In 2017, Swimming Australia announced it would be adopting a radically different model to Olympic qualification, moving its sole Trials selection meet to sit just weeks out of the main event instead of several months.
Flash forward to 2022 and Swimming Australia is reportedly unveiling more fundamental changes under its new pre-Tokyo head coach Rohan Taylor, installing new selection procedures for both this year’s World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Taylor explained the mentality of the sweeping changes to News Corp this week, “We‘re working backwards from Paris. So, what does each athlete need to do to be at their best for Paris? Do they need to take their time and build up slowly? Or do they need to be racing a lot of competitions?
“That’s where the individuality of it comes in and that’s what we’re trying to do here.
“For some older swimmers who are looking to extend themselves to Paris, the slower approach may suit them but for the young up and comers, they‘ll all want to be at worlds so it gives opportunities to everyone.”
Translating this philosophy into action means that Talor is allowing Australia’s top-tier athletes to bypass this year’s World Championships if they choose to do so. That may mean we’ll be void of potential rematches to the tune of Americans Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky versus Kyle Chalmers and Ariarne Titmus in their respective events of the men’s 100m and women’s 400m freestyle.
Says Taylor of giving elites the option of forgoing Fukuoka, “[The athletes] will still have an opportunity to go to the Comm Games but they won’t have to rush back and try to push themselves.
“By doing this, we’ll open up opportunities for others to jump in and get positions but more importantly, we’ll get more racing opportunities under pressure.” (News Corp)
This year’s FINA World Championships are on the books for May 13th through May 29th in Fukuoka, Japan. The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England has the swimming competition slated for July 29th through August 3rd.
For the World Championships squad, Swimming Australia is holding its selection Trials in early April in Adelaide, South Australia, with the top two finishers from each event earning automatic qualification.
However, in the past, Australia has set its own qualification times which, in most cases, were faster than the FINA ‘A’ time standards. The nation wasn’t alone in this practice, as Great Britain and Japan are both notorious for setting super quick qualification times that, in a handful of events, would require been beating the national record to achieve.
For the 2022 FINA World Championships, Australia is instead sticking to the FINA ‘A’ qualifying times outright.
The selection policy for Birmingham, News Corp reports, includes automatically picking the Trials winner in each event.
However, additional slots, where 3 athletes are allowed per nation for the Commonwealth Games, will be filled via times produced at the World Championships, Sydney Open or the Monaco stop of the Mare Nostrum Series.
As such, Swimming Australia has laid out the following high-level racing schedule for the current Olympic cycle.
Australian world championships trials, Adelaide, April 4-9
World Championships, Fukuoka, Japan, May 22-29
Mare Nostrum series – Canet-en-Roussillon, France, June 11-12
Mare Nostrum series – Barcelona, Spain, June 15-16
Mare Nostrum series – Monaco, June 18-19 (doubling as Commonwealth Games trials)
Sydney Open – June 18-19 (doubling as Commonwealth Games trials)
Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, UK, July 28-August 8
Mare Nostrum series – Canet-en-Roussillon, France, June
Mare Nostrum series – Barcelona, Spain, June
Mare Nostrum series – Monaco, June
Australian world championships trials, September
World Championships, Doha, Qatar, November
Australian Olympic trials, June
Paris Olympics, July 26-August 11