Lithuania Stamps Olympic Ticket in Men’s 4×200 Free Relay; Thailand’s Dream Ends


Lithuania played the spoiler on Friday at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, scoring a historic finals swim (their second ever at this meet) in the men’s 800 free relay, qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games and bumping out the underdog Thai relay from the field.

Lithuania swam a 7:09.97, the 5th-best relay in prelims. That time also shattered the Lithuanian National Record of 7:21.04 that was swum at the 2022 European Championships.

The star of the relay is Danas Rapsys, who led off in 1:45.78, but the real story is the young trio who joined him. Tomas Navikonis, 20, split 1:47.38; Tomas Lukminas, 19, split 1:48.07; and Rokas Jazdauskas, 18, split 1:48.74.

Besides Rapsys, the National Record holder, Lithuania’s next four fastest performers ever came in 2023, including the three swimmers on this relay and Daniil Pancerevas (1:48.93 on a flat start).

They’ve achieved the progress different ways too. Navikonis has done so by training at Ohio State in the United States, Pancerevas has done it at Virginia Tech also in the United States, while Lukminas and Jazdauskas have done it while training at home in Lithuania. Jazdauskas is scheduled to follow his countrymates to the US next season at Auburn University.

Lithuania has only ever made one other finals relay at the long course World Championships, in 2005 when the men’s 400 free relay placed 4th.

By consequence, they bumped the precarious Thai relay out of the top 16. Thailand swam 7:39.28 at last year’s World Championships for 16th place, with Viatnam 17th in 7:44.33. Although if it weren’t the Lithuanians, it would have been someone else (Hungary, Poland, Mexico, and Bulgaria were all faster as well).

Still, the Thais still put up a good effort on Friday. They swam 7:31.92 for 14th place in prelims, which is more than seven seconds faster than they were at Worlds last year with the same four swimmers.

Vietnam dropped 12 seconds for their part.

Also of note, Israel was not bumped from the top 16 and so are qualified for the Games.

There have been ongoing negotiations between the Israeli federation and World Aquatics about an alternative pathway for Olympic relay qualifying given that many Israeli swimmers wouldn’t come to Qatar because of ongoing political tensions between the two nations.

Neither organization has reported any conclusions to those conversations, and there are still other Israeli relays on the bubble for Worlds qualifying, but for this race, at least, the need for an extra qualifying meet has been eliminated.


The top 3 finishing relays from the 2023 World Championships automatically qualified. The next 13 slots come from the best times among the combination of heats and finals at the 2023 and 2024 World Championships.

Because all of the finalists for 2024 Worlds are in the top 16 relay, the finals tonight won’t impact selections (though it may impact seedings). That means the field is set, pending countries declining their selections.

Their is no host country automatic allocation for the Olympics and France is already qualified thanks to their time from 2023 Worlds. Unlike in past years, there is no “free-for-all” best times in the qualifying period to worry about, so the field should be set at this point, with the exception of any scratches.

Country Time Round
1 Great Britain 6:59.08
2023 Worlds (Finals)
2 USA 7:00.02
2023 Worlds (Finals)
3 China 7:01.84
2024 Worlds (Finals)
4 South Korea 7:01.94
2024 Worlds (Finals)
5 Australia 7:02.13
2023 Worlds (Finals)
6 France 7:03.86
2023 Worlds (Finals)
7 Italy 7:03.95
2023 Worlds (Finals)
8 Germany 7:06.14
2023 Worlds (Finals)
9 Brazil 7:06.43
2023 Worlds (Finals)
10 Japan 7:08.70
2023 Worlds (Prelims)
11 Greece 7:09.10
2024 Worlds (Finals)
12 Israel 7:09.78
2023 Worlds (Prelims)
13 Lithuania 7:09.97
2024 Worlds (Prelims)
14 Canada 7:10.67
2023 Worlds (Prelims)
15 Spain 7:10.85
2023 Worlds (Prelims)
16 Switzerland 7:10.87
2023 Worlds (Prelims)
Alt 1 Hungary 7:11.57
2023 Worlds (Prelims)
Alt 2 Poland 7:14.98
2024 Worlds (Prelims)
Alt 3 Mexico 7:15.76
2024 Worlds (Prelims)
Alt 4 Bulgaria 7:21.06
2024 Worlds (Prelims)

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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