In continuing our look into how the relays are shaping up headed into Rio, now that day 1 of the 2016 European Championships has concluded, the men’s and women’s 400 freestyle relay fields are solidifying.
As a refresher, here are the FINA qualification rules concerning relays:
- There shall be a maximum of sixteen (16) qualified teams in each relay event, for a total of 96 relay teams.
- Each NOC may enter only one (1) team in each relay event.
- The first 12 placed teams in each relay event at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS) in 2015 shall automatically qualify for the relay events at the 2016 Olympic Games.
- The remaining four (4) teams per relay event will be the teams with the fastest times in the FINA World Rankings as of 31 May 2016 achieved during the qualification period, in the qualifying events approved by FINA, from 1 March 2015 to 31 May 2016.
- All swimmers entered in individual events can be used in relays, even if they have not achieved the OST / “B” Time for the corresponding stroke and distance of the relay in which they are entered.
- RELAY ONLY SWIMMERS:
- Each NOC may enter additional swimmers for relays only (Relay-Only Swimmers), provided that they have achieved at least the OST / “B” Time for the corresponding stroke and distance of the relay in which they are entered.
- If an NOC enters relay-only swimmers for a specific event, these swimmers must swim either in the heat or final of that relay event. Should a relay-only swimmer not compete, this will lead to the disqualification of the respective team in the final.
*Note that there is an item up for FINA Bureau member vote that has to do with the penalty if a relay-only swimmer fails to compete, which you can read about here.
To the best of our knowledge in light of nations’ Olympic Trials, time trials and now the European Championships, here is where we stand with the men’s and women’s 400m freestyle relays.
Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay
|1. France 3:10.74*||9. Belgium 3:15.50*|
|2. Russia 3:11.19*||10. Great Britain 3:15.70*|
|3. Italy 3:12.53*||11. Germany 3:16.01*|
|4. Brazil 3:13.22*||11. USA 3:16.01*|
|5. Poland 3:14.12*||13. Australia 3:12.26|
|6. Japan 3:15.04*||14. Greece 3:14.42|
|7. China 3:15.41*||15. Romania 3:16.54|
|8. Canada 3:15.94*||16. Hungary 3:16.55|
The 13th spot held by Australia remained the same, as no non-automatically-qualified nation clocked a time beneath the 3:13 mark in London. However, Greece moved itself up a spot from 15th to 14th due to its performance in last night. Their time of 3:14.42 overtook Spain’s 3:16.77 mark which at one point occupied the 14th-ranked position.
Romania’s 3:16.54, hidden in prelims, moved them into 15th place. Also now making an appearance win the rankings now is Hungary, who scored a time of 3:16.55 to place 5th at the European Championships. With that outing, they’ve now most likely secured a chance to challenge the world in the event at the 2016 Olympic Games. The combination of those results bumped Spain and the 3:16.77 mark they registered at their Olympic Trials back in March from Olympic qualifying. The squad tried to improve up on that standing last night in London, but instead added time and finished in 3:17.21.
Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay
|1. Australia 3:31.48*||9. Japan 3:38.47*|
|2. Netherlands 3:33.67*||10. Russia 3:38.63*|
|3. USA 3:34.61*||11. Brazil 3:40.24*|
|4. Sweden 3:35.71*||12. Poland 3:40.89*|
|5. Canada 3:36.44*||13. Denmark 3:39.38|
|6. Italy 3:37.16*||14. Belarus 3:40.37|
|7. China 3:37.64*||15. Spain 3:40.67|
|8. France 3:38.46*||16. Germany 3:41.56|
More shake-ups occurred in the women’s 400 freestyle relay rankings, as 2 of the 4 non-automatic-qualifying nations have been replaced. Denmark made a charge in both prelims and finals, notching times in London of 3:39.38 and 3:39.57, respectively. Both were fast enough to overtake the previous 13th spot held by Belarus and their time of 3:40.37.
Belarus is now busted down to the 14th slot, followed by Spain. Spain wasn’t on the list of qualifying relays until last night when its relay line-up registered a time of 3:40.67 to overtake one of the remaining relay contender positions.
Germany’s time of 3:41.56 proved enough to hang on, as far as we can tell, to the final non-automatic-qualifying spot for Rio.