A source, who has asked to remain nameless given their connection to the Mexican Swimming Federation, has pointed out certain glaring irregularities in the country’s qualifying times for the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia.
Of Mexico’s 36 individual entries to the meet, 32 of them are within .15 seconds of either the FINA “A” or FINA “B” qualifying standards. In many cases, the swims hit the qualifying standard exactly, and in every case where Mexico has multiple entries, the swimmer’s qualifying times are very tightly grouped.
To make the times more suspicious, a large portion of them are significantly faster than the what are believed to be the Mexican National Records, though oddly all of the National Records listings on the federations websites are now broken.
As an example, the fastest time we can find for any Mexican 50 freestyler ever is a 22.77 by Antonio Cisneros in 2009. In the men’s 50 free, Alejandro Escudero is entered with a 22.24, which also happens to be .01 seconds faster than the FINA “A” standard.
That event is even more irregular, as Mexico has two entries, and the second, Lorenzo Loria, is entered with a 23.63 that is slower than the “B” standard.
To enter two swimmers in an event at Worlds, they must both be under the “A” standard. To enter one swimmer in an event, that swimmer must be under the “B” standard.
In almost every case where Mexico had a swimmer under the “A” standard, they have two entered at faster than the “A” standard.
Loria is also entered in the 100 free in 49.38 (“A” standard of 49.39), as is Daniel Ramirez Carranza. Both swimmers being .01 seconds faster than the “A” standard allows Mexico to swim both.
As another example, in the women’s 100 fly, Sharo Rodriguez was entered with a 59.12, and Laura Arroyo was entered with a 59.14. The FINA “A” standard is 59.16. The pair swam 1:02.97 and 1:03.18, respectively, in prelims.
At Mexico’s National Championships, Rodriguez swam a 1:02.36, and Arroyo swam 1:02.52. They were 4th and 5th, respectively, and the recognized National Record at that meet was 1:00.16 (a full second slower than the times that both were entered with).
These coincidences are the rule, not the exception.
Compounding the problem is that few of the Mexican swimmers have been able to support their times – of 14 individual swims through three days, only 1 has beaten a seed time, according to the website scmsom.se.
And that adds another wrinkle to this story. Upon searching through a majority of the entry times, we were unable to verify a single one at any meet, especially those allowed by FINA for World Championship qualifying. We couldn’t find any of the entry times in FINA’s official database, either, or at the Mexican National Championships.
There was, however, one spot where we were able to verify the times: On the website scmsom.se.
Those times which we were able to match to those records aren’t listed with any date, nor a location of the swim, which is different than the vast majority of the records on the well-maintained databases. That includes Rodriguez’s 100 fly.
The connection here is that the owner and organizer of that website, Christer Magnusson, is a member of the FINA Technical Swimming Committee (though that website appears to be outside of his official duties with FINA).
Update Thursday morning: Magnusson says that he pulled the records from results databases and start lists, working on the assumption that all of those times were correct. He says that this is all he knows about the matter.
In general, Mexico sent their best swimmers to the Pan American Games in Toronto in July, not these World Championships, which makes it that much more suspicious that this group has earned the requisite number of “A” and “B” times to swim in Kazan.
Neither FINA nor the Mexican Swimming Federation have made a comment yet, including responding a request to verify the meet’s where the entry times were recorded, though it is early in the morning in Kazan.
The four exceptions to the .15 second rule above, which also carry some irregularities:
- Loria’s 50 free, discussed above
- Montserratt Ortuno, 8:44.05 in the women’s 800 free (10.00 seconds under the FINA “A” standard
- Montserratt Ortuno, 16:44.88 in the women’s 1500 free (“B” standard is 17:08.39)
- Daniel Ramirez Carranza, 26.09 in the men’s 50 back (“B” standard is 26.41)
Mexico faced controversy at the Pan Am Games as well, where a swimmer claims they threatened to send her home from the meet for refusing to wear a certain brand of suit. The Federation never responded to those accusations.