2023 WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- July 23 to 30, 2023
- Fukuoka, Japan
- Marine Messe Fukuoka
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- Entry Book
- Live Results (Omega)
World records and gold medals were not the only things up for grabs in Fukuoka last week. Three qualification spots for the 2024 Paris Games in every Olympic relay as well as in the open water (marathon swimming) 10K, were allocated based on the results of the past fortnight.
The women’s and men’s 4×100 freestyle relay, 4×200 freestyle relay, and 4×100 medley relay, as well as the mixed 4×100 medley relay, all awarded three spots for the Games (the mixed 4×100 free relay is not an Olympic event). Finishing in the top three of any of the relays scheduled to be contested at the Olympics earns the country a berth in that event.
While swimmers, commentators, and media go back and forth between who sits atop the medal table, the United States or Australia, no one can disagree that they equally share the accolade of being the only countries to have qualified all of their relays for the 2024 Paris Summer Games.
|Women’s 4×100 Free Relay: 1st – 3:27.96 WR||Women’s 4×100 Free Relay: 2nd – 3:31.93|
|Women’s 4×200 Free Relay: 1st – 7:37.50 WR||Women’s 4×200 Free Relay: 2nd – 7:41.38|
|Women’s 4×100 Medley Relay: 2nd – 3:53.37||Women’s 4×100 Medley Relay: 1st – 3:52.08|
|Men’s 4×100 Free Relay: 1st – 3:10.49||Men’s 4×100 Free Relay: 3rd – 3:10.81|
|Men’s 4×200 Free Relay: 3rd – 7:02.13||Men’s 4×200 Free Relay: 2nd – 7:00.02|
|Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay: 3rd – 3:29.62||Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay: 1st – 3:27.20|
|Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay: 2nd – 3:39.03||Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay: 3rd – 3:40.19|
While the gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded with these relays are obviously important, earning that guaranteed relay berth maybe be of more paramount importance, especially with the qualification system for the remaining relay berths.
Per the qualification system, which can be found in its entirety here, there will be a maximum of 16 qualified teams in each relay event.
The first three teams to qualify come directly from Fukuoka, while the remaining 13 teams will be selected by using the fastest times combined between the 2023 Worlds and the 2024 World Championships in Doha. Should the last qualifying spot result in a tie, a swim-off would occur to determine the final invitation.
The Australian and American squads fully qualifying all of their relays must be a relief, as neither nation appears to be holding a qualification meet for the 2024 Worlds. Per the Australian selection criteria, Swimming Australian will select a team of approximately 20 swimmers based on past results over the 2023 season. USA Swimming has yet to release any details.
Nations that failed to qualify in certain relays by not placing better than 4th must either field a strong team in Doha or rely on their time from Fukuoka and hope that other nations don’t overtake them.
Some nations may take that gamble and not send a full-strength team to Doha to avoid a potential triple taper (Worlds, Olympic Trials (if held), and Olympics), but some countries cannot afford that luxury. Several nations did not field relays in Fukuoka and therefore have no times, such as Hungary in the women’s medley relay or Spain in the mixed medley.
Perhaps in a more precarious situation are nations that were disqualified in the prelims, chief among them the British men’s 4×100 free relay. Their only path to qualification is to post a time upon the fastest 13 from the combined Worlds results. While that should not be a problem as they were among the favorites to win the event in Fukuoka, should another DQ occur in prelims, then there would be no prospect of a lane in the Olympics for Matt Richards and company.
|Women’s 4×100 Free Relay||Women’s 4×200 Free Relay||
Women’s 4×100 Medley Relay
|2||United States||United States||Australia|
|Men’s 4×100 Free Relay||Men’s 4×200 Free Relay||Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay|
|1||Australia||Great Britain||United States|
|Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay|
China fell short in three events, all of which were taken by different nations (Canada in the women’s medley, Italy in the men’s 4×100 free, and Great Britain in the men’s 4×200 free), but should have no problems qualifying in all three of them. They finished 4th in both the women’s medley and men’s 4×100 free and 11th in the men’s 4×200 free but would need to be passed by six nations in Doha, and the 16th placed team’s (Thailand) time in Fukuoka was close to 30 seconds slower than China’s.
SwimSwam has already reported on the open-water results, but you can find a brief recap below.
Based on the qualification system document, there will be a max of 22 athletes in the event in Paris, with the top three finishers in the 10K from Fukuoka being the first entrants.
Unlike with the relays, qualification for the remaining spots is based solely on results from the World Championships in Doha, save for one spot for each gender, which is reserved for the Olympic host nation, France.
|1. Leonie Beck (GER)||1. Florian Wellbrock (GER)|
|2. Chelsea Gubecka (AUS)||2. Kristof Rasovszky (HUN)|
|3. Katie Grimes (USA)||3. Oliver Klemet (GER)|