How Tough are the 2020 Olympic Trials Cuts?

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials cuts were released on Thursday (view them here). They are faster than the 2016 cuts in every single event. But how tough are they? Should we expect a smaller meet than in the past or will America’s swimmers rise to this challenge? First we need to establish a base line for what a typical trials looks like.

In 2016 there were an average of 129 women on the psych sheet in each event with an average of 120 swimmers actually putting up a time in prelims. This was down from 2012 when an average of 141 women were entered in each event with 132 actually swimming.

The men’s numbers were similar. In 2016 an average of 124 men per event were on the psych sheet with an average of 113 actually swimming in prelims. This was also down from 2012 where there were 136 men per event entered with 126 men per event swimming prelims.

Women

2016     2012    
Actually Swam Qualified % That Swam Actually Swam Qualified % That Swam
50 Free 178 186 96% 154 164 94%
100 Free 100 105 95% 131 136 96%
200 Free 105 119 88% 99 115 86%
400 Free 101 109 93% 113 117 97%
800 Free 80 89 90% 65 71 92%
100 Back 155 168 92% 162 167 97%
200 Back 133 143 93% 186 196 95%
100 Breast 123 125 98% 152 153 99%
200 Breast 123 125 98% 118 133 89%
100 Fly 134 141 95% 161 167 96%
200 Fly 95 103 92% 130 144 90%
200 IM 110 132 83% 113 129 88%
400 IM 119 138 86% 125 136 92%

Men

2016     2012    
Actually Swam Qualified % That Swam Actually Swam Qualified % That Swam
50 Free 165 177 93% 167 179 93%
100 Free 88 98 90% 165 176 94%
200 Free 105 115 91% 124 136 91%
400 Free 103 112 92% 111 123 90%
1500 Free 97 101 96% 91 96 95%
100 Back 183 192 95% 127 133 95%
200 Back 109 123 89% 107 113 95%
100 Breast 135 147 92% 139 144 97%
200 Breast 98 106 92% 129 134 96%
100 Fly 133 141 94% 122 130 94%
200 Fly 81 87 93% 134 145 92%
200 IM 89 107 83% 116 133 87%
400 IM 92 100 92% 109 120 91%

The qualification period hasn’t started yet- it opens November 28th- so we can’t look at how many swimmers have qualified so far. We can look at how the new cuts would have limited older fields of swimmers.

How Many People Had Each Cut on the Psych Sheet

Women

2020 Cut   2016 Cut  
2012 Trials 2016 Trials 2012 Trials 2016 Trials
50 Free 61 96 90 186
100 Free 44 80 52 105
200 Free 59 74 73 119
400 Free 60 77 73 109
800 Free 50 68 66 89
100 Back 44 74 82 168
200 Back 33 60 94 143
100 Breast 65 88 84 125
200 Breast 53 73 92 125
100 Fly 45 78 67 141
200 Fly 60 85 71 103
200 IM 41 68 85 132
400 IM 67 65 111 138

Men

2020 Cut   2016 Cut  
2012 Trials 2016 Trials 2012 Trials 2016 Trials
50 Free 64 120 94 177
100 Free 47 74 63 98
200 Free 35 56 66 115
400 Free 51 70 83 112
1500 Free 50 78 77 101
100 Back 40 85 80 192
200 Back 38 85 60 123
100 Breast 43 93 55 147
200 Breast 52 77 56 106
100 Fly 37 58 72 141
200 Fly 31 57 53 87
200 IM 37 60 60 107
400 IM 48 63 59 100

In the 2012 Trials qualification period an average of 80 women and 68 men achieved the 2016 Trials cut. For 2016, 129 women and 124 men per event acually qualified.

Looking at the 2020 cuts, the women in 2016 were a bit behind their 2012 pace with and average of 76 women per achieving the 2020 cut during 2016 Trials qualification. The men were ahead of their 2012 pace with 75 men per event making the 2020 cut for the 2016 Trials.

This would indicate the 2020 cuts are approximately no more or less difficult than they were in the past for top swimmers. The field as a whole is about in line relative to the cuts with where it was in the past. This would indicate that USA Swimming is happy with the size that Trials have been in the past and are looking to maintain the meet as is. In 2016 that meant 822 women and 915 men who appeared on the psych sheet. In 2012 there were 902 women and 930 men. 800-950 men and women is probably a reasonable expectation for 2020 trials.

 

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USA

Pretty tough.

pianoback

I wonder if they think that the shorter qualifying period will impact the number of swimmers. Sorry if you’ve already done this, but is there any data on how many swimmers would not have been able to participate in previous trials if the shorter period had been in effect?

Horninco

I thought they wanted to reduce the number of contestants?

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