Russia Changes Olympic Qualifying Rules, Giving Efimova Hope

2016 Russian Championships / Olympic Trials

  • April 16-23rd, 2016
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Prelims 09:00/Finals 18:00 Local Time
  • Prelims 02:00/Finals 11:00 U.S. Eastern Time
  • Live results (IN ENGLISH – including event-by-event start lists)

On the day before the start of the Russian Championships and Olympic Trials, the Russian Federation (WWF) has announced an amendment to their Olympic qualifying criteria.

Olympic qualifying is no longer limited to just the Russian Championships. While winners at the Championships who are under the Russian qualifying standards, slightly faster than those set by FINA, are assured of their spots, Russia has made an exception for filling the second qualifying spot. If due to circumstances out of their control they’re unable to compete at the championship, a time swum at any meet between January 1 and April 1, if it’s faster than the 2nd-place finisher at the Russian Championships, may be considered for selection.

That leaves the door open for the temporarily-suspended Yulia Efimova, who feels she has a strong case to not be suspended after a positive test for the newly-banned substance Meldonium, to qualify for the Olympic team even though she won’t compete at the Russian Championships.

With her absence, it’s up to Vlad Morozov to carry the Russian torch to Rio. He, along with 2015 Worlds 200 back bronze medalist Evgeny Rylov, are the country’s two most likely individual medal candidates in Rio.

Morozov will remain focused on his two primary events – the 50 and 100 meter freestyle. In the 50, he’ll have to battle Evgeny Sedov, who ranked 7th in the world last year in 21.84, and Andrew Grechin, who enters seeded at 22.01.

The battle in the 100 free will be even tighter, with five swimmers seeded at 48.5 or better, led by Morozov’s 47.98.

Morozov’s competition schedule has been very light since the World Championships. There is no record of him competing yet in 2016 that we’re able to find, and he swam just a few minutes at the end of 2015 including the Duel in the Pool and the U.S. Winter National Championships.

Not swimming at this meet will be 2012 Olympic silver medalist Evgeny Korotyshkin, who told press on Friday that he has retired.

Meet Format and Olympic Standards

This meet will follow the Olympic 8-day format, with the addition of the non-Olympic 50 meter stroke events throughout the meet. That means that all races 200 meters and shorter will include prelims, semi-finals, and finals.

To qualify for the Olympics, swimmers must go under the following standards and place in the top two, with the exception of the “out of their control” clause referenced above.

Women Event Men
24.99 50 free 22.01
54.18 100 free 48.57
1:58.12 200 free 1:47.01
4:07.99 400 free 3:48.27
8:28.98 800 free
1500 free 15:04.22
1:00.05 100 back 53.99
2:09.70 200 back 1:57.71
1:07.54 100 breast 59.99
2:26.08 200 breast 2:10.50
58.31 100 fly 52.16
2:08.00 200 fly 1:55.88
2:13.24 200 IM 1:59.56
4:39.13 400 IM 4:15.45

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6 years ago

If she was doping in January/February how could they possibly allow her swims to count for this exception?

6 years ago

She’s taken performance enhancing drugs and have to face the resulting ban. The only circumstance “outside her control” is that she got caught.

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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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