Latest Look At Men’s Relay Standings and Qualifying Headed Into Rio

Now that the 2016 European Championships are done-and-dusted we can take a final look at where the Olympic relay qualifying placements stand today (to the best of our knowledge). Below we analyze the men’s relay placements, while a separate article will review the women’s.

According to the FINA qualification system, nations have until June 10th in which to confirm the participation of their qualified relay team. As stated by FINA, if any of the qualified teams, both from the FINA World Championships Kazan 2015 or the remaining four teams with the fastest times in the FINA World Rankings of 31 May 2016, are not able to participate for any reason, the next fastest eligible team from the FINA World Rankings, in the qualifying events approved by FINA, from 1 March 2015 to 31 May 2016 in the respective event will be offered the relay team quota place.

As a refresher, here are the FINA qualification rules concerning relays:

  • There shall be a maximum of sixteen (16) qualified teams in each relay event, for a total of 96 relay teams.
  • Each NOC may enter only one (1) team in each relay event.
  • The first 12 placed teams in each relay event at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS) in 2015 shall automatically qualify for the relay events at the 2016 Olympic Games.
  • The remaining four (4) teams per relay event will be the teams with the fastest times in the FINA World Rankings as of 31 May 2016 achieved during the qualification period, in the qualifying events approved by FINA, from 1 March 2015 to 31 May 2016.
  • All swimmers entered in individual events can be used in relays, even if they have not achieved the OST / “B” Time for the corresponding stroke and distance of the relay in which they are entered.
    • Each NOC may enter additional swimmers for relays only (Relay-Only Swimmers), provided that they have achieved at least the OST / “B” Time for the corresponding stroke and distance of the relay in which they are entered.
    • If an NOC enters relay-only swimmers for a specific event, these swimmers must swim either in the heat or final of that relay event. Should a relay-only swimmer not compete, this will lead to the disqualification of the respective team in the final.

*Note, as reported earlier this week, there is an item up for FINA Bureau member vote that has to do with the penalty if a relay-only swimmer fails to compete, which you can read about here.

Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay

1. France 3:10.74* 9. Belgium 3:15.50*
2. Russia 3:11.19* 10. Great Britain 3:15.70*
3. Italy 3:12.53* 11. Germany 3:16.01*
4. Brazil 3:13.22* 11. USA 3:16.01*
5. Poland 3:14.12* 13. Australia 3:12.26
6. Japan 3:15.04* 14. Greece 3:14.42
7. China 3:15.41* 15. Romania 3:16.54
8. Canada 3:15.94* 16. Hungary 3:16.55

After all the action in London, the 13th spot held by Australia remained the same, as no non-automatically-qualified nation clocked a time beneath the 3:13 mark at the European Championships. However, Greece moved itself up a spot from 15th to 14th due to its 3:14.42 clocking which garnered the squad a 4th place finish at Euros.

Romania’s 3:16.54, hidden in prelims at the London Aquatics Centre, moved them into 15th place. Also now making an appearance win the rankings now is Hungary, who scored a time of 3:16.55 to place 5th at the European Championships. With that outing, they’ve now most likely secured a chance to challenge the world in the event at the 2016 Olympic Games.

The combination of the aforementioned results bumped Spain and the 3:16.77 mark they registered at their Olympic Trials back in March from Olympic qualifying. The squad tried to improve up on that standing in London, but instead added time and finished in 3:17.21.

There’s still a lot of speculation that Great Britain won’t swim a 400 free relay. Spain would be the next team up for the spot if the Brits do wind up dropping out.


1. Great Britain 7:04.33* 9. Spain 7:11.39*
2. USA 7:04.75* 10. Japan 7:11.59*
3. Australia 7:05.34* 11. France 7:12.68*
4. Russia 7:06.89* 12. Denmark 7:13.72*
5. Germany 7:09.01* 13. Italy 7:08.30
6. Belgium 7:09.64* 14. Brazil 7:11.15
7. Netherlands 7:09.75* 15. Hungary 7:12.46
8. Poland 7:10.20* 16. South Africa 7:12.96

The the nations occupying the final 4 slots of the men’s 4×200 free relay remain the same as when we performed this analysis in late April, however, their placements have now been rearranged. Entering the European Championships, the order looked as below:

13th – Brazil 7:11.15
14th – South Africa 7:12.96
15th – Italy 7:13.77
16th – Hungary 7:16.56

As such, Italy greatly improved upon its performance from last year’s World Championships to now sit in the 13th qualifying position by placement, but the 5th-ranked time overall. Brazil remains in the competitive field, as does Hungary, but the latter dropped a huge 4 seconds with its London performance. South African now stands as the final qualifying team with the 7:12.96 it clocked at a time trial during the country’s Olympic Trials.

Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay

1. USA 3:29.93* 9. Italy 3:34.59*
2. Australia 3:30.08* 10.Brazil 3:34.73*
3. France 3:30.50* 11. China 3:35.21*
4. Great Britain 3:30.67* 12. Lithuania 3:34.30*
5. Russia 3:30.90* 13. South Africa 3:33.80
6. Japan 3:31.10* 14. Hungary 3:34.12
7. Germany 3:32.16* 15. Canada 3:34.40
8. Poland 3:34.34* 16. Greece 3:34.41

The last time we checked in on these relays, about a month ago, Greece was the first team on the outside looking in, with Hungary holding the fourth and final Olympic invite spot.

But both nations came through clutch in their last major qualifying meet this week, cutting several seconds off their best times to make their Rio berths more secure.

Hungary earned bronze at Euros, going 3:34.12. That bumps them from the fourth and final invite spot up to the second slot. Hungary was 3:36.74 in a time trial swim previously.

Greece, meanwhile, dropped from a 3:37.86 at last summer’s World Championships to a 3:34.41 and a fourth-place finish at Euros. That moves them into the fourth Olympic invite slot, bumping out Belarus.

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Billy Bob

Why do Australia not have a faster 4×100 free team?


Will Australia or GB will swim 4×100 free? I think not.

Eric Lahmy

Because they wait the Rio final to go faster and win the race.

bobo gigi

Braden or Loretta, maybe you could use my 2 posts about all the LCM world record videos (I’ve found all records, not easy for a few of them, in the best quality possible) to make an article with a headline like: “Watch all the current long course world records’ race videos!” I’m pretty sure it could interest a lot of people to have in one page all these records in videos. All my links here Do you know which one is the oldest? On the men’s side it’s the 400 IM on August 10, 2008. On the women’s side it’s the 100 back on July 28, 2009. You could ask swimswamers which one do you think will have the… Read more »


What about the videos of the textile world record swims, in addition to the ones on the list, do you have the links?


For me it’s men’s 400 IM and 800 free and women’s 200 fly of course 2:01.89 (I think) is untouchable.


Also the men’s 4×200 free is difficult to fall.


It’ll be untouchable unless someone is gutsy enough to go out under 58 seconds in the first 100. I dream that sjostrom or vollmer will try the 200 fly.


Small Prediction for Finalists based on the trials times + expected from USA
4×100 medley
USA, Australia, China, Rus, GBR, Brazil, JPN and France

4×100 free
USA, Australia, France, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan, Canada, Italy can get it if they get the full team

4×200 free
USA, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Australia, GBR, Russia then I am curious About if France, Japan, Brazil, Germany can cause a upset and get into top 8.


It doesn’t look too good for France as many of its stars are getting old and younger swimmers are not yet of a similar caliber.


Greece will be a finalist at th 4×100 free. 3:14.42 ranks them 7th (counting Australia) and has some room for improvement. These are the splits I think they ‘ll go in Rio (the first times are from London).
Meladinis 49.60-49.20, Katrantzis 48.65-48.65, Christou 48.13-48.00, Gkolomeev 48.04-47.50, total 3:14.42-3:13.35


Canada was 3:14:32 at pan am so that would rank Greece as 8th now


And I don’t expect us to have the same disaster level at Rio


Germany is at least stronger than Italy and Poland in the 4×200 relay. Normally, I would also put them in the 4×100 medley, but I am not sure who I would drop off your list.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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