Australia Ensures Olympic Bid in 400 Free Relay With Time Trial Swim


It still feels funny to say, but after a 13th-place finish at last year’s World Championships, the Australian men don’t hold an automatic qualification in the 400 free relay to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The federation, hoping to both improve their seed and ensure a spot at the Olympics, swam a time trial to conclude the 2016 Australian Olympic Trials on Thursday, and while there’s still no guarantee of a spot, they all-but-ensured that four other teams wouldn’t beat them.

The team of James RobertsKyle ChalmersJames Magnussen, and Cameron McEvoy, who were the top 4 finishers in the individual 100 free earlier in the meet, combined to swim 3:12.26. That’s not-only a four second improvement over what they went at Worlds, but is faster than all but France and Russia’s times from those same World Championships.

That doesn’t mean the Australians are a lock to medal, as the Americans also slipped-up in prelims and missed the final in the 400 free relay, and a young team from Brazil (4th at Worlds) will look to ignite their home crowd. It does, however, give the Australians sureties of their qualification, and some confidence that they’re better than their subpar prelims performance from Kazan. That relay qualification is the only way that Roberts and Magnussen will earn spots on the Olympic Team – they weren’t among the 34 announced at the meet’s conclusion.

Of the four swimmers who raced in prelims last year, only 1, Chalmers, was on the time trial relay on Friday – and he was the fastest link of that failed performance by a full second in Russia.

2015 Worlds 2016 Olympics
Tommaso D’Orsogna – 49.75 James Roberts – 48.63
Kyle Chalmers – 47.92 Kyle Chalmers – 48.24
Matthew Abood – 48.78 James Magnussen – 48.17
Ash Delaney – 49.89 Cam McEvoy – 47.22

As SwimSwam’s Loretta Race pointed out in her Olympic relay qualification update at the end of March, the top 12 teams from the World Championships qualify automatically for Rio, while the next 4 best times between March 1st, 2015 and May 31st, 2016 will earn invites as well to create a field of 16.

The Australians were atop that field of 4 invites at the end of March, but not by much. Their 3:16.34 from Worlds sat just four-tenths better than Spain, five-tenths better than Greece, and 1.1 seconds better than Argentina: countries that each have one-or-two impressive sprinters, but that generally aren’t of the quality, depth, and history of the Australians.

Here’s the current 400 free relay qualifying picture after Australia’s swim:

*Automatically Qualified
1. France 3:10.74* 9. Canada 3:15.94*
2. Russia 3:11.19* 10. Belgium 3:15.50*
3. Australia 3:12.26 11. Great Britain 3:15.70*
4. Italy 3:12.53* 12. Germany 3:16.01*
5. Brazil 3:13.22* 12. USA 3:16.01*
6. Poland 3:14.12* 14. Spain 3:16.77
7. Japan 3:15.04* 15. Greece 3:16.83
8. China 3:15.41* 16. Argentina 3:17.41

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

When did Spain swim that time? Have they swim other relays this year?

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

Missed that completely – thanks
Surprised they didn’t swim a women’s 4x200m as well.

Human Ambition
8 years ago

That was well. We want a field stuffed of highest quality.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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, …

Read More »