The drama surrounding the Olympic Relay qualifying teams continues.
Last week at the Acropolis Grand Prix, Greece swam times that put both their men’s 400 medley relay and their 400 mixed medley relay in Wildcard positions at the end of the qualifying period. When FINA released the list of qualifying relays on Friday, Greece was absent from both relays.
Ireland, who were bumped by .01 seconds from the men’s 400 medley relay rankings, were informed that they had qualified their relays for Tokyo and would have relays at the Olympics for the first time since 1972.
Concurrently, in lieu of Greece’s absence in the 400 mixed medley relay, Switzerland appeared on the list as the fourth and final Wildcard team.
Yesterday, Greece was back in the rankings as reported by Alex Pussieldi at BestSwimming. Ireland and Switzerland, who were on the initial list last week, are now in a non-qualifying position.
The Hellenic Swimming Federation was unsure of why their relays were not initially invited as they had followed all the proper procedures to certify both the Acropolis Grand Prix and their results with FINA.
The Greek swimmers and coaches faced a turbulent past few days with many not sleeping Saturday night after the news of the initial non-qualification. Nikolaos Xylouris, manager of the HSF, knew that they had done everything the correct way and was confident that there was an error on the part of FINA.
Upon the correction, Xylouris stated, “Obviously it is a big day for Greece, for Hellenic Swimming Federation, for our swimmers and their coaches because we have 3 relays qualified for the Olympics. A lot of great swimming countries didn’t qualify for the relays and this is one more reason that makes us proud of what our swimmers achieved.”
Swim Ireland has released an official statement confirming that their invite to Tokyo has been rescinded. Their plan is to challenge FINA’s decision and are exploring “all options.”
The Swiss Swimming Federation has indicated their displeasure with the process and “demand complete clarification and full transparency” in regard to the situation.
In an email to SwimSwam, FINA stated that they are “looking into the matter internally.”
16 teams in reach relay qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The top 12 teams from prelims at the 2019 FINA World Championships have automatically qualified for Tokyo. The final four spots go to the next fastest teams during the qualification period, which ran through May 31, 2021. Teams must confirm relay participation by this Friday, June 11.