Greeks Move Into Final Olympic Spot in 400 Medley Relay by .01 Over the Irish

Acropolis Grand Prix

  • Olympic Aquatic Center, Athens, Greece
  • May 28-30, 2021
  • Long Course Meters (50m)
  • Relay Results

The Greek men’s 400 medley relay swam a time trial tonight at the Acropolis Grand Prix in Athens, bumping Ireland out of the fourth and final Olympic Wildcard position by .01 seconds.

The qualification period for relays runs through May 31, giving countries only a few days to claim a Wildcard spot or to improve their qualification time.

Prior to today, the Greek’s best time was a 3:37.06 swum at last week’s European Championships. Apostolos Christou, Konstadinos Meretsolias, Andreas Vazaios, and Kristian Gkolomeev teamed up today to swim 3:34.61. Last week’s relay featured the same backstroke and breaststroke legs; Stefanos Dimitriadis swam the butterfly leg with Vazaios pulling anchor duty on freestyle. Another week of rest along with the switch of Vazaios to fly and Gkolomeev to free made the difference for the Greeks.

The relay also came within .20 seconds of the Greek record of 3:34.41 set four years ago at the European Championships. 

In the competition for the four Olympic Wildcard spots, the success of the Greeks today means that the Irish, who were eyeing a birth in Tokyo only a few days ago, are now on the outside looking in. 

Nikos Xylouris, the head of Greek Swimming understands that things can change quickly, “Let us be patient for a few more days. Let’s keep the tones low. Until Sunday, other countries will try to exhaust the margins to be at the Olympics. Until then we will hope and wait.”

After today’s results, the standings for the men’s 400 medley relay are as follows:

Rank Country Time
Worlds #1 Great Britain 3:28.10
Worlds #2 United States 3:28.45
Worlds #3 Russia 3:28.81
Worlds #4 Japan 3:30.35
Worlds #5 Australia 3:30.42
Worlds #6 Brazil 3:30.86
Worlds #7 China 3:31.61
Worlds #8 Germany 3:32.86
Worlds #9 Belarus 3:34.56
Worlds #10 Canada 3:34.79
Worlds #11 Lithuania 3:34.88
Worlds #12 Hungary 3:35.11
Wildcard #1 Italy 3:29.93
Wildcard #2 France 3:32.50
Wildcard #3 Poland 3:32.82
Wildcard #4 Greece 3:34.61
Out #1 Ireland 3:34.62
Out #2 Sweden 3:36.16
Out #3 South Korea 3:36.53
Out #4 Austria 3:36.62

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1 year ago

The Greek team does /seem/ like it’d be solidly faster than Ireland overall. Shane Ryan hasn’t been great lately, so Christou mostly makes up for Greene’s breaststroke advantage. Then Hyland and Vazaios are similar, though it feels like Vazaios should have a better time given how good he is in a short course 200. And then Gkolomeev seems like he’d blow past the Irish time on the anchor; interested to see the splits and what the Greeks can do at the Olympics. Shame they don’t have a better breaststroker.

Swimming supporter
Reply to  Reid
1 year ago

Where are Greece splits – this is a 3sec improvement on last week? – Relays should be qualified through international events – like World/Europeans/Aisan…… games not a time trial at a national gala – that is fine for an individual to a achieve a time – but for relays – where there is a limited number of teams – how is governance achieved and ensure fairness?

Reply to  Swimming supporter
1 year ago

You have a point, but Christou is a sub 53 on backstroke, Gkolomeev is a sub 48 on freestyle, Vazaios is an established flyer and the breastroker is on the minute. No suspicions here for me

Swimmjng Supporter
Reply to  Stam
1 year ago

From standing start based on FINA rankings for Olympic qualifying time Irish 4 are faster.
Greece would be 3:35.71, Ireland 3:35.19. That includes 0.96sec advantage for Cristou. – but Greene offsets this with lots to spare. But that is not to say Greece could not have achieved that time – but my point is that to ensure fatness teams should compete against each other at the same event to ensure all conditions are the same.

1 year ago

This sport can be cruel….0.01seconds over 400m!!!

Tommy Schmitt
1 year ago

Watch out for #TeamUzbekistan to throw down a monster time of 3.34.60 this weekend !

Reply to  Tommy Schmitt
1 year ago

Then SA a 3:34:59

Reply to  Tommy Schmitt
1 year ago

They might even get wet for that race!

1 year ago

Poor Irish

1 year ago

Hungary making it in with a 3:35 irritated me until I realized that Milak is getting a chance at a sub-50 fly split.

Reply to  Deepblue
1 year ago

But he is not gonna swim in the semis, the hungarian national coach is not mastermind about relay swims at all. He has only one good result with relays, in 2017 with 4*100 free semifinal. Nearly missing the 4*200 free with men with swimmer like Milak, Kozma & Németh. Only the forth member of the team is “terrible”, but Hungary failed nearly terrible at every relay event in Budapest last week for example. The exchange times our one the worst in the World as well.

Reply to  Deepblue
1 year ago

These rules have been in effect since at least 2011 going into 2012, if not longer so they are not new rules or surprises. I do not know the qualifying procedures for the 2008 Olympics but there were only 16 relays per event at those games as well. The last Olympics with more than 16 relays were the 2000 Olympics.