An Athlete’s Look At Olympic Qualifying

The following is a reproduction of a post (with some edits) made to the personal website of Nico van Duijn, a Swiss swimmer vying for a spot on the Swiss Olympic team. Van Duijn is specifically writing about FINA’s qualifying procedure, which includes a maximum number of athletes that can participate in swimming at the Rio Olympics.

Hey there!

If you’re an absolute stud and just got your FINA Olympic A-cut at your national olympic trials meet, this page isn’t for you. But maybe you’re a bit less fortunate. Maybe you’re just shy of an A-cut and somewhere in an uncomfortable limbo trying to figure out whether you’ll get the elusive Olympic invite in June. I am one of those swimmers, and I really feel your pain.

But hey, you can guess, right? So I did. Like any proud swim nerd would, I took out the world rankings and had a closer look. It went something like this:

“Wow, that’s a lot of A-cuts”

“Dang, there’s a lot of swimmers between me and that A-cut line.”

“Oh wait, that’s the 3rd American, I can cross that one off.”

Then I scratched all swimmers who aren’t at least top 2 in their respective country.

“Looks much better now.”

“Oh, that guy! I thought he was a freestyler. I bet he has an A-cut in some freestyle race.”

So I checked the freestyle races. Indeed, he had an A-cut, so I took him out. Now I’m stuck looking at every single swimmer in those lists and cross-checking with every other race there is before I can fall asleep at night. If that sounds like a tedious job, it is. “Perhaps a computer would be better” I thought to myself. So, since I happen to have a degree in Electrical Engineering, I took it upon myself to automate this process. I thought I’d share it with you here:

Please have a look at my latest project “Who will swim in Rio?”

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5 years ago

So if you have an A cut in one event, and a B cut in another, you can only swim the event in which you have an A cut? I know NCAAs is different in that respect

Reply to  PVSFree
5 years ago

It depends. If there is no other swimmer from you country with A cut in the at event, yes you can swim it.
Basically, 2 swimmers from one country swimming an event = both must have A cut
Only 1 swimmer = at least B cut.

5 years ago

Great work! Looking forward to your upcoming Olympics previews!

About Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis is a swim coach, writer and swimming enthusiast. Chris does private consulting and coaching with teams and individuals. You can find him at Chris is a 2009 Graduate from the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the first professional athletic coach …

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