Comparing Rio 2016 Qualifying Times To Initial Tokyo 2020 Standards

Though they haven’t yet been ratified, FINA has released preliminary qualifying times for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo – time standards that made their biggest leaps in freestyle events.

You can read more about the official Olympic qualifying procedures here. We’ve republished the preliminary 2020 qualifying times below, along with a look at the percentage change in each A and B cut time. Ultimately, events varied from no change between the 2016 and 2020 Olympics to a 2.5% drop in qualifying time.

Currently, the A times appear to be the 14th-place times from prelims of the 2016 Rio Olympics in all events but the men’s 800 and women’s 1500, which weren’t swum in Rio. That’s a change from the 2016 standards, which were based on the 16th-place prelims time from the 2012 Olympics.

That means some of these events are pretty significantly faster. In fact, based on the results of the 2017 U.S. National Championships, Team USA would have only been able to enter one man in the Olympic 1500 based on these time standards – only national champ True Sweetser cracked the A cut, and a nation can only enter two swimmers if both of them hit A times.

Also, as you look at these times, remember that there are pathways for athletes to make the Olympics without hitting one of these times. Nations without an Olympic swimming qualifier can enter up to one man and one woman under the universality system.

 

Here’s a side-by-side comparison with the 2016 Rio cuts:

Men’s A Times

Men’s A Times
Event Rio 2016 Tokyo 2020 % Change
50 free 22.27 22.01 -1.2%
100 free 48.99 48.57 -0.9%
200 free 1:47.97 1:47.02 -0.9%
400 free 3:50.40 3:46.78 -1.6%
800 free 7:54.31
1500 free 15:14.77 15:00.99 -1.5%
100 back 54.36 53.85 -0.9%
200 back 1:58.22 1:57.50 -0.6%
100 breast 1:00.57 59.93 -1.1%
200 breast 2:11.66 2:10.35 -1.0%
100 fly 52.36 51.96 -0.8%
200 fly 1:56.97 1:56.48 -0.4%
200 IM 2:00.28 1:59.67 -0.5%
400 IM 4:16.71 4:15.84 -0.3%

Men’s B Times

Men’s B Times
Event Rio 2016 Tokyo 2020 % Change
50 free 23.05 22.67 -1.6%
100 free 50.70 50.03 -1.3%
200 free 1:51.75 1:50.23 -1.4%
400 free 3:58.51 3:53.58 -2.1%
800 free 8:08.54
1500 free 15:46.79 15:28.02 -2.0%
100 back 56.26 55.47 -1.4%
200 back 2:02.36 2:01.03 -1.1%
100 breast 1:02.69 1:01.73 -1.5%
200 breast 2:16.27 2:14.26 -1.5%
100 fly 54.19 53.52 -1.2%
200 fly 2:01.06 1:59.97 -0.9%
200 IM 2:04.39 2:03.26 -0.9%
400 IM 4:25.69 4:21.46 -1.6%

Women’s A Times

Women’s A Times
Event Rio 2016 Tokyo 2020 % Change
50 free 25.28 24.77 -2.0%
100 free 54.43 54.38 -0.1%
200 free 1:58.96 1:57.28 -1.4%
400 free 4:09.08 4:07.90 -0.5%
800 free 8:33.97 8:33.36 -0.1%
1500 free 16:32.04
100 back 1:00.25 1:00.25 0.0%
200 back 2:10.60 2:10.39 -0.2%
100 breast 1:07.85 1:07.07 -1.1%
200 breast 2:26.94 2:25.52 -1.0%
100 fly 58.74 57.92 -1.4%
200 fly 2:09.33 2:08.43 -0.7%
200 IM 2:14.26 2:12.56 -1.3%
400 IM 4:43.46 4:38.53 -1.7%

Women’s B Times

Women’s B Times
Event Rio 2016 Tokyo 2020 % Change
50 free 26.17 25.51 -2.5%
100 free 56.34 56.01 -0.6%
200 free 2:03.13 2:00.80 -1.9%
400 free 4:17.80 4:15.34 -1.0%
800 free 8:51.96 8:48.76 -0.6%
1500 free 17:01.80
100 back 1:02.36 1:02.06 -0.5%
200 back 2:15.17 2:14.30 -0.6%
100 breast 1:10.22 1:09.08 -1.6%
200 breast 2:32.08 2:29.89 -1.4%
100 fly 1:00.80 59.66 -1.9%
200 fly 2:13.86 2:12.28 -1.2%
200 IM 2:18.96 2:16.54 -1.7%
400 IM 4:53.38 4:46.89 -2.2%

Time Changes

In general, B cuts dropped more dramatically than A cuts. In fact, in the 26 events with 2016 comparisons (not counting the men’s 800 and women’s 1500, which weren’t included in the 2016 Olympics) 19 B cuts dropped by more than a full percent, while only 10 A cuts dropped by that amount. (Note: we rounded to the nearest tenth for simplicity above, but a handful of events came in in the 0.95%-0.99% range).

Women’s events dropped both the most and the least. The top two dropping A and B cuts were women’s events, but the four A cuts and four B cuts with the lowest percentage change were also women’s events. Here’s a look at the events with the biggest percentage time changes, along with the events with the lowest percentage time changes:

Fastest-Dropping Events

A Times

  1. Women’s 50 free: -2.02%
  2. Women’s 400 IM: -1.74%
  3. Men’s 400 free: -1.57%
  4. Men’s 1500 free: -1.51%
  5. Women’s 200 free: -1.41%

B Times

  1. Women’s 50 free: -2.52%
  2. Women’s 400 IM: -2.21%
  3. Men’s 400 free: -2.07%
  4. Men’s 1500 free: -1.98%
  5. Women’s 200 free: -1.89%

Slowest-Dropping Events

A Times

  1. Women’s 100 back: no change
  2. Women’s 100 free: -0.09%
  3. Women’s 800 free: -0.12%
  4. Women’s 200 back: -0.16%
  5. Men’s 400 IM: -0.34%

B Times

  1. Women’s 100 back: -0.48%
  2. Women’s 100 free: -0.59%
  3. Women’s 800 free: -0.60%
  4. Women’s 200 back: -0.64%
  5. Men’s 200 fly: -0.90%

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Torchbearer

Tokyo has a huge sports program (5 new sports) ..whilst capping overall numbers. Swimming was going to be forced to tighten things up.
2.5 seconds off the women’s 200m Free B Time, and a hard A time of 1.57.28 for example will cut a lot of nations out of that event.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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