Examining How the Paris 2024 Swimming Time Standards Compare to Previous OIympics

Editor’s Note: We initially published this comparison of the Olympic time standards to past Olympics in April, however FINA told us that the document that contained these standards is “out of date,” without elaborating. The time standards officially announced by FINA yesterday are the same as the ones we reported on in April, so the “out of date” element of that initial document was likely pertaining to the qualifying procedures, rather than the cuts themselves. 

FINA has released the qualifying standards for the Paris 2024 Olympics, revealing time standards which are considerably faster than in previous years. If you wish to read our report on the qualifying times, including the selection criteria, click here.

In short, the OQT time standards, which function as ‘A’ times, were derived by taking the 14th-place finisher from prelims at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in each event. The OCT times, which serve as the ‘B’ standards, are 0.5% slower than the OQT standards.

Below, you can view tables comparing the Paris 2024 time standards to the London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020 standards.

Men’s Olympic Qualifying Times (‘A’ Cuts)

EVENT LONDON 2012 RIO 2016 TOKYO 2020 PARIS 2024
50m Free 22.11 22.27 22.01 21.96
100m Free 48.82 48.99 48.57 48.34
200m Free 1:47.82 1:47.97 1:47.02 1:46.26
400m Free 3:48.92 3:50.40 3:46.78 3:46.78
800m Free N/A N/A 7:54.31 7:51.65
1500m Free 15:11.83 15:14.77 15:00.99 15:00.99
100m Back 54.40 54.36 53.85 53.74
200m Back 1:58.48 1:58.22 1:57.50 1:57.50
100 Breast 1:00.79 1:00.57 59.93 59.49
200 Breast 2:11.74 2:11.66 2:10.35 2:09.68
100 Fly 52.36 52.36 51.96 51.67
200 Fly 1:56.86 1:56.97 1:56.48 1:55.78
200 IM 2:00.17 2:00.28 1:59.67 1:57.94
400 IM 4:16.46 4:16.71 4:15.84 4:12.50

Men’s Olympic Consideration Times (‘B’ Cuts)

EVENT LONDON 2012 RIO 2016 TOKYO 2020 PARIS 2024
50m Free 22.73 23.05 22.67 22.07
100m Free 50.93 50.70 50.03 48.58
200m Free 1:50.76 1:51.75 1:50.23 1:46.79
400m Free 3:58.01 3:58.51 3:53.58 3:47.91
800m Free N/A N/A 8:08.54 7:54.01
1500m Free 15:45.12 15:46.79 15:28.02 15:05.49
100m Back 56.40 56.26 55.47 54.01
200m Back 2:01.53 2:02.36 2:01.03 1:58.09
100 Breast 1:03.61 1:02.69 1:01.73 59.79
200 Breast 2:18.24 2:16.27 2:14.26 2:10.33
100 Fly 54.09 54.19 53.52 51.93
200 Fly 2:01.08 2:01.06 1:59.97 1:56.36
200 IM 2:03.89 2:04.39 2:03.26 1:58.53
400 IM 4:24.78 4:25.69 4:21.46 4:13.76

Women’s Olympic Qualifying Times (‘A’ Cuts)

EVENT LONDON 2012 RIO 2016 TOKYO 2020 PARIS 2024
50m Free 25.27 25.28 24.77 24.70
100m Free 54.57 54.43 54.38 53.61
200m Free 1:58.33 1:58.96 1:57.28 1:57.26
400m Free 4:09.35 4:09.08 4:07.90 4:07.90
800m Free 8:33.84 8:33.97 8:33.36 8:26.71
1500m Free N/A N/A 16:32.04 16:09.09
100m Back 1:00.82 1:00.25 1:00.25 59.99
200m Back 2:10.84 2:10.60 2:10.39 2:10.39
100 Breast 1:08.49 1:07.85 1:07.07 1:06.79
200 Breast 2:26.89 2:26.94 2:25.52 2:23.91
100 Fly 58.70 58.74 57.92 57.92
200 Fly 2:08.95 2:09.33 2:08.43 2:08.43
200 IM 2:13.36 2:14.26 2:12.56 2:11.47
400 IM 4:41.75 4:43.46 4:38.53 4:38.53

Women’s Olympic Consideration Times (‘B’ Cuts)

EVENT LONDON 2012 RIO 2016 TOKYO 2020 PARIS 2024
50m Free 25.76 26.17 25.51 24.82
100m Free 56.54 56.34 56.01 53.88
200m Free 2:02.68 2:03.13 2:00.80 1:57.85
400m Free 4:19.68 4:17.80 4:15.34 4:09.14
800m Free 8:54.04 8:51.96 8:48.76 8:29.24
1500m Free N/A N/A 17:01.80 16:13.94
100m Back 1:03.11 1:02.36 1:02.06 1:00.29
200m Back 2:15.52 2:15.17 2:14.30 2:11.04
100 Breast 1:09.98 1:10.12 1:09.08 1:07.12
200 Breast 2:32.15 2:32.08 2:29.89 2:24.63
100 Fly 1:00.87 1:00.80 59.66 58.21
200 Fly 2:14.00 2:13.86 2:12.28 2:09.07
200 IM 2:16.98 2:18.96 2:16.54 2:12.13
400 IM 4:52.59 4:53.38 4:46.89 4:39.92

Now, let’s compare the Paris 2024 cuts to the Tokyo 2020 cuts. As you’ll see in the tables below, the ‘A’ cuts are faster in 20 of 28 events, while the B cuts are faster, and significantly so, across the board. The biggest time change in an ‘A’ cut comes in the men’s 200 IM, which improved from 1:59.67 in Tokyo to 1:57.94 in Paris, marking a change of 1.45%.

Men’s A Cuts
Event Tokyo 2020 Paris 2024 % Change
50 free 22.01 21.96 -0.20%
100 free 48.57 48.34 -0.47%
200 free 1:47.02 1:46.26 -0.71%
400 free 3:46.78 3:46.78 0.00%
800 free 7:54.31 7:51.65 -0.56
1500 free 15:00.99 15:00.99 0.00%
100 back 53.85 53.74 -0.20%
200 back 1:57.50 1:57.50 0.00%
100 breast 59.93 59.49 -0.73%
200 breast 2:10.35 2:09.68 -0.51%
100 fly 51.96 51.67 -0.56%
200 fly 1:56.48 1:55.78 -0.60%
200 IM 1:59.67 1:57.94 -1.45%
400 IM 4:15.84 4:12.50 -1.30%

 

Men’s B Cuts
Event Tokyo 2020 Paris 2024 % Change
50 free 22.67 22.07 -2.65%
100 free 50.03 48.58 -2.90%
200 free 1:50.23 1:46.79 -3.12%
400 free 3:53.58 3:47.91 -2.61%
800 free 8:08.54 7:54.01 -2.97%
1500 free 15:28.02 15:05.49 -2.43%
100 back 55.47 54.01 -2.63%
200 back 2:01.03 1:58.09 -2.43%
100 breast 1:01.73 59.79 -3.14%
200 breast 2:14.26 2:10.33 -2.93%
100 fly 53.52 51.93 -2.97%
200 fly 1:59.97 1:56.36 -3.01%
200 IM 2:03.26 1:58.53 -3.84%
400 IM 4:21.46 4:13.76 -2.95%

 

Women’s A Cuts
Event Tokyo 2020 Paris 2024 % Change
50 free 24.77 24.7 -0.28%
100 free 54.38 53.61 -1.42%
200 free 1:57.28 1:57.26 -0.02%
400 free 4:07.90 4:07.90 0.00%
800 free 8:33.36 8:26.71 -1.30%
1500 free 16:32.04 16:09.09 -2.31
100 back 1:00.25 59.99 -0.43%
200 back 2:10.39 2:10.39 0.00%
100 breast 1:07.07 1:06.79 -0.42%
200 breast 2:25.52 2:23.91 -1.11%
100 fly 57.92 57.92 0.00%
200 fly 2:08.43 2:08.43 0.00%
200 IM 2:12.56 2:11.47 -0.82%
400 IM 4:38.53 4:38.53 0.00%

 

Women’s B Cuts
Event Tokyo 2020 Paris 2024 % Change
50 free 25.51 24.82 -2.70%
100 free 56.01 53.88 -3.80%
200 free 2:00.80 1:57.85 -2.44%
400 free 4:15.34 4:09.14 -2.43%
800 free 8:48.76 8:29.24 -3.69%
1500 free 17:01.80 16:13.94 -4.68%
100 back 1:02.06 1:00.29 -2.85%
200 back 2:14.30 2:11.04 -2.43%
100 breast 1:09.08 1:07.12 -2.84%
200 breast 2:29.89 2:24.63 -3.51%
100 fly 59.66 58.21 -2.43%
200 fly 2:12.28 2:09.07 -2.43%
200 IM 2:16.54 2:12.13 -3.23%
400 IM 4:46.89 4:39.92 -2.43%

 

 

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Dan
2 months ago

I know that they have a limit on number of swimmers that can participate at the Olympics, but in my opinion they should have reduced the number of relay only swimmers that a country could send in favor for a little easier B-cuts and made them 1% (maybe 1.5% slower than the A cut).

Without having read the qualifying procedures I hope they have something in place to make sure they avoid (in my opinion) the embarrassment of not have enough swimmers at the meet in an event to fill the Semi-finals heats.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dan
NathenDrake
2 months ago

On the women side the 200 breast, 200 medley and 100 free cut doesnt make any sense. Just absurde difference.

NathenDrake
2 months ago

100 breast, 200 fly & 400 medley are the toughest for the men.

Former Big10
2 months ago

The men’s 400 IM is kinda bonkers. Down almost ten seconds—for the B standard.

Last edited 2 months ago by Former Big10
Former Big10
Reply to  Former Big10
2 months ago

To piggy back on that, both the IM cuts got way faster. Especially when looking at the % change. They’re some of the older WR’s though.

dlswim
2 months ago

Women’s A cut in the 1500 dropping by 22 s is a huge change (2.31%), but understandable given that it was the first time that event was swam at the Olympics. On the other hand, the men’s 800 free dropped by only 0.56%.

Jamesabc
Reply to  dlswim
2 months ago

Men’s 800 is an extremely competitive event compared to Women’s 1500 which is arguably the least competitive event. It makes sense that the Men already had a competitive qualifying time and the women didn’t.

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
2 months ago

The US women *barely* would have had 2 reps in every event in 2021 with the Paris standards. Brown and Weitzel just snuck under the A cut in the 100 free.

John26
2 months ago

Given that 10men went sub 48 in the semis (without Chalmers, Dressel, Kolesnikov, Ceccon) in a post Olympic year, it’s entirely possible that you need a 48.0 to make it out of the prelims in Paris

confused
2 months ago

WTF