The Mexican Swimming Federation announced last week that it has cancelled its 2016 Olympic Trials meet after news that the federation has been suspended by FINA.
The Federación Mexicana de Natación (FMN) made two announcements last week, one announcing the cancellation of its Trials and the next clarifying that they will support the country’s top swimmers in qualifying for the Olympic Games at other meets.
The FMN is expected to announce this week which swimmers it considers worthy of attending another meet for qualification, most likely a Pro Swim Series event in the United States. They also confirmed that two swimmers, Long Gutierrez and Lili Ibanez, both of whom train in the United States, have already secured their Olympic spots based on “FINA A” times swum at last summer’s U.S. National Championships in San Antonio.
The FMN’s clarification is in response to criticism that they weren’t supporting their swimmers heading into the summer, a criticism that the federation says it “rejects.”
The Mexican federation was suspended earlier this year by FINA for a failure to pay the $5 million fine associated with their withdraw from hosting duties of the 2017 World Championships. While FINA has refused comment on what exactly the suspension means or how long it’s supposed to last, Mexican athletes were informed that they would be competing under the FINA flag for the duration of the suspension rather than the Mexican flag. The first sight of that came two weeks ago where 12 Mexican athletes, including their Olympic-medal-caliber divers, competed under the FINA flag.
The IOC did reveal more information about exactly what the suspension means. A spokesperson for the organization says that the Mexican National Olympic Committee (as with all Olympic committees) is responsible for selecting and entering athletes at the Olympic Games, not the FMN, as is a part of the Olympic Charter. Therefore, spots in the Olympics are actually awarded to the Mexican Olympic Committee, and the suspension of the FMN won’t interfere with that selection process.