Paris Olympic Schedule Change Opens The Door For Marchand’s 200 Fly/200 Breast Double

The event order at the Paris Olympics has seen a pair of minor changes, one of which figures to be of great benefit to French superstar Leon Marchand.

According to an announcement made by USA Swimming on Wednesday, the following changes have been made to the order of events in Paris, and thus will be mimicked at the U.S. Trials:

  • On Day 5, the women’s 200 fly semis and men’s 200 breast final will swap places. This makes the 200 fly the third event of the night and the 200 breast the seventh.
  • On Day 6, the men’s 50 free semis will be the third race of the night (originally sixth) and the women’s 200 back will be the fifth (originally third).

The change on Day 5 puts four events and seven total heats, one of which is the women’s 1500 free, between the men’s 200 fly and 200 breast final after they were previously back-to-back (along with multiple medal ceremonies, most likely). That will allow Marchand to race both events at the Games, something we learned earlier this month his coaches had lobbied for.

DAY 5 EVENT CHANGE

Previous Day 5 Finals
New Day 5 Finals
Women 100m Freestyle Final
Women 100m Freestyle Final
Men 200m Butterfly Final
Men 200m Butterfly Final
Men 200m Breaststroke Final
Women 200m Butterfly Semi-Final
Women 1500m Freestyle Final
Women 1500m Freestyle Final
Men 200m Backstroke Semi-Final
Men 200m Backstroke Semi-Final
Women 200m Breaststroke Semi-Final
Women 200m Breaststroke Semi-Final
Women 200m Butterfly Semi-Final
Men 200m Breaststroke Final
Men 100m Freestyle Final
Men 100m Freestyle Final

Marchand is the reigning world champion in the 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM, having won back-to-back titles in the medley events while winning the 200 fly for the first time last year after claiming silver in 2023.

In the 200 breast, he has yet to race the event on the major international stage, but he did produce a time of 2:06.59 at the 2023 French Elite Championships that would’ve won bronze at the World Championships and ranks him #5 all-time.

The other schedule change could open the door for a female swimmer to race both the 200 fly and 200 back with less of a time crunch, and it also would allow a male swimmer to do the 200 IM/50 free double, though there don’t appear to be any obvious candidates for that right now.

Michael Andrew raced both events at the Tokyo Olympics, placing 4th in the 50 free and 5th in the 200 IM, but has previously said the medley event is not one of his focuses this year.

It does, however, make it more difficult for a woman to race both the 200 back and 800 free relay.

DAY 6 EVENT CHANGE

Previous Day 6 Finals New Day 6 Finals
Women 200m Butterfly Final Women 200m Butterfly Final
Men 200m Backstroke Final Men 200m Backstroke Final
Women 200m Backstroke Semi-Final
Men 50m Freestyle Semi-Final
Women 200m Breaststroke Final
Women 200m Breaststroke Final
Men 200m Individual Medley Semi-Final
Women 200m Backstroke Semi-Final
Men 50m Freestyle Semi-Final Men 200m Individual Medley Semi-Final
Women 4x200m Freestyle Final Women 4x200m Freestyle Final

FULL PARIS 2024 OLYMPIC SWIMMING CALENDAR

Session Event
Day 1 Prelims Women 100m Butterfly
Women 400m Freestyle
Men 100m Breaststroke
Men 400m Freestyle
Women 4x100m Freestyle
Men 4x100m Freestyle
Day 1 Finals Women 100m Butterfly Semi-Final
Men 400m Freestyle Final
Women 400m Freestyle Final
Men 100m Breaststroke Semi-Final
Women 4x100m Freestyle Final
Men 4x100m Freestyle Final
Day 2 Prelims Men 200m Freestyle
Men 400m Individual Medley
Women 100m Breaststroke
Men 100m Backstroke
Women 200m Freestyle
Day 2 Finals Men 400m Individual Medley Final
Women 100m Butterfly Final
Men 200m Freestyle Semi-Final
Women 100m Breaststroke Semi-Final
Men 100m Backstroke Semi-Final
Men 100m Breaststroke Final
Women 200m Freestyle Semi-Final
Day 3 Prelims Women 400m Individual Medley
Women 100m Backstroke
Men 800m Freestyle
Day 3 Finals Women 400m Individual Medley Final
Men 200m Freestyle Final
Women 100m Backstroke Semi-Final
Men 100m Backstroke Final
Women 100m Breaststroke Final
Women 200m Freestyle Final
Day 4 Prelims Men 200m Butterfly
Men 100m Freestyle
Women 1500m Freestyle
Women 100m Freestyle
Men 200m Breaststroke
Men 4x200m Freestyle
Day 4 Finals Men 100m Freestyle Semi-Final
Men 200m Butterfly Semi-Final
Women 100m Backstroke Final
Men 800m Freestyle Final
Women 100m Freestyle Semi-Final
Men 200m Breaststroke Semi-Final
Men 4x200m Freestyle Final
Day 5 Prelims Women 200m Breaststroke
Men 200m Backstroke
Women 200m Butterfly
Day 5 Finals Women 100m Freestyle Final
Men 200m Butterfly Final
Women 200m Butterfly Semi-Final
Women 1500m Freestyle Final
Men 200m Backstroke Semi-Final
Women 200m Breaststroke Semi-Final
Men 200m Breaststroke Final
Men 100m Freestyle Final
Day 6 Prelims Women 200m Backstroke
Men’s 50m Freestyle
Men’s 200 IM
Women 4x200m Freestyle
Day 6 Finals Women 200m Butterfly Final
Men 200m Backstroke Final
Men 50m Freestyle Semi-Final
Women 200m Breaststroke Final
Women 200m Backstroke Semi-Final
Men 200m Individual Medley Semi-Final
Women 4x200m Freestyle Final
Day 7 Prelims Men 100m Butterfly
Women 200m Individual Medley
Women 800m Freestyle
Mixed 4x100m Medley
Day 7 Finals Men 50m Freestyle Final
Women 200m Backstroke Final
Men 200m Individual Medley Final
Men 100m Butterfly Semi-Final
Women 200m Individual Medley Semi-Final
Day 8 Prelims Women 50m Freestyle
Men 1500m Freestyle
Men 4x100m Medley
Women 4x100m Medley
Day 8 Finals Men 100m Butterfly Final
Women 50m Freestyle Semi-Final
Women 200m Individual Medley Final
Women 800m Freestyle Final
Mixed 4x100m Medley Final
Day 9 Finals Women 50m Freestyle Final
Men 1500m Freestyle Final
Men 4x100m Medley Final
Women 4x100m Medley Final

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swimfast
1 month ago

Damn they can do this kinda thing for this dude, but not for Phelps to have swum the 200 back in Beijing and have won 9 Golds???

snailSpace
Reply to  swimfast
1 month ago

Would he have even qualified at Trials with Lochte and Peirsol both swimming it though?

swimfast
Reply to  snailSpace
1 month ago

I actually believe: yes. He went 1:54 (or 53?) at a not-so-serious meet, and knowing Phelps- always performing best at grand stage meets, no DOUBT he would’ve popped a 1:51 if he needed. He also went 53.0 in the 100 back, at the time that the WR was 52.98. Meaning if the coaches could’ve extended the schedule for Phelps in the manner Marchand’s have for him, he would’ve surely won 10 Golds.

snailSpace
Reply to  swimfast
1 month ago

I disagree. He sometimes lost to Lochte in IM, his speciality, so I don’t see how he could beat Lochte in his speciality stroke. And Peirsol was arguably even better than Lochte.
Phelps’s best LC time in the 200 back is a 1:54.65 btw. Very fast indeed, but I very much doubt he could have gone 1:51. That only happened once, with the most advanced super suit. Heck, 1:52 only happened twice.
And my question was wether or not he could even qualify: in his 6th individual event at trials – he would have been stretched thin against more rested opponents.

swimfast
Reply to  snailSpace
1 month ago

Ill pose the contrapositive to your argument: if the backstroke wasn’t Lochte’s best stroke (incl. IM), then he would have indeed been beaten in said backstroke.
I think Lochte’s greatest claim to fame is his 1:54.00 WR 200 IM. therefore, Phelps should have lost to him, and perhaps beaten him in Lochte’s less-quality backstroke. Right?

SteveT
1 month ago

To be honest, now that W 1500 is an event, I don’t see why M and W event order isn’t the same….

Tencor
Reply to  SteveT
1 month ago

Too long to have two distance races in one session I’m guessing

John26
1 month ago

Maybe the real puppeteer isn’t bowman but LVMH, who is the official sponsor of the Olympics and wants to maximize shareholder gains potential by having their poster boy have more medal chances. Money talks more than a coach

Last edited 1 month ago by John26
Swemmer
1 month ago

Marchand will be destroyed by a healthy Milak do not worry

Mr Piano
Reply to  Swemmer
1 month ago

Milak doesn’t have time to get back in 1:50 form

etsan
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

He doesn’t need to be in 1:50 form to beat Marchand.

Leoyu
1 month ago

It’s such a terrible precedent to set. There’s no reason that just because someone is good at something or that they’re gonna be in the spotlight should they get preferential treatment over other athletes at the biggest sporting event in the world. Hope it gives extra motivation to the likes of Milak and Honda, Qin and ZSC to absolutely crush him in those events at the Olympics.

e-Swimmer77
Reply to  Leoyu
1 month ago

Don’t worry, Kristof Milak is back in heavy training so Leon is swimming for silver in the 200 fly.

ooo
1 month ago

I believe it should be possible to derive an optimal timing of events by maximizing the sum of recovery time of all the swimmers susceptible to take part in the semi-finals or finals. Thus the day calendar could be fixed well in advance for heats, semis and finals and the final schedule 6 months before the start of the game based on the most relevant information (i.e. best time achieved by February ) The timing of the medal ceremonies could also be used to create appropriate buffer zones.

ooo
Reply to  ooo
1 month ago

This is the preliminary result of this exercice
“For each session what is the order of events that conducts to maximize the resting time, all swimmer being considered equal.”
(no medal ceremonies included yet, and something got wrong for Day 8 Finals).

This focuses on the swimmers likely to qualify for at least one semi final.

Taking the following durations for each events (open as csv)

MOD: CSV file so the site doesn’t crash: https://swimswam.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/oooFile.csv

ooo
Reply to  ooo
1 month ago

Apologies, I manged to read the wrong file for some entries (hence the Day 8) this should be better

Day1 Morning ♀ H 4X100   ♂ H 4X100   ♂ H 100 breast   ♂ H 400 free   ♀ H 400 free   ♀ H 100 fly

Day 1 Finals ♀ S 100 fly   ♀ F 400 free   ♂ S 100 breast   ♂ F 400 free   ♂ F 4X100   ♀ F 4X100
Day 1 Finals ♀ S 100 fly   ♀ F 400 free   ♂ S 100 breast   ♂ F 4X100   ♂ F 400 free   ♀ F 4X100
Day 1 Finals ♀ S 100 fly   ♀ F 400 free   ♂ F 400 free   ♂ S 100 breast   ♂ F 4X100   ♀ F 4X100
Day 1 Finals ♀ S 100 fly   ♀ F 400 free   ♂ F 400 free   ♂ F 4X100   ♂ S 100 breast   ♀ F… Read more »

Boknows34
1 month ago

I have no problem with this. Michael Johnson had the schedule adjusted for the 200m and 400m to allow him to attempt and win the Olympic double in Atlanta 1996.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Boknows34
1 month ago

That’s unfair!! Preferential treatment!!! Sucks that it was one the greatest performances in Olympic history but it should not have happened because of idk the schedule was made arbitrarily a different way!

comment image

Dom from France
1 month ago

There is a lot of jealousy in most of these comments. The versatility of a swimmer displeases you when you should be enthusiastic. At the time of Phelps, I would have loved him to shine in all swimming disciplines (including breaststroke) and definitely be the most versatile swimmer of all time.
 If I were to provoke you, I would say that you should be happy that Qin can swim the 200 fly and that Milak and Carson Foster can try the 200 breaststroke unless you don’t find them versatile enough! 
As long as it doesn’t penalize another swimmer, it doesn’t matter. Sorry to contradict you, but the Olympic spirit is to allow all those who can shine in… Read more »

Sub13
Reply to  Dom from France
1 month ago

The issue is that giving one swimmer preferential treatment is the equivalent of penalising other swimmers. Just like deliberately not calling a DQ on a swimmer indirectly penalises other swimmers who followed the rules.

Dom from France
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

What preferential treatment? Making two finals 45 minutes apart is a favor, especially with a swim like the 200 fly which is very demanding.

Sub13
Reply to  Dom from France
1 month ago

Yes. As you say “it’s a favour”. The organisers did a “favour” to help Marchand = preferential treatment

Pan Fan
Reply to  Dom from France
1 month ago

The organizers favor Marchand and Regan Smith at the expense of other swimmers.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

That it’s some zero-sum game, that if one swimmer is helped out by a change it immediately negatively affects all others is such a weird way to look at this.

snailSpace
Reply to  Dom from France
1 month ago

As long as it doesn’t penalize another swimmer, it doesn’t matter. Sorry to contradict you, but the Olympic spirit is to allow all those who can shine in a race to participate.

Sure. Many other greats of the sport have schedule confilcts that haven’t been adressed. Again, why would Marchand deserve the preferential treatment more than others.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  snailSpace
1 month ago

Maybe they should’ve asked?

Coulda been greater that way.

snailSpace
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

You don’t know who did or didn’t ask. What we do know is that the favour has been granted for one athlete only.

Last edited 1 month ago by snailSpace
Steve Nolan
Reply to  snailSpace
1 month ago

Guess they made a better case!

I asked elsewhere, but what other schedule changes would people make for Their Faves??

This just moved stuff around within sessions, no? Which seems like it would be a tough restraint but I’m taking proposals.

snailSpace
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Yeah, upon thinking on this a bit more it’s not that big of a deal. Like, what I’ve said previously about it setting a bad precedent still holds, because the end of that route is everyone getting a schedule change who asks and we are back to square one.
But further than that, it’s a relatively minor change.
I disagree that the most logical explanation for the change is that they made a better case than others, because every case you can make for anyone is basically the same: change stuff around so this one particular athlete has a better schedule. What motivates the decision beyond that is what makes it unfair in my eyes, because that’s the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by snailSpace
Steve Nolan
Reply to  snailSpace
1 month ago

Yeah, upon thinking on this a bit more it’s not that big of a deal.

Yeehaw!

But yeah, that’s sort of what I mean – if you could move those events around in-session for those dudes, sure not really a huge deal. But if you’ve gotta change what days those events are on, you’ll start creating new conflicts for other swimmers in other events. (And those might be issues for more athletes than the ones you’re fixing.)

I don’t think this is a huge deal mostly b/c the schedule isn’t created by Divine Right or anything, there are inherently going to be conflicts for some swimmers and not for others. “Aww, Marchand gets to swim more events???” is… Read more »

snailSpace
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Right.

And at the end of the day, I still think he is gonna scratch the 200 breast – because that double is a killer one, and there is still the 800 free relay. So I think it will turn out to be a “much ado about nothing” kind of situation.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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