Drew Kibler Left Off U.S. 400 Free Relay Due To COVID Protocols


Many were left a little puzzled by Drew Kibler‘s absence from the U.S. men’s 400 freestyle relay on the opening day of the 2022 World Championships in Budapest, and we now know it was due to COVID protocols.

Kibler, who tied for fourth in the individual 100 free at the U.S. Trials in late April, was pulled from the relay due to “COVID protocol travel delays,” according to a statement from USA Swimming.

The statement doesn’t specify if Kibler actually contracted COVID-19 or had a close contact that tested positive.

Full USA Swimming Statement:

Due to COVID protocol travel delays, a decision was made to pull Drew Kibler from the relay to focus on his individual and future events. USA Swimming continues to prioritize the health and safety of our athletes and staff by following FINA guidelines and enforcing mask rules and social distancing.

Prior to the release of the lineups for the relay finals, many figured Kibler would swim the final after being left off the prelim team.

Earlier on Saturday, the former Texas Longhorn star posted a photo on Instagram with the caption “All systems GO!!!,” which likely indicates he recently got out of quarantine for COVID-19.

Without Kibler, the Americans used Hunter ArmstrongRyan HeldJustin Ress and Brooks Curry on the prelim relay. Armstrong was the swimmer Kibler tied with to place fourth in the 100 free at U.S. Trials, while Curry was the surprising name racing in Kibler’s place in the heats after he had finished second.

Held, Ress and Curry will join Caeleb Dressel in tonight’s final.

Kibler is set to race in the men’s 200 freestyle preliminaries on Sunday.

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1 month ago

Another dumb covid protocols ruining stuff.. Kibler from Texas especially, down here aint nobody worn a mask in 2 years

1 month ago

Wonder if that’s the same reason Zac Incerti was not on Australia’s relay as well?

1 month ago

Well that sucks.

Coach Macgyver
1 month ago


Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
1 month ago

He was around in Michael Andrews Vlog just the other day and given Fina said there would be sanctions on close contact swimmers who weren’t vaccinated I’ve got a few questions on if Michael Andrew is still able to compete

Last edited 1 month ago by Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
Reply to  Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
1 month ago

An article with nothing to do with MA. And yet you find a way to bash him still.

Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
Reply to  thezwimmer
1 month ago

I’m not bashing Andrew, I think he’s a great swimmer and Great guy, I’m literally stating, Kibler was with Andrew, Kibler reported covid issues, Andrew not vaccinated, Fina says Non vacced close contacts would face repercussions, Andrew is close contact of Kibler

Reply to  Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
1 month ago

For the time being, let’s leave MA out of the mix.
I saw the vlog and Mr. Kibler certainly didn’t seem coerced or bothered that MA was doing some video.

Reply to  Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
1 month ago

Close contact is within 6 feet for longer than 15:00 minutes.

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

OK that makes more sense. It’s defensible when the coaches go rogue and put the rare Lochte/Ledecky/Phelps caliber swimmer directly onto a finals relay that they didn’t explicitly qualify for, but it was gonna be weird if they did something similar for Kibler.

Dressel 46.8
1 month ago

Can he still swim the 4×2?

Reply to  Dressel 46.8
1 month ago

That’s a few days off, he has the 200 free tomorrow and I’m curious if he swims it

Scuncan Dott
1 month ago

What about Incerti?

Reply to  Scuncan Dott
1 month ago

Please elaborate. . .

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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