As confirmed by the official start lists for Tokyo 2020, Austria will send 5 men and 2 women to the Games for swimming.
Austrian Olympic Swimming Roster – Tokyo 2020
- Lena Grabowski – Women’s 100/200 backstroke
- Marlene Kahler – Women’s 400/800/1500 freestyle
- Bernhard Reitshammer – Men’s 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 200 IM
- Simon Bucher – Men’s 100 butterfly
- Felix Auboeck – Men’s 400/800/1500 freestyle
- Christopher Rothbauer – Men’s 200 breaststroke
- Heiko Gigler – Men’s 50 freestyle
Felix Auboeck is the only member of the 2020 Austrian Olympic swimming roster who won’t be making their Olympic debut this year. Unlike his teammates, Auboeck raced at the 2016 Olympics and competed in the men’s 200, 400, and 1500 freestyles with his top finish coming in the 200 where he placed 18th in a 1:47.24. He wound up 25th in the 400 with a 3:49.35 and 42nd in the 1500 with a 15:36.24.
Now that the 800 has been added to the Olympic program, Auboeck has decided to drop the 200 despite having swum under the 1:47.02 FINA A cut just months ago in Stockholm with a 1:45.70.
At the 2019 World Championships Auboeck entered to race the 200, 400, and 800 but ended up dropping the 200 and only raced the 400 and 800. Auboeck improved from 2016 to 2019, placing 13th overall in the 400 freestyle (3:48.78) and 24th in the 800 (8:02.26). While those swims were better placement-wise than his 2016 performances, Auboeck’s PBs currently sit at a 3:44.19 in the 400 freestyle from back in 2017 and a 7:46.72 in the 800 which he set earlier this year. Additionally, Auboeck holds a 15:01.18 PB in the 1500 which he hasn’t improved upon since 2016. All 3 of those PBs for Auboeck are current Austrian records.
Auboeck’s 4 fellow 2020 Olympians on the men’s side hold nationals records in at least one of their Olympics as well. Heiko Gigler will race the 50 freestyle for Austria in Tokyo, having recently notched a 22.05 Austrian record at the 2021 European Championships which got him within 0.04 of the 22.01 FINA A cut. Teammate Simon Bucher also notched a new Austrian record at Euros, hitting a 51.80 in the 100 butterfly, and is set to contest the event this summer.
In the 200 breast, Christopher Rothbauer holds the NR at a 2:09.88 which he swam at the 2020 Berlin Open. Rothbauer has been a bit slower than his national record time this year, holding a 2:11.42 season-best from the 2021 Settecolli Trophy.
Rounding out the men’s team is Bernhard Reitshammer who will race the 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, and 200 IM. Of those 3 events, Reitshammer holds the Austrian record in the 100 breaststroke at a 59.93 from earlier this season. His 100 back and 200 IM best times of 53.76 and 1:59.56, however, slightly trail Markus Rogan‘s Austrian records of 53.33 and 1:57.74, respectively.
At Gwangju 2019 Lena Grabowski raced the women’s 200 backstroke where she tied Bulgaria’s Gabriela Georgieva for 17th place with a 2:11.16. Since then, Grabowski has improved significantly in the event and has gotten her PB down to a 2:08.19 in the event. She swam that time for a 4th place finish at the 2021 European Swimming Championships and set a new Austrian record in the process.
While Grabowski stuck to the 200 backstroke, Marlene Kahler raced 4 events at Worlds back in 2019 in the form of the 200, 400, 800, and 1500 freestyle. She will have nearly the same event lineup in Tokyo as she races the 400, 800, and 1500. Kahler didn’t make it past prelims in any of her events in Gwangju and finish 14th in the 400 (4:10.49),22nd in the 800 (8:45.13), and 19th in the 1500 (16:32.00).
Since 2019, Kahler has made improvements in her times, having hit new PBs in both the 400 and 800 freestyle in February 2020 (4:09.73/8:32.51) along with a new Austrian record in the 1500 free of 16:21.52 in March 2021.
Austria’s most recent medalist at the 2008 Games when Mirna Jukic took bronze in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:07.34. 4 years before that Markus Rogan took silver in both the 100 and 200 backstroke at Athens 2004. While they haven’t collected any hardware since 2008, Austria’s Dinko Jukic came close when he earned 4th overall in the men’s 200 butterfly in 2012.