Felicity Passon Poised for Second Olympic Appearance With Seychelles in Paris

Africa’s smallest country, the island of Seychelles, is reportedly sending at least three athletes to the Paris Olympics this summer, and Felicity Passon appears in line for one of the two swimming spots up for grabs.

The secretary general of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (SOCGA) confirmed Seychelles will send one male and one female swimmer to Paris, noting that the nation will prioritize athletes on Olympic scholarships. Passon is one of five Seychellois athletes on Olympic scholarships along with sprinters Ned Azemia and Sharry Dodin, boxer Shain Boniface, and sailor Dean Mathiot.

World Aquatics modified its universality policy for the Paris Olympics earlier this month, removing the requirement for athletes to have competed at either the 2023 or 2024 World Aquatics Championships. Other changes included the “obligation” to send the athletes with the highest World Aquatics Points Table score, which is designed to mitigate frequent calls of domestic corruption in universality selection.

It would be the second Olympics for the 24-year-old Passon, who placed 38th in the 100-meter backstroke (1:04.66) and 26th in the 200 back (2:16.18) at the Tokyo edition of the Summer Games in 2021. She served as Seychelles’ flag bearer a few years ago.

Passon competed at the her fifth World Championships last summer in Fukuoka, Japan, placing 50th in the 100 back (1:05.35) and 41st in the 100 butterfly (1:03.15). Her times were about five seconds off the Olympic qualifying standards.

Passon recently wrapped up her collegiate career last year at San Jose State after previous stops at SMU (2017-19) and Arizona (2021-22). Even back in 2019, when was asked about her goals in swimming, she said her “main goal” was the Paris Olympics. That year, she became the first Seychellois swimmer to win an African title at the 2019 African Games.

She could be joined again by Simon Bachmann, a 25-year-old swimmer who attended the Tokyo Olympics with Passon in 2021. Bachmann contested two events at the 2024 World Championships in February, placing 34th in the 200 IM (2:07.85) and 31st in the 200 fly (2:03.31). Last year at Worlds in Fukuoka, he placed 41st in the 200 IM (2:08.50) and 31st in the 200 fly (2:03.57).

Seychelles sent five athletes in total to the last Olympics in Tokyo: Passon, Bachmann, Azemia, sailor Rodney Govinden, and judoka Nantenaina Finesse. Now with a population of about 100,000 people, Seychelles first began participating in the Olympics back in 1980.

Universality athletes continue to occupy a higher spot in the Olympic priority than swimmers with “B” standards under the 852 athlete quota for the Games. That is a 26-spot reduction from Tokyo.

Universality applications are due by June 24.

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About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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