR 51 63
1500 FR 44 55
100 BK 108 107
200 BK 76 77
100 BR 104 106
200 BR 78 89
100 FL 97 100
200 FL 85 72
200 IM 100 78
400 IM 81 59


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Lane 8

Great work to all 1131 swimmers! I know this has been a longtime goal for many of you and you worked really hard for it. We’re on a great track headed into Trials!


Does anyone know how this compares to 2016?

Inclusive Parent

Much smaller group. As an example, in 2016, 180 women competed in the 50 Free, 101 in the 100 Free, 108 in the 200 Free and 157 in the 100 Bk.
172 Men in the 50 Free and 91 in 100 Free and 185 in the 100 Bk.


It is still half a year left if you are going to compare the number of people competing at the meet, the goal for USA Swimming was to have a smaller group, about 400-600 fewer swimmers


What percentage of qualifiers usually swim at Trials? I’d be curious to see that breakdown by event! Are people more likely to travel all the way to Omaha to swim just a 50 or the 400 IM?


ummmm…. Yes?

Horns up

lol i’m guessing that you’ve never been to Olympic trials! It is easily the most exciting event I’ve ever seen. Sitting in the stands and watching the swimmers battle it out for a spot on the Olympic team is amazing in itself. I can’t imagine what it would be like to participate in it

Aaa Bbb

I’m sure the meet is exciting. But most are decidedly *not* battling it out for a spot on the Olympic team because most will not drop enough time to even get close. That’s true of any championship meet.


I could easily argue that Trials was more entertaining prior to the year 2000 when there were only 30-40 swimmers in each event and there was a star swimmer in almost every heat of prelims and finals. With 150 swimmers in every event, the prestige of making the meet is diminished and 85% of the swimmers have almost zero chance of making the Olympic team.

I tend to agree that I like a smaller Olympic Trials meet, from a marketing/hype/create a real Olympic-caliber sporting event perspective. That being said, I also like the approach they’re taking, of slowly cutting it down to find a balance point where they can still fill the arena, because I’m not naive enough to believe that a huge percentage of tickets are sold to friends and families of athletes. To me it still needs to be attainable. Every elite, year-round swimmer aged 15 and over should know someone (from their club or maybe a club that they race against routinely). I think this keeps the grass roots part of the community engaged. “I raced Jason from Club X last week,… Read more »


I think it should be harder to qualify for Olympic Trials then Senior Nationals/ US Open, the long course cuts for the 2020 Speedo Summer Championships Time Standards are pretty much the same as the Olympic Trials cuts. https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/default-source/timesdocuments/time-standards/2020-speedo-summer-championships-time-standards.pdf


i would wonder how many make the team that had a previous trials experience? If it is limited to <50 per event this might be impacted. Kara Lynn Joyce's mother told me her story of the invaluable experience her daughter gained from being at the trials and finishing 70-something in the 50 free and then making the team in 2004. We're obviously making mostly great decisions on selecting the Olympic team.

Horns up

Uhh thank you Captain Obvious! I didn’t think it required clarification but again it is unbelievably exciting to watch swimmers who are mostly in the circle seeded heats in the pre-lims, the semi‘s and then the finals battle it out for a spot on the Olympic team and I can’t imagine how exciting it must be to be a swimmer competing at Trials…even if you are the slowest seed time in your event.

Coach Mike 1952

Agreed, it is a very prestigious event. Kind of like “I have arrived!”, especially for swimmers who have never been at that level before. The atmosphere is so electric that not only does everyone there have to bring their A game all the way, but things can distract as well, so one’s focus is of primary importance.. I recall Ryan Lochte’s comment in one race at Omaha where the flames went up at the wrong time & how it startled him. Fortunately he was far enough in the lead that it didn’t matter, but when being in that NOT coveted third position is a matter of hundredths of a second, being startled can make al the difference.


I did not look to see if the times were done at meets that FINA accepts qualifying times from since the team will be picked at Trials but here are the number of swimmers from the list above that have swum faster then the Olympic Qualifying time for each event (you do not need to have an OQT to be a relay swimmer):
Event – Men – Women
50 free – 9 – 5
100 free – 12 – 11
200 free – 8 – 4
400 free – 1 – 10
800 free – 3 – 13
1500 free – 4 – 18
100 back – 8 – 11
200 back – 7 – 11
100 br – 6 – 5
200 br – 8 – 7
100 fly – 9 – 7
200 fly – 7 – 8
200 IM – 11 – 13
400 IM – 6 – 7


Oof. Men’s distance is hurting. Also, it’s interesting that on the women’s side, the 200 free has the fewest qualifiers, because we are almost always a medal lock in the 4×200 relay. I would have expected it to be deeper, but to be fair 1:57.2 is really fast and there are 11 women under 1:58, so 7 women are knocking on the door of an A-cut. I’m guessing a few of them will get it by Trials.


That may or may not be true but you can’t say that based on these #s, the cuts are designed so it’s easier to qualify in shorter events (it’s one thing to have 20 heats of the 50 free and another thing to have 20 heats of the 1500…

Jon Dubrick

This meet is most likely more competitive and stressful than the actual Olympics, the caliber of swimming there is some of the best in the world. No athelete who qualifies will miss it

I don’t know why this “more competitive and stressful than the actual Olympics” myth keeps circulating. It is most certainly not more competitive than the actual Olympics.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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