Finland and the Czech Republic both improved their standings for Olympic relay invites in the women’s 4×100 medley relay at the European Championships.
Both nations were already in line for two of the four last-minute Olympic relay invites, but improved their qualifying times in the European Championships final.
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.
2016 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
In a nutshell, the top 12 from last year’s World Championships are in. Then the next 4 fastest relays in the period between last March and this May will earn berths on May 31.
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 women’s 4×100 medley relay:
|1. China 3:54.41*||9. Italy 4:00.92*|
|2. Sweden 3:55.24*||10.Russia 4:01.12*|
|3.Australia 3:55.56*||11. Germany 4:01.40*|
|4. USA 3:56.76*||12. France 4:02.13*|
|5. Denmark 3:57.61*||13. Finland 4:01.49|
|6. Canada 3:57.96*||14. Brazil 4:02.52|
|7. GBR 4:00.02*||15. Czech Republic 4:02.73|
|8. Japan 4:00.43*||16. Spain 4:03.91|
Prior to Euros, Finland was still the top nation outside the 12 automatic qualifiers, sitting at a 4:02.30 from last summer’s World Championships. They improved by almost a full second and should now be all but guaranteed an Olympic entry.
The Czech Republic also maintained its position in the third transfer spot, but improved its time by seven tenths from the 4:03.44 it put up at Worlds in Kazan.
Brazil and Spain are still in line for the other two berths. The closest nation to Spain at this point is Greece, who did not compete in the medley relay at Euros.