With a few exceptions for the American and British Trials, FINA has sent out all Olympic invites – both those for Universality qualifying and FINA “B” qualifiers.
Among the latest round of invitations that have officially received their invitation are a pair of USC Trojans: Markus Rogan from Austria and Azad al-Barazi from Syria.
Rogan is known as one of the funniest men in the sport, and will be making his 4th Olympic trip this year. His most successful Games was 2004, where he took silvers in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes. He has since shifted his focus to the IM’s. He finished 5th at the 2011 World Championships in the 200 IM, and had the same overall World Rankings with a 1:57.74 from the semi-finals. He had a FINA “A” time in the race, but only recently announced his official qualification.
Al-Barazi is a Syrian breaststroker, with a best of 1:03.35 in the 100 from last year’s World Championships. He finished 60th in that race in Shanghai. He is perhaps best known, though, as one of the co-stars of Ed Moses’ “Splash On ‘Em” music video. His was a Universality invite.
Susana Escobar, a former Texas Longhorn, has revealed that she’s officially been invited to compete for Mexico. The former All-American is a distance specialist has a best 800 in the qualifying period of 8:40.86 – which means we know that swimmers with B-times better than that would be invited. That time ranked her in the top 90 in the world in 2011.
Nina Rangelova, a member of SMU’s elite medley relay contingent, has received Olympic invites to represent Bulgaria in the 100, 200, and 400 freestyles, where she has bests of 55.54, 1:59,30, and 4:12.21, all done in 2011.
Interestingly, from Rangelova we learned an upper limit on one of the qualifications – she has not yet received an invite in the 50 free, where she has a best of 26.01. The FINA “B” time is set at 26.15, but that at least begins to give the outline of where the lines for the 900 qualifiers have been drawn.
Still, the 200 seems to be by-far her best chances at possible Olympic semi-final.
And the final new Olympic qualifier we’ve learned about is St. Lucia’s Danielle Beaubrun, who swims collegiately for Florida Gulf Coast. Her specialty is a 1:11.34 in the 100 breaststroke, where she’s the National Record holder. As reward for his efforts of training Beaubrun year-round for the past three years, St. Lucia has rewarded FGCU coach Neal Studd by naming him as the head coach of St. Lucia. He will serve as an excellent tourguide for Beaubrun (and several other Olympians on his roster) as he is a native of southern England.