2016 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS
- Sunday, June 26 – Sunday, July 3, 2016
- CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Nebraska
- SwimSwam Preview Links & Schedule
- Psych Sheets
- NBC Broadcast Schedule
USA Swimming released the initial psych sheet for the 2016 Olympic Trials today, as we reported here. The 2016 version of the U.S. Olympic Team selection meet will consist of 9% fewer swims for men and 8% fewer swims for women than the 2012 equivalent. Some events, like the men’s 100 free and men’s 200 fly will feature nearly half the entrants than they did four years ago, while others, such as men’s 100 back and women’s 800 free, will be significantly larger events.
Below you will see the number of entrants per event from both the 2016 and 2012 psych sheets, and the year-over-year percentage increase or decrease.
|2016||2012||Y/Y %||2016||2012||Y/Y %|
When USA Swimming announced the 2016 Olympic Trials qualifying standards in September, 2014, we noted that for the first time in many Olympic cycles they had tightened the qualifying criteria across the board. Faster times were required to qualify in all 26 events. Notably, we remarked:
Across the board, the time standards for the women’s events average 0.78% faster for 2016 Trials than for 2012 Trials. The biggest changes come in the 400 free, 200 back, and 200 fly which are 1.4, 1.4 and 1.5 seconds faster, respectively. The 100 free, while only a half second faster for 2016 than 2012, is the largest percentage jump: a full 1.22% faster. The 800 free, which was the least populated event at 2012 Trials, changed only slightly (.5 seconds, or .09%).
It should come as no surprise, then, that the events which have seen the biggest drops in entrants on the women’s side of the meet are the 100 free, 400 free, 200 back, and 200 fly. The 800 free, meanwhile, enjoyed the largest increase in entrants.
Similarly, our 2014 analysis of the time standards for men revealed that:
In relative terms, the biggest changes for 2016 take place in the 100 free, both breasts, and the 200 fly. The 200 breast, in particular, saw a drop of 2.4 seconds. Given breaststroke has not been one of Team USA’s strongest events on the world stage, this may be USA Swimming’s way of throwing down the gauntlet to coaches across the country.
The 2016 psych sheet shows that both the 100 free and 200 fly are down by more than 40% compared to 2012, and the 200 breast, by more than 20%. The backstroke events, and especially the 100 back, have a great deal more entrants than four years ago, while the IMs, 200 free, and 200 breast are all down between 15-20%.
USA Swimming had made it clear that the 1850+ athletes participating at 2012 Olympic Trials was more than they had expected at the time, and that they were aiming to have 1300 at the 2016 meet. At the same time, the goal is not to make Trials an elite meet; it is still an important priority for USA Swimming to give the younger swimmers their first experience in this environment, and to motivate them to reach higher during the next quadrennial.