This week, the Paris 2024 organizers unveiled the competition schedule for the Games.
Pool swimming kicks off on Saturday, July 27th and runs through August 4th at the Paris La Defense Arena. Prelims return to the morning session (11:00 am CET) and finals to the evening (8:30 pm CET), after the opposite timing took place last year in Tokyo.
The major change to the schedule is that the competition will take place over nine days as opposed to the eight-day format. The extra day means that there will be eight prelim sessions and nine finals, opening the door for changes to the event schedule.
Organizers have not yet released the meet’s order of events. However, the extra day will most likely be used to alleviate schedules of swimmers who would typically have to swim an individual event and a relay in the same session. It also frees up a packed schedule that saw three new events added last year–the men’s 800 free, the women’s 1500 free, and the mixed 4×100 medley relay.
Since the Sydney Games in 2000, the eight-day schedule has been used at the majority of Olympics. The two exceptions are the Beijing and Tokyo Olympics, which used a “flipped” schedule of finals in the morning and prelims in the evening to sync with U.S primetime. With this format, day one featured only a prelims session and the last day ran only a finals session. Thus, competition stretched over nine days but still featured the same number of sessions as an the traditional 8 day meet (including 8 finals sessions)
Before 2000, swimming’s competition schedule was not standardized and changed with each Olympics. The Atlanta Olympics used a seven-day format, which hadn’t been used since 1984, as the Barcelona Games ran a six-day meet and the 1988 Games in Seoul used an eight-day schedule.
USA Swimming confirmed that U.S Trials will continue to mimic the Olympic format and will use the nine-day format as well.