FINA has produced an initial list of countries that have been invited to swim relays at the Tokyo Olympics as first reported by Alex Pussieldi at BestSwimming.
The biggest and only change to the lists SwimSwam reported on Friday is the absence of Greece in both the men’s 400 medley relay and the 400 mixed medley relay. A week ago at the Acropolis Grand Prix, the Greeks swam a 3:34.61 in the men’s 400 medley relay, to move ahead of Ireland by .01 seconds into the last Wildcard position. Likewise, their mixed 400 medley relay swam a Greek record time of 3:45.38 to move into the third Wildcard position.
This means that Ireland, who a week ago were on the outside of the rankings, have qualified their first Olympic relays since 1972 as both their men’s 800 freestyle and 400 medley relays will be swimming in Tokyo.
Jon Rudd, the National Performance Director of Swim Ireland spoke about the significance of qualifying relays for Tokyo:
“This is a truly a historic moment for Irish swimming and for us all to be part of that, and for the Irish swimming community to have something huge to celebrate after such challenging times of late for our sport is so inspiring and uplifting. The athletes have done a remarkable job here in not getting one but two relays over the line, something we haven’t achieved for 49 years. The coaches and practitioners who work day in, day out, with these athletes must also receive our praise and our thanks. Now we prepare to do our nation proud in Tokyo – and give everyone a summer of excitement to look forward to.”
There has been no report from KOE, the Greek swimming federation, as to why the Greeks are not included in either the relays mentioned above. SwimSwam has reached out to both FINA and the KOE to ask about the relays, but haven’t heard a response.
Aside from Ireland, Switzerland is the other country that has benefited from Greece not being on the list. Switzerland was the first team “out” in the mixed 400 medley relay. They have now moved up to the fourth Wildcard position and will have a chance to race in Tokyo.
These lists are not final as teams have until June 11th to confirm participation in Tokyo.