Everything You Need To Know From April’s Olympic Qualifying Meets (So Far)

The first two weeks of April have been hectic as we’re now fully entrenched in long course season and countries all over the globe are holding their Olympic qualifying meets in preparation for the Games this summer in Tokyo.

This article will provide those who haven’t been able to fully follow along a bird’s-eye view into the top meets and performances that have wrapped up recently.


The swim of the meet belonged to Evgeny Rylov, who broke the European and Russian Records in the men’s 200 backstroke in a time of 1:53.23, lowering his previous mark of 1:53.36 set at the 2018 Euros. He now ranks first in the world this season by more than two seconds.

Additional National Records

  • Kliment Kolesnikov broke the Russian Record in the men’s 100 free in 47.31, downing the previous mark of 47.43 held by Vladislav Grinev while becoming the 10th-fastest swimmer of all-time. The Russian men occupy six of the 10-fastest swimmers in the world this year, and Grinev, the 2019 World bronze medalist in the event, missed an individual entry as Andrei Minakov stole second place.
  • Evgeny Rylov walked away with the Russian mark in the men’s 100 back in 52.12. The record was Rylov’s at 52.44 entering the meet, Kolesnikov tied it in prelims, brought it down to 52.42 in the semis, and then Rylov reclaimed it in the final. Kolesnikov clocked 52.24 in the final to rank second in the world.
  • Andrey Zhilkin chopped a half-second off of Ilya Borodin‘s mark of 1:58.00 in the men’s 200 IM in 1:57.50.
  • Borodin lowered his own National and World Junior Records in the 400 IM in 4:11.17.
  • On fire all meet, Maria Kameneva sliced .01 off her Russian Record in the 50 free to slot into fourth in the world rankings (24.20)
  • Anna Egorova downed the National Record in the women’s 400 free by almost two seconds in 4:04.10, ranking her third in the world for 2020-21.

Other Meet Highlights

  • Evgeniia Chikunova won the women’s 100 and 200 breaststroke, beating Yuliya Efimova head-to-head in both, including setting the world’s #2 time this season in the 200 (2:21.63). Efimova shockingly missed qualifying in the 200 as the reigning two-time world champ and 2016 Olympic silver medalist. Maria Temnikova handily beat her by well over a second in 2:22.76.
  • Vladimir Morozov scored the world’s top time in the men’s 50 freestyle, winning in 21.41 to officially qualify for the team after placing fourth in the 100 free. That swim marks his second-fastest ever, trailing only his Russian Record of 21.27.
  • Martin Malyutin won the men’s 200 free in an elite time of 1:45.18, ranking him second for 2020-21.


Shoma Sato dropped the second-fastest 200 breaststroke in history at the Japan Swim in Tokyo, clocking 2:06.40 to lower the Asian Record of 2:06.67 previously held by Ippei Watanabe. Only world record holder Anton Chupkov (2:06.12) has been faster.

24-year-old Ryuya Mura upset Watanabe for the second spot in the event behind Sato, touching in 2:07.58 to sit third in the world this season.

Additional National Records

  • Katsuhiro Matsumoto became the first Japanese man sub-1:45 in the 200 freestyle, registering a time of 1:44.65 to become the ninth-fastest swimmer in history. The 24-year-old held the previous record at 1:45.13, and now owns the top spot in the world this season.
  • Shui Kurokawa set a new National Record in the men’s 800 freestyle, producing a time of 7:49.55 to slot into fifth in the world rankings. The swim sliced a tenth off Takeshi Matsuda‘s 2009 record of 7:49.65, but still missed Japan’s Olympic qualifying standard of 7:48.12.
  • Takeshi Kawamoto first tied the Japanese Record in the men’s 100 fly, equalling Kohei Kawamoto‘s 2009 effort in 51.00, before setting a new mark all his own in the 50 fly (23.17). In the 100 fly, he ranks second in the world.

Other Meet Highlights

  • The biggest highlight of all came from Rikako Ikee, who qualified for the Olympic team after being diagnosed with leukemia in early 2019. Ikee won the women’s 100 butterfly in 57.77, good enough to qualify her for the 400 medley relay, and she would go on to add the 400 free relay to her lineup with four total wins for the meet.
  • Daiya Seto, who had already locked up Olympic qualification in the men’s 200 and 400 IM as the 2019 World Champion, added a third event to his schedule in the 200 fly, and also posted the world’s top time in the 400 IM (4:09.02). In the 200 fly, it was actually 19-year-old Tomoru Honda beating Seto for the win in 1:54.88, a time that ranks him fourth in the world.
  • Kosuke Hagino successfully qualified for the Games in the 200 IM, posting a time of 1:57.43 to rank fifth in the world. Seto went 1:57.41 for fourth.
  • Yui Ohashi claimed the women’s 400 IM in 4:35.14, putting her second in the world this season.
  • Miho Teramura dropped a 2:09.55 to beat Ohashi head-to-head and take over the #2 spot in the world.


Nicolo Martinenghi was on fire at the Italian Spring Nationals in Riccione, resetting a pair of National Records in the men’s 50 and 100 breaststroke. Martinenghi’s times of 26.39 and 58.37 make him the third-fastest swimmer of all-time in both races, and he also ranked first in the world in the 100 this season prior to Adam Peaty’s 57.7 on Wednesday.

Additional National Records

  • Margherita Panziera slashed her own marker in the women’s 200 backstroke, clocking 2:05.56 to rank second in the world this season.
  • Martina Carraro became the first Italian woman sub-1:06 in the 100 breaststroke, putting up a time of 1:05.86 to qualify for the Olympic team. Benedetta Pilato and Arianna Castiglioni also tied for second in 1:06.00, but Pilato had already qualified for the team at an earlier meet, leaving Castiglioni on the outside looking in.
  • Alberto Razzetti brought his 200 IM Italian Record down to 1:57.13, good for third in the world rankings.

Other Meet Highlights

  • Narrowly missing his Italian Record by .02, 19-year-old Federico Burdisso claimed the men’s 200 fly in 1:54.41, making him the second-fastest man in the world this season behind Kristof Milak.
  • Gregorio Paltrinieri was master of his domain in the men’s distance free events, winning the 800 (7:41.96) and 1500 (14:40.38) to rank first in the world by wide margin in both.
  • Gabriele Detti qualified for Tokyo with a 3:44.65 swim in the 400 free, fourth-fastest this season, and was second to Paltrinieri in the 800 (7:46.58) to rank second in the world.
  • Federica Pellegrini clocked 1:56.69 in the women’s 200 freestyle, her fifth time qualifying for the Olympics in the event.


Tatjana Schoenmaker starred at the South African Championships in Port Elizabeth, resetting African Records in all three women’s breaststroke events.

Schoenmaker clocked respective times of 30.32, 1:05.74 and 2:20.17 in the 50, 100 and 200, ranking her first in the world in the 200 and second in the 100.

Additional National Records

  • Continental Records also went down in the women’s 4×100 free and medley relays, with the South African teams posting times of 3:40.29 and 4:01.92, respectively. Schoenmaker notably featured on the medley relay with a 1:05.35 breast split.
  • Emma Chelius reset the National Record in the women’s 50 freestyle, clocking 24.72 to get under both Erin Gallagher‘s record of 24.95 and the FINA ‘A’ cut of 24.77.

Other Meet Highlights

  • 16-year-old Pieter Coetzé led off the men’s 400 medley relay in a time of 53.62, qualifying for the Olympics in the 100 backstroke to get under the FINA ‘A’ cut of 53.85. Coetze had won the individual event in 54.25 after coming in with a best of 55.19.
  • Chad Le Clos won the men’s 200 fly in 1:55.88 to qualify for Tokyo, but notably missed the ‘A’ cut in the 100 fly (52.13). He should still be able to swim the event at the Olympics.


Fabian Schwingenschlogl became the first German man under 59 seconds in the 100 breaststroke, touching in 58.95 in Heidelberg to slot into sixth in the world rankings. The former Mizzou swimmer lowered the 2009 National Record of 59.15 held by Hendrik Feldwehr.

Additional National Records

  • David Thomasberger broke the German Record in the men’s 200 fy twice, getting the time down to 1:55.04 in the final after lowering Ramon Klenz‘s 1:55.76 record in the heats in 1:55.51.


Kira Toussaint led the charge at the Olympic qualifying meet in Eindhoven, setting a new European Record in the women’s 50 backstroke (27.10) and a new Dutch mark in the 100 back (58.65). Toussaint now ranks third in the world for 2020-21 in the 100.

Additional National Records

  • Arno Kamminga set a new Dutch Record in the men’s 50 breaststroke, putting up a time of 26.80 to erase his previous mark of 26.88.
  • Ranomi Kromowidjojo lowered the Dutch 50 fly record in 25.24.
  • Nyls Korstanje brought the men’s 50 fly Dutch Record down to 23.02.
  • Louis Croenen lowered the Belgian 100 fly record in 52.00.

Other Meet Highlights

  • Kromowidjojo blasted times of 24.11 and 53.13 in the women’s 50 and 100 free, ranking her tied for first and fourth in the world, respectively.
  • Kamminga topped the 100 (58.64) and 200 breast (2:08.48) along with the 50, though neither were under his previous season-bests.
  • Germany’s Henning Muehlleitner produced one of the top FINA point-scoring swims of the meet in the men’s 400 free, producing a 3:45.55.
  • Thom de Boer put up an elite time of 21.79 in the men’s 50 free heats, but it was Jesse Puts (21.87) earning the win in the final.


Felix Auboeck reset a pair of Austrian Records in Stockholm, lowering marks in the men’s 200 free (1:45.70) and 800 free (7:46.72) to rank fifth and third in the world. It was, however, his 400 free that was the top FINA point-scorer, as Auboeck blasted a 3:44.51 to rank third in the world and narrowly miss his current record of 3:44.19.

Additional National Records

  • Marlene Kahler also set a new Austrian Record, doing so in the women’s 1500 free (16:21.52).
  • Sophie Hansson clocked in at 1:06.17 in the women’s 100 breaststroke, lowering the Swedish Record of 1:06.30 set by Jennie Johansson in 2017.
  • Seven Estonian Records went down, including three from Eneli Jefimova in the women’s 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke. Kregor Zirk (men’s 200 free), Alex Ahtiainen (men’s 100 fly), Aleksa Gold (women’s 200 back) and the mixed 400 medley relay (Gold, Jefimova, Daniel Zaitsev, Zirk) also set new National Records.
  • Ida Hulkko reset the Finnish Record in the women’s 100 breast (1:06.88).

Other Meet Highlights

  • Louise Hansson clocked 56.73 in the women’s 100 fly to rank fifth in the world this season, going under her previous best time of 57.10.
  • Denmark’s Alexander Norgaard swam to a time of 14:54.11 in the men’s 1500 free, ranking him second in the world this season.

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1 year ago

“Kosuke Hagino successfully qualified for the Games in the 200 IM, posting a time of 1:57.43 to rank fifth in the world. Seto went 1:57.41 for fourth.”

Is Seto’s time correct?

1 year ago


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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