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Swim Ireland has released an official statement confirming that their invite to Tokyo has been rescinded.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.
Why can’t they take 17 relays for the events affected. What would be wrong with that?
0.01 is a fine margin.. The finest margin in our sport but to say Swim Ireland and the Irish relay deserves a made up 17th spot is ridiculous. The Greek relay team obeyed the rules, swam the time required and deserve the 16th spot fair and square. Swim Ireland were fully aware that they had been bumped down to 17th and proceeded to celebrate and advertise that they had been invited knowing they weren’t inside the top 16. The shocking thing here isn’t FINA making a mistake it’s Swim Ireland assumed Greece would simply accept this error and let them take a place that rightfully belonged to them.
I feel like they will do something silly like have heat 1 of 3 with a relay swimming solo.
somehow i thought of a swim-off for the 16th spot for the specific relays, but that would be kinda unfair to the greek swimmers, so… i would be ok with 17 teams in this case, but FINA is FINA
Great news for the Greeks. This was obviously an error on FINA’s part. I wonder how they would restitute to the Irish and Swiss swimming federations.
Their only real option is to take 17 relays. I don’t know what the legality of that would be if it were challenged in court, but they can’t just leave the Greek relays out because FINA made an error.
I suspect they’ll just stick with the 16 and live with the Irish and Swiss federations being mad at them. Neither the Swiss nor the Irish hold much leverage within FINA, especially now that the unopposed elections are over. I mean, FINA runs out of Switzerland, but I don’t think the federation can do much to make their lives harder there.
I think you might be right. The 17 vs 16 might lead to a whole new hiccup.
FINA should hire SwimSwam or at least use your website for confirmation before sending out invitations. They would have avoided this mess if they did.