Rio 2016 Olympic Games Will Start Swimming Prelims at 1PM, Finals at 10PM

The ongoing saga of odd start times for swimming at the Olympic Games will continue in Rio in 2016; after morning finals sessions in Beijing, and no televised live swimming in London, 2016 will be once again lined up for the American television market, perhaps to the chagrin of the athletes.

According to Brazil’s Blog do Coach, at a meeting last week between Olympic organizers and FINA in Switzerland last week, the competition schedule was approved with a 1PM local start time for prelims, and a 10PM local start time for finals to accommodate the schedules of the television networks that own the rights.

What this likely means is that the 7-9PM primetime slot will be reserved for NBC’s typical “mass consumption” highlight package of the day’s best moments with look-ins around many sports, followed by the full airing of the swimming afterward (though that is speculative at this point).

It will still be a solid time slot for the Central time zone and the Mountain time zone, though the west coast may not see the swimming until later in the evening live on NBC.

That time converts to:

  • Noon/9PM U.S./Canada East Coast time
  • 9AM/6PM U.S/Canada West Coast Time
  • Midnight/9AM Perth/Beijing Time
  • 1AM/10AM Tokyo Time
  • 2AM/11AM Sydney Time
  • 6PM/3AM Moscow Time
  • 5PM/2AM London Time
  • 6PM/3AM South Africa Time


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6 years ago

When do tickets for the trials come on sale???

6 years ago

For Americans:
Verify with your cable company if you have Globo International or Sportv in your line up.Globo probably will show only finals, but Sportv is 3 channels with 24/7 transmission.

6 years ago

How come they can’t make a normal schedule with normal times to swim ? Always about the tv, not the swimmers, what a shame ! Swimmers at 10pm is insane (and that’s for the early scheduled swimmers) !

Reply to  asamans
6 years ago

And the bad: the session will end around 1AM!

The good:22h(10PM) is soccer time on brazilian tv.There will be a huge number of people watching.If Brazil goes to final in 4x100free with some chance of gold, the cheering fans will go wild.

Dottore Battistello
Reply to  asamans
6 years ago

Good point, Asamans.

6 years ago

Ddias,during OG sportv wlll open more channels (8 If I am correct) and 30+ Internet livestream channels

Reply to  Rafael
6 years ago

That will be great!!!

6 years ago

If you watched the World Cup you’d know that sunset is around 7:30 rio time so it’ll be well after dark.

The ioc keeps reminding us it’s not really about the athletes.

6 years ago

Finals starting at 10 pm and finish at 1 am??

Be prepared to wiitness the olympics with the lowest number of swimming WRs since 1996 Atlanta.

Reply to  aswimfan
6 years ago

The Swimmers will sleep in longer. They will adjust. Their bodies won’t be on Rio time. They will set their body clocks a few hours behind the local time. They won’t sleep any less than athletes in London. I used to work late shifts. It can be done. The elite swimmers know how to prepare and tweaking things by a few hours shouldn’t be an issue.

Dottore Battistello
6 years ago

Just another Beijing style stuff

6 years ago

I think you’ve forgotten daylight saving time; I’ve only looked at London but there’s a two hour difference right now with rio at GMT-2 and The UK on GMT.

In August 2016 London will be at GMT+1 and Rio at GMT-3. So some late nights coming for UK swimming fans with heats at 5pm and finals at 2am

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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