More Questions Answered About Wave I Qualifiers to Wave II Trials

With Wave I of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials set to kick off on Friday, there has been increasing interest in the new two-meet wrinkles, especially around those athletes who qualify forward to the Wave II meet.

The Olympic selection meet was split to allow for smaller athlete fields amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Wave I will feature athletes who made the original Olympic Trials qualifying times, with the top 2 finishers in each event moving on to the Wave II meet the following week. Athletes who hit a new set of tougher qualifying times are locked into the Wave II meet already.

Below, we’ve tried to aggregate many of the questions that people have been asking about these qualifiers. If you have more, leave them in the comments, and we’ll do our best to get them answered.

Q1: Can the top 2 finishers from the Wave I meet stay in Omaha between meets?

A1: Yes, they and their coaches can stay or go home, whatever they like. In either scenario, their travel or lodging arrangements and costs are their own responsibility, be that through personal funding, team funding, or in some cases possible LSC funding

Q2: Will USA Swimming support the cost of these swimmers to stay and compete again?

Q2: USA Swimming won’t charge those athletes who finish top 2 in the Wave I meet an entry fee for the Wave II meet. That means the $40 per event fee will be waived.

In terms of hotels or travel to attend the Wave II meet, athletes and coaches are fully responsible for those costs and arrangements. As of right now, there does still appear to be some hotel rooms available in Omaha and surrounding areas for most of the meet, even with the allotted 100% capacity for the College World Series that overlaps the last weekend of the meet. You’ll pay up if you want to stay in the hotels right by the CHI Health Center, but you should be able to get a reasonable hotel rate elsewhere in town, for now.

Q3: Are the Top 2 finishers from Wave I required to race in Wave II?

There doesn’t appear to be any obligation to do so. But…

Q4: If a top 2 finisher from Wave I declines to race in Wave II, can the 3rd place finisher from Wave I take their spot?


Q5: Can the top 2 finishers from Wave I only race the event where they were top 2 in Wave II?

No, once they qualify for Wave II, swimmers can race any events there where they have the “original” cuts (aka the Wave I cut). So, if a swimmer were to finish top 2 in an event on Friday evening of Wave I and wanted to skip the rest of the meet and save their energy for Wave II, they could do that.

Q6: Are there A and B finals at the Wave I meet?

Yes, there is an A final (top 8 finishers from prelims) and B final (9-16 finishers from prelims) at the Wave I meet, but the top 2 finishers from the A final only will be eligible to advance – no matter how fast the B final winners go.

Q7: Will Awards be given for Wave I of the meet?

No, awards will be given for top 8 at the Wave II meet, but no awards will be given at the Wave I meet.

Q8: Can a swimmer who is qualified for Wave II also race at Wave I?

No. The rule to account for this and many similar questions is this: any swimmer qualified for Wave II has only one choice, which is to swim at the Wave II meet. At the Wave II meet, they can swim any events in which they have at least the Wave I qualifying standard.

Q9: Is it too late to enter the Wave I meet?

Yes, the entry deadline was 11:00AM Central Time on May 31, 2021. The Wave II entry deadline is June 8th at 11AM Central Time. Around 225 qualified Wave I swimmers chose not to enter the meet.

Q10: What if I swim a Wave II cut at the Wave I meet?

This won’t qualify you for the Wave II meet, unless you also finished top 2. Finishing top 2 is the only way to advance from the Wave I meet to the Wave II meet.


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little fishy
1 year ago

so say i finish top two in 100 free and i advance to wave II, now what? does that mean i’ve made the olympic team?

1 year ago

Why didn’t they just split it into a women’s meet and a men’s meet to avoid all the complications with wave one and wave two. Although I suppose TV rights had something to do with it

Peter Hero
1 year ago

Absolute BS that USA swimming doesn’t help Wave 1 athletes in any way at all. Organizing Wave 2 during World Series so the hotel prices are almost $800-1100/night at the end of Wave 2. How are these athletes supposed to stay there for 2.5-3 weeks without any financial help from their federation?

Texas swims in a short pool
1 year ago

Kinda sad that USA swimming won’t cover the costs for those who finish top 2 to stay for wave 2.

Reply to  Texas swims in a short pool
1 year ago

I mean that’s potentially a hotel for up to two weeks for those who might only swim an event on day 7 of Wave II. Would be really nice if USA swimming could do that but not shocked they’re not going to pay for all that.

Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

We all realize that the Wave I thing is just for show, right? So that if someone sues they can go to court and defend that they didn’t rob anyone of their right to qualify for the Olympics as originally described?

Nobody from Wave I is going to make the Olympic Team. Sure it would be nice if the USOC did more for those who qualified forward, but that would be potentially really expensive without providing any material benefit to the Wave II meet.

I know, I know, “but the experience.” But you’re swimming with the bigboys and biggirls now. Your experience is no longer the only consideration. It matters, but it doesn’t necessarily trump everything else.

Reply to  Texas swims in a short pool
1 year ago

As I mentioned in another thread, the hotels are gouged during Trials in Omaha. It’s not just a swimmer that has expenses. It’s their coach, and if the swimmer is a minor, anyone additional that traveled with them.

1 year ago
1 year ago

Very against not having spots move down if a top two finisher can’t make it. It would be great if others could have the opportunity to swim at Wave 2

Last edited 1 year ago by LBJ
1 year ago

Will swimmers who finish in the top 2 of Wave I have access to pool time during the week in between the waves?

1 year ago

So why can’t the third place finisher go if the second place doesn’t? Seems pretty dumb to me.

Anything he swims
Reply to  Hswimmer
1 year ago

100%. Not having spots roll down means less medal count. One of those swimmers could medal. Very stupid of USA swimming, but then again, USA has no universal healthcare so it’s a match!

Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
Reply to  Anything he swims
1 year ago

If any third place finisher at Wave I Trials could have medaled at the Olympics, I will eat my goggles

Reply to  Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
1 year ago

I mean if it’s an event like 1/200 free I’d be pissed. Can drop a good bit in 2 free and make a relay if you hit the double taper right

Reply to  Hswimmer
1 year ago

They set the cuts in such a way that no Wave I qualifier would have even made a final for several iterations of the meet. You can always say it could happen. But extremely unlikely to. Like really extremely unlikely to. And that is to final not even to make the team. I know people were unhappy but at the time the decision had to be made, they felt they had to reduce the size of the meet and they decided to split the meet instead of just tell people who had made a cut that they were no longer qualified. That is what Canada did. I actually think trials are too big. I would advocate the Wave II cuts… Read more »

Reply to  Anything he swims
1 year ago

I would bet my car nobody from wave I is making the Olympic team.

Reply to  JimSwim22
1 year ago

Exactly not even in their wildest dreams but they could in 2024 and that’s why they are swimming in Omaha for big meet experience

Fresh Cuts
Reply to  Anything he swims
1 year ago

As someone with Universal Healthcare, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Canada’s healthcare sucks. I cross the border everytime I have anything even mildly serious.

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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