2021 Meeting National de Béthune
- February 12-14, 2021
- Béthune, France
- Long Course Meters
- Live Video
- Results (not available)
French Open Water swimmer Marc-Antoine Olivier posted a qualification time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 1500 today. At a meet in Béthune, France Olivier swam 14:55.19, just under the French qualification time of 14:55.40.
En réalisant 14:55.19 au 1500m nage libre, lors de la 2e journée du meeting de Béthune, @marcoswimfr a pris une sérieuse option pour la qualification olympique sur cette épreuve. Le chrono exigé étant de 14:55.40. 👏🏻💪🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/bROlQ6M1JW
— FFN (@FFNatation) February 13, 2021
Olivier who won the bronze medal in the 10km Open Water race at the 2016 Rio Olympics and silver at the 2019 World Championships has made strides over the past few months in the 1500. Prior to November of last year, his best time was 15:04.84 from 2017. He broke the 15-minute barrier for the first time in November, swimming a 14:59.29, then posted a similar time 15:00.59 in December.
Olivier is already qualified for Tokyo in the 10km Open Water event. While not officially qualified for the French team in the pool, today’s swim and recent results indicate a strong likelihood of Olivier qualifying in this event.
The schedule of events should not affect Olivier’s ability to compete in both the 1500 and 10km events. The heats for the 1500 will take place on the evening of July 30 with the final on the morning of August 1. The 10km event will take place on the morning of August 5 and will give Olivier five days between events. Since Olivier only swam the 10km in 2019, he has no prior experience of swimming both events at a major competition.
Olivier’s time puts him as the 5th fastest swimmer in the world in the 1500 since the start of 2020. At the 2019 World Championships, Olivier’s time would have put him in 9th place in prelims.
After the Tokyo Olympics were delayed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the French Swimming Federation (FFN) revised their qualification procedures for Tokyo.
Swimmers who swim a qualifying time from December through March (at the Marseille meet, specifically) will qualify for Tokyo as long as they are the only swimmer to meet the time. Those times are set as the average of the 8th place finisher from the last 3 Olympic Games. If a second swimmer swims a qualifying time, the slower swimmer will have a chance to qualify at the French Championships in Chartres in June, if they meet the “B” standard in the heats and the “A” standard in the finals.
Including pool and open water events, France currently has seven swimmers officially qualified for Tokyo as well as the men’s 400 free relay.