Brendan Hyland Receives a “B” Cut Reprieve on Ireland’s Final Olympic Roster

Swim Ireland has announced its final 9-swimmer roster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: the final choice among a number of unusual circumstances for the team after a roller-coaster qualifying period.

The team is the largest group of swimmers that Ireland has ever sent to the Olympic Games.

The roster officially includes Ellen Walshe, who did hit a FINA ‘A’ cut in the last weekend of qualifying, albeit outside of the stated Irish qualifying procedures. She was given a reprieve, however, to swim the 200 IM and 100 fly in Tokyo.

Correction: this article previously said that Danielle Hill was the swimmer to have complications in qualifying as above. While Hill also hit her FINA “A” time in the final opportunity, she was within 1.5% of the qualifying time going into the meet, so no special exceptions had to be made for her qualifying.

First, the roster:

Men (6):

Women (3):

Men’s 800 Free Relay

Ireland’s only relay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be the men’s 800 free relay. The country was originally invited in the men’s 400 medley relay as well, but that offer was rescinded when FINA realized an error in not including the time of a Greek relay in the “Wildcard” rankings.

Ireland initially was to protest that relay, but ultimately has accepted the result.

This has left the country in a peculiar position, because with only one relay qualified, they are only able to bring two relay-only swimmers to the meet.

Those relay only swimmers, Finn McGeever and Jack McMillan, are both key members of the Irish 800 free relay that will race in Tokyo.

Because of FINA rules, however, two of the four swimmers who swam the 800 free relay at the European Championships that earned the qualifying time, Jordan Sloan and Gerry Quinn, could not be chosen for Tokyo.

Instead, Ireland has had to scrap together four members to swim the relay.

One will be Brendan Hyland, who has been invited based on a FINA ‘B’ invitation to attend the Games in the 200 fly. Swim Ireland said that while they wouldn’t normally take swimmers who only received ‘B’ invitations, they need Hyland to help fill out the 800 free relay.

His was the country’s only ‘B cut’ invitation.

The fourth member of that relay will be Shane Ryan, who is a sprinter, but among the swimmers who earned individual invites via ‘A’ cuts is the next-best option.

Ireland’s men’s 800 free relay, along with personal bests:

Swimmers being left home:

  • Gerry Quinn – 1:48.87
  • Jordan Sloan – 1:47.41

McGeever was ultimately chosen over Sloan and Quinn in spite of Sloan and Quinn both having faster splits at the European Championships in May. Sloan has a substantially-faster best flat start time, and finished 2nd at the National Team Trials in April (ahead of McGeever who was 3rd).

National Performance Director Jon Rudd, however, pointed to Ireland’s selection procedures, and the fact that between Euros and April’s selection met, McGeever’s 1:48.13 at Trials in the semifinals is the best time among him and Sloan, leading to his selection.

“This has been the longest ever Olympic cycle and qualification period that the sport has faced,” said Rudd via press release. “To have nine swimmers amongst an 11 member aquatics team for the Games is an excellent outcome for our sport and all those involved.

“A double Trials and a protracted relay appeal meant that many of our athletes have not known until very recently whether they would or could be selected to this team, and for all of the difficult days of uncertainty that they have had to face, we very much sympathise with them, particularly those who did not get over the line on this occasion. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Jordan and Gerry in particular.

“For the nine athletes on this team, there have been numerous coaches, clubs and family members that have been part of the journey alongside all of our athletes and for this, we sincerely thank them. Our attentions now turn to our preparation camp in Hamamatsu and our strongest endeavours to see this talented team perform to their best over the nine days of racing in Tokyo.”

The reprieve from domestic selection criteria for Hyland was awarded, ostensibly, for the benefit of the relay, but his individual potential in the 200 fly is still among Ireland’s best. At the 2019 World Championships, his 11th place finish in the 200 fly was the country’s only swim in an Olympic event beyond the preliminary rounds.

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B1Guy!
6 months ago

Did Conor Ferguson hang up his suit?

SwimSider
Reply to  Braden Keith
6 months ago

How do B cut invites work?

Rafael
Reply to  SwimSider
6 months ago

After all A cuts, all RO and all universality spots an athlete with B cut can be invited (only if the country does not have an A cut on same event or already used universality)

Water
Reply to  Braden Keith
6 months ago

The A cut was got my an america thou

SwimSider
6 months ago

I need this explained.

The Rumour mill
Reply to  SwimSider
6 months ago

Rumour is that Rudd wasn’t aware of the qualifying criteria basically and has got caught with his pants down. He told the original 4 relay swimmers they were going, only to then backtrack with Sloane and Quinn after he was made aware of the rule. He’s also supposedly edited the Swim Ireland document on their website about Olympic qualification and backdated it to make it look like he was aware of the ruling from the start. Finally, he’s somehow managed to squeeze his darling child Hyland on to the plane to Tokyo, which is the first time ever (I believe) that Ireland has sent a swimmer with a B invitation.

John k
Reply to  The Rumour mill
6 months ago

Not true Melanie Nocher and Aisling Cooney went to Bejing 2008 on B standard

Justafan
Reply to  John k
6 months ago

Selection standards back in 2008 allowed for Aisling and Melanie to be selected on ‘B’ times? (correct me if I’m wrong)

In 2021 Swim Ireland doesn’t outline that anywhere

Nickey
Reply to  John k
6 months ago

As far as I remember they were both selected on B times but achieved the A times well before travelling.

James Beam
6 months ago

Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure Shane Ryan will do a lifetime best time in the 200 LCM free on the relay. I just have a feeling he will be a hair faster than 1:59..

Justafan
Reply to  James Beam
6 months ago

Crazy, He will not

SwimIrelandInsider
6 months ago

Everyone’s happy for Bren to go but Jesus Swim Ireland Is a great place for picking and choosing among their swimmers on things other than times and that goes far beyond this scenario. Like cool bring a B swimmer for the relay because otherwise it would be embarrassing but if your gonna do that bring the best swimmer available for it and Bren is not that.

Swim monkey
Reply to  SwimIrelandInsider
6 months ago

Not swim Ireland’s decision 🙄

Anonymous
6 months ago

Firstly, a massive congratulations is deserved to all the swimmers that are going and to Jordan and Gerry who unfortunately miss out.

However, questions need to be asked around selection procedures. The situation has been poorly handled and I’m sure emotionally distressful for some swimmers in Ireland.

The selection policy itself is one that is confusing for a country wanting to achieve the very best results.

Points in particular:

1. Swimmers not allowed to enter individual Olympic event races at the European Championships. This was a strange decision for Ireland to make especially with the lack of competition in some events within Ireland at their home trial selection meets. From what I recall there was multiple events with… Read more »

NornIron Swim
6 months ago

That is such a disappointment for Quinn and Sloan in particular. His results and improvements have shown others that it is possible to swim that fast as an Irish male.
That 4×2 could have competed well and with distinction. This hodgepodge leaves a lot to be desired.

SwimSider
Reply to  NornIron Swim
6 months ago

They have gone from 2x Relay teams to 0.5x Relay teams. Over to Jon Rudd for some historic media sound bites,

Thomas
6 months ago

Kind of funny Shane Ryan gets to swim this as his best on paper time is 1:59.

Anonymous
6 months ago

Firstly, a massive congratulations is deserved to all the swimmers that are going and to Jordan and Gerry who unfortunately miss out.

However, questions need to be asked around selection procedures. The situation has been poorly handled and I’m sure emotionally distressful for some swimmers in Ireland.

The selection policy itself is one that is confusing for a country wanting to achieve the very best results.

Points in particular:

1. Swimmers not allowed to enter individual Olympic event races at the European Championships. This was a strange decision for Ireland to make especially with the lack of competition in some events within Ireland at their home trial selection meets. From what I recall there was multiple events with… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

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