The Polish women will not be competing in the 800 freestyle relay at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The team had secured an automatic spot for Tokyo by virtue of their ninth place prelims finish (8:01.70) at the 2019 FINA World Championships. Automatic qualification was granted to the 12 fastest teams from prelims at Worlds. The next four fastest teams during the qualification period earned a “Wildcard” selection.
In an email to SwimSwam, Robert Brus, the Polish head coach stated that the team did not have all four swimmers achieve the FINA “B” standard of 2:00.80 in the 200 freestyle. Brus did confirm that Poland will be competing in the remaining relays for which they have qualified: the women’s 400 free, men’s 400 free, men’s 400 medley, men’s 800 free, and the 400 mixed medley relay.
A quick reminder on the qualification process:
- If any of the top 12 teams from the World Championships, or any of the next 4 best teams during the selection period, decline their spot, then the next-fastest team during the selection period goes. So, if a top-12 team at the World Championships declines their spot, it’s not necessarily the 13th team from the World Championships that is selected.
- Each NOC gets additional relay-only athletes, but those athletes must have hit the OST/”B” standard for the corresponding stroke and distance of the relay in which they are entered. So, if a swimmer is racing the breaststroke leg of the medley relay, that swimmer must have at least a “B” cut in the 100 breaststroke, if they are a relay only swimmer. If that breaststroker on the medley relay has no cut in the 100 breaststroke but is swimming, say, the 1500 free, they’re still eligible for the relay.
- Countries must confirm their participation in a relay no later than June 11th, 2021 and must confirm their relay-only athletes by no later than June 27th, 2021.
- No ‘aggregate relay times,’ the relay must actually be raced to be considered.
FINA has yet to release the final list of countries participating after the June 11th deadline. Poland‘s absence opens the door for another country to compete in the 800 free relay. Brazil would have the first opportunity to race as they rank as the first team out of the Wildcard standings with their time of 8:00.92. The full relay standings at the conclusion of qualifying:
WOMEN’S 800 FREE RELAY
|Worlds #2||United States||7:41.87|
|Worlds #10||New Zealand||8:03.28|
|Worlds #11||Hong Kong||8:04.98|
|Worlds #12||South Korea||8:08.38|
|Wildcard #1||Great Britain||7:53.15|