2018 Summer Nationals Won’t Count for Olympic Trials Qualifying

USA Swimming has announced the opening of the qualifying period for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials as November 28th – the first day of the U.S. Winter National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. While the dates for the event, which will return to Omaha, Nebraska’s CenturyLink Center for the 4th-straight occasion, has not been announced, when it is, the qualifying period ending will be determined.

Olympic Trials qualifying standards have been promised for late September 2018.

USA Swimming has also pledged to reduce the number of qualifiers to the meet after what they called “overcrowding” in the previous two editions. After 1,700+ swimmers competed at the 2012 and 2016 trials, USA Swimming has set their target at 1200-1400 participants for 2020. That means swimmers should expect significantly-faster standards than in 2016. USA Swimming already cut the 2016 standards significantly from 2012, but it didn’t yield much of a reduction in participation, meaning that even steeper cuts could be in order for 2020.

This also means that the 2018 Summer and Summer Junior National Championships will not count toward qualifying. This is a deviation from prior years, where the mid-year run did count. In fact, the 2016 qualifying period was set as the first day of the 2014 Summer Junior Nationals.

  • 2012 qualifying period: October 1, 2009-June 24, 2012
  • 2016 qualifying period: July 30, 2014-Entry Deadline

This change means that athletes will have one full long course cycle, 2019, to qualify for the meet. That reduced time period should also impact the number of qualifiers, as it will catch swimmers who have a bad taper in 2019, and also eliminate “trials tourists”: effectively-retired athletes who aren’t seriously training for the meet, but earn qualifying times as an alternative to purchasing tickets.

A new schedule will also have to be announced for the meet with the addition of the women’s 1500 and men’s 800 to the official Olympic event lineup.

Official Announcement from USA Swimming:

The 2020 Olympic Trials qualifying period will be from November 28, 2018 through the entry deadline in June of 2020. As the actual 2020 Trials dates have not yet been finalized, the closing date for qualification will only be announced once the Trials dates are confirmed. Time standards for the 2020 Trials will not be released until late September 2018.

This opening date for qualification (Nov. 28, 2018, the first date of the Winter Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.) is later than in past quadrennials, as the Trials organizers would like to better manage the total number of athletes that qualify for the competition. At both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials there was overcrowding, with over 1,750 at each of the competitions. The goal for the Trials is to have 1200-1400 athletes in attendance.

Please note that performances from the summer 2018 Nationals and summer 2018 Junior Nationals WILL NOT count towards 2020 Trials qualifying.

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2 years ago

When will the cuts be released, if they haven’t been already?

Coach John
Reply to  AZS
2 years ago

second paragraph of the article

Phil McDade
2 years ago

I wonder if this will cause a few more collegiate swimmers to take a one-year break from the SCY season to focus on LCM training, given the narrowed window.

Reply to  Phil McDade
2 years ago

Most likely.

Reply to  Phil McDade
2 years ago

Yes…not good for NCAA

Reply to  Phil McDade
2 years ago

I swear I remember it being discussed in 2014 about running more LCM meets during the NCAA season to offset this problem.

Reply to  Phil McDade
2 years ago

is this really that big of problem?

Reply to  samulih
2 years ago

I don’t think so.

Reply to  Phil McDade
2 years ago

a lot of ncaa schools practice long cource often throughout the season

Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago


Reply to  Phil McDade
2 years ago

Maybe. But in 2016 people were saying “I wonder if we’ll have a slower NCAAs due to the Olympics”. And then we saw the fastest ever 50/100/200 free, 50/100/200 back, 200 breast, and 50/100/200 fly in the most mind-blowing meet I’ve seen. Just to underline it, that only left the 500/1000/1650, 50/100 breast, and 200/400 IM records untouched, meaning over half the individual events had their fastest times ever done.

DP Spellman
Reply to  Phil McDade
2 years ago

Some programs will add TYR Pro Series meets into the mix more and make them a priority (like the Cal men did in 2015 & 2016).

2 years ago

there wont be a summer trial next year for fina worlds?! ?

Sean Sullivan
Reply to  Swimming4silver
2 years ago

There never is the year before the Olympics. The team is selected this summer.

Reply to  Sean Sullivan
2 years ago

THANK you, im not american, so didn’t know that.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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