Acropolis Grand Prix
Swimming at the Acropolis Grand Prix in Athens, Dimitris Markos qualified for his first Olympic Games by swimming a 7:53.07 to win the men’s 800 freestyle. That time gets Markos under the required FINA A standard of 7:54.31 by just over a second.
That swim for Markos is a solid improvement upon his former best time of 8:00.32 which he swam just days before during the prelims of the 2021 European Swimming Championships for 18th place overall. Markos’ new best time of 7:53.07 would have been fast enough to place 8th in the final, beating Sergiy Frolov‘s 7:56.12.
The swim also gets Markos within 2 seconds of Konstantinos Englezakis‘s Greek record in the event which stands at a 7:51.27. Englezakis set that record last year at the 2020 Golden Tour in Nice, France.
According to a press release from the Hellenic Swimming Federation, Markos offered the following remarks after his swim:
“It is the most beautiful moment in my career and in my life, “I have not yet realized it. I was hunting this year, who did not come to the European Championship in Budapest, but today. I thank my coach Alexandros Moraris and all those who are by my side. I believe that I have the potential to create a great career in the field of classical swimming in the near future. I do not have standards, but I believe a lot in myself “.
Heading into the Olympics, Markos is now the 23rd fastest man in the world this season in the event. As the only addition to the team during the Acropolis Grand Prix, Markos becomes the 7th member of Greece’s 2020 Olympic squad thus far.
Greek 2020 Olympic Roster As Of June 1, 2021
- Apostolos Christou – 100 backstroke
- Konstantinos Englezakis – 800 freestyle
- Kristian Gkolomeev – 50 freestyle
- Apostolos Papastamos – 200 IM, 400 IM
- Andreas Vazaios – 200 IM
- Dimitrios Markos – 800 freestyle
- Anna Ntountounaki – 100 buttetfly
During the meet, Greece also managed to post 2 relay swims that should be good enough to qualify them to swim the event this summer in Tokyo. In the men’s 400 medley relay, Apostolos Christou, Konstadinos Meretsolias, Andreas Vazaios, and Kristian Gkolomeev threw together a 3:34.61 which moves them into the #4 wildcard spot for the event.
As a reminder, 16 teams qualify for each relay at the Olympics made up of the top 12 from 2019 Worlds and then 4 ‘wildcard’ spots which are given to the 4 nations with the top times during the qualification period which ended on May 31, 2021. The Greek team swam their time of May 30, 2021, and bumped Ireland out of the final wildcard spot by just 0.01. The swim for the Greek men was just off the 2016 Greek record of 3:34.41.
In the mixed medley relay, Apostolos Christou, Konstadinos Meretsolias, Anna Ntountounaki, and Theodora Drakou posted a 3:45.38 Greek record which was also quick enough to nab a spot in the event in Tokyo. The swim was just behind China’s 3:38.41 and Japan’s 3:44.75 which account for the #1 and #2 wildcard spots. Greece is followed by the Brazilian team which sits in the #4 spot and effectively bumped Switzerland out of contention.
While it’s not an Olympic event, Maria-Thaleia Drasidou posted a solid 50 breaststroke swim at the meet to set a new Greek record. Drasidou posted a 31.26 in the event to take out Angeliki Exarchou‘s 31.52 from the 2009 World Championships.