A last-minute surge has pushed Greece into a potential Olympic berth in the men’s 4×100 medley relay, thanks to a fourth-place finish at the European Championships.
Hungary also improved its standing for one of the final four Olympic spots, which will be distributed at the end of the month.
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 men’s 4×100 medley relay:
|1. USA 3:29.93*||9. Italy 3:34.59*|
|2. Australia 3:30.08*||10.Brazil 3:34.73*|
|3. France 3:30.50*||11. China 3:35.21*|
|4. Great Britain 3:30.67*||12. Lithuania 3:34.30*|
|5. Russia 3:30.90*||13. South Africa 3:33.80|
|6. Japan 3:31.10*||14. Hungary 3:34.12|
|7. Germany 3:32.16*||15. Canada 3:34.40|
|8. Poland 3:34.34*||16. Greece 3:34.41|
The last time we checked in on these relays, about a month ago, Greece was the first team on the outside looking in, with Hungary holding the fourth and final Olympic invite spot.
But both nations came through clutch in their last major qualifying meet this week, cutting several seconds off their best times to make their Rio berths more secure.
Hungary earned bronze at Euros, going 3:34.12. That bumps them from the fourth and final invite spot up to the second slot. Hungary was 3:36.74 in a time trial swim previously.
Greece, meanwhile, dropped from a 3:37.86 at last summer’s World Championships to a 3:34.41 and a fourth-place finish at Euros. That moves them into the fourth Olympic invite slot, bumping out Belarus.