At Least 3 Swimmers Entered in Olympics Don’t Meet FINA Qualifications

Update: since original posting, our readers have identified a 3rd swimmer that shouldn’t qualify by the same standards as below – 13-year old Ana Dascal from Romania. Original article is below.

The initial round of entry lists for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games had several errors, including the omission of medal contender Alia Atkinson (which has already been corrected).

The ones that swimmers worldwide, already largely dissatisfied with the Universality invite system, will take the most exception to, however, is that at least two swimmers who were entered as Universality swimmers don’t meet the standards for Universality.

Ei Ei Thet from Myanmar and Naomy Hope Grand Pierre from Haiti were both entered under the FINA and IOC policies to encourage participation in the Olympics from a greater number of countries who are well outside of the medals tables. However, neither of them meet one specific standard from the FINA-released qualifications for universality swimmers:

Only athletes who have participated in the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan in 2015 and who are approved by FINA to compete are eligible for Universality Places.

Neither Thet nor Grand Pierre raced at last year’s World Championships (complete results from which are here), which means that they shouldn’t be eligible to compete at this year’s Olympic Games.

When contacted this morning about the discrepancy, FINA’s explanation is that “these entries were made through the IOC Wild Card.”

A further search on the IOC Wild Card program turned up empty, aside from “Wild Card” being used as a colloquial description of the previously-described Universality program, which, again, these two swimmers didn’t meet the standards to qualify for.

We have reached out to the IOC to see if there is some alternative “wild card” program, aside from Universality, that these two swimmers might have been selected under.

At last year’s World Championships, FINA accepted several entries from Mexico with falsified entry times from swimmers who otherwise shouldn’t have been eligible for the meet. While FINA brushed aside that issue, the failure to follow the rules for the Olympics could result in a bigger headache for the world governing body for swimming.

Unlike the World Championships, which has no cap on “total swimmers,” the Olympics will only take 900 swimmers from A qualifiers, relay only swimmers, Universality swimmers (maximum 1 male and 1 female per country), and then B qualifiers, in that order (read more about the qualification system here). What this means is that by allowing ineligible entries, FINA has bumped other swimmers who should have qualified for the Olympics, which could be a legally actionable offense for swimmers with “B” standards who didn’t earn invites to the Olympics.

We are still seeking clarity as to whether there is truly some alternative route by which these swimmers could have qualified, beyond the universality selection processes, and will provide updates to our readers as they become available.

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Attila the Hunt

I hope Swimswam keep pursuing this matter. It could turn out to be a simple but idiotic mistake, or it could be a case of corruption.

Attila the Hunt

I found another name:
Fatema Almahmeed BRN Bahrain

She is entered in 50 free, but no registered time and did not swim in Kazan.

This is becoming a complete farce.

Concerned Samoan

Selection Procedures are only held to high standards in First World Nations. Unfortunately due to lack of tougher standards other nations who are granted UP slots or wild cards can send whomever they wish. Using personal agenda’s to send family members. Case in Point Samoa chose to send Brandon Schuster for Samoa (he will be swimming the 200 Free) when it is a fact that the swimmer who holds the national record in this swim was not even nominated to be considered for a UP slot. Why? Brandon Schuster is the National Samoa Swim Coaches Son. This is long standing practice in Samoa. So to me selections for Games Slots when given over to the developing nations have the tendencies… Read more »


Why is this a farce? Shouldn’t we be happy that other countries get to compete in the Olympics?

Attila the Hunt

Please read the article.


No we shouldn’t be happy. Host a development games for smaller countries. This is about the best of the best competing. Having swimmers like Eric the Eel dilute this event. FINA and the IOC are a law unto themselves.
Good on swimswam for pointing out the inconsistencies.


The Olympic Games are about more than just getting the best athletes, it’s also about being inclusive and having good sportsmanship. If you have a problem with Eric the Eel competing, you’re a poor sport. Do you also want there to be 20 Americans in each event? That would provide better competition. Also would you like Olympic trial cuts to be considerably faster so that only 25 people qualify for each event? Why have kids come if they won’t make the team? Oh yeah, development of the sport.

Attila the Hunt

Inclusivity and universality are not the problem here.
The problem is that FINA has violated it’s own rule by sending out invites to swimmers who have not met the criteria.
By giving out invites to people who don’t deserve it, FINA has literally stolen the chance to swim at the Olympics of (hundreds) others who have met the criteria (I have noticed many may swimmers from smaller countries who should have gotten either FINA B or universality invites. Many countries do not even get invite AT ALL)

Concerned Samoan

Best of the Best? Yes and there are nations out there that send Who ever they feel based not on times but on self servitude. So if these less than competitive nations are going to be granted invites to be included it should be ensured that the nations given such invites have policies set in place that are fair and open to all. With Publically Set forth Selection Policies.

Concerned Samoan

It is not about not being happy for other countries it is about being fair and having true set selection policies that allow for non corrupt and true sportsmen like participation

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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