Santo Condorelli Is Appealing Eligibility Decision for US Olympic Swimming Trials

On Tuesday night, USA Swimming director Lindsay Mintenko sent an email to all athletes and coaches qualified for the 2024 U.S. Olympic trials regarding what they claim is a “legal situation that could impact the Trials.” While the email does not name the athlete in question, sources tell SwimSwam that the athlete being referred to is Canadian and Italian Olympian Santo Condorelli and his eligibilty to swim at the U.S. Olympic trials.

According to the email, Condorelli was denied eligbility by USA Swimming to race at trials and represent the U.S. at the Paris Olympics if he qualified. However, he has challenged USA Swimming’s decision and it is in the hands of an arbitrator.

If Condorelli’s challenge is approved, he will enter the men’s 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly. The late entry deadline was 11:59 p.m. EST on June 10.

SwimSwam has reached out to Condorelli, but he has declined to comment on the matter of his situation.

The contents of the email can be read below:

Athletes and Coaches,

We are looking forward to seeing you in a few days in Indianapolis and we cannot wait for what will be an incredible competition.  I know your entire focus right now is on Olympic Trials, but we do need to alert you to a legal situation that could impact the Trials.

This evening, an athlete filed for arbitration under Section 9 of the USOPC Bylaws, challenging USA Swimming’s 2024 Selection Procedures and our implementation of those Procedures.  The athlete is arguing that, based on a decision by the Court of Arbitration of Sport, he is eligible to represent the United States in international competition beginning on July 30, 2024, exactly three years after he last competed for another country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and should be allowed to compete in the Trials.  Both the Olympic Charter and World Aquatics rules require a three-year waiting period before an athlete is eligible to change their nationality and compete for a different country in international competition.

Our Selection Procedures state that an athlete must be eligible to represent the United States in the Olympic Games at the beginning of Olympic Trials.  Because the athlete will not be eligible to represent the United States as of June 15, 2024, USA Swimming denied his request to enter the Olympic Trials.  The athlete is challenging this decision and has filed a demand for an emergency hearing under the USOPC’s arbitration process.  USA Swimming will continue to defend the drafting and implementation of our Selection Procedures.

The athlete has notified USA Swimming that, if successful in his challenge, he will enter the following events at Olympic Trials: the men’s 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle, and 100 Butterfly.  Given the order of the events in Paris, if he were to qualify for the team, the athlete would not be able to complete in the 4×100 Freestyle relay, as it occurs before July 30, but he would be eligible for other relays taking place on or after July 30th.

The reason we are sharing this with you is to give you a heads-up about this matter and that you may be receiving a formal notice from the arbitrator who will decide on this case. As part of the process, the arbitrator will determine if there are other athletes that could be affected by a decision in this matter.  While this determination has not yet been made, and a notice from the arbitrator has not yet been issued, we are sending this communication to all athletes competing in the Olympic Trials, as well as their coaches.  If any athlete identified is determined by the arbitrator to be an “affected athlete,” that athlete will receive a formal notice and have the option to participate in the arbitration as a party.  If you are identified as an affected athlete and receive notice, you are bound by the decision of the arbitrator, whether or not you choose to participate in the hearing. Essentially, what this means is that if the athlete who filed this complaint is deemed to be eligible to compete at Trials, no “affected athlete” can later challenge his eligibility.

We want to be as transparent as possible with you and provide you any necessary resources and information to support you during this time.  While we await the formal notice from the arbitrator to affected athletes, please feel free to reach out to me directly ([email protected]).  We will have more information soon.  Additionally, the Team USA Athlete Ombuds is available as an independent, confidential resource for any athlete who has questions about this process, including their rights and/or legal resources in this process. Kacie Wallace, the Athlete Ombuds, and her team can be reached at [email protected]. And as always, our Mental Health Manager Emily Klueh ([email protected]) is available if you are in need of additional support.

We will be in touch as soon as we have more information to share. For right now, there is no action item for you until we hear from the arbitrator.

Thank you,

Lindsay

In April 2023, it was revealed that Condorelli, an American citizen, intended to vie for a spot on the 2024 U.S. Olympic team. His represented Italy in his last international competition, racing the heats of the 50 free for the nation on July 30, 2021. According to World Aquatics policy, a swimmer must wait three years from when they last represented a country before competing for a new country in international competition — which means that under these rules, Condorelli will be eligible to swim for Team USA for the final seven days of the Paris games if he qualifies.

There are no specific rules in U.S. Olympic trials “Event Information Handbook” regarding swimmers who have changed nationalities, aside from a line saying: “Any athlete who has represented another country must submit change of sport nationality approved by World Aquatics to Lindsay Mintenko prior to the entry being accepted.” The only other eligibility requirements include being a U.S. citizen who is “eligible to represent the USA at the 2024 Olympic Games”, being a “currently registered premium member of USA Swimming in good standing,” and achieving a trials qualifying time in the qualification period — which Condorelli has done on multiple instances.

Condorelli is technically eligible to represent Team USA at the Olympics, but just not the during the first three days.

However, as USA Swimming alluded in the above statement, what appears to be the final official selection procedure document, dated November 2023, pretty clearly S states that a swimmer must be eligible to “represent the U.S. in an international competition at he time of the Qualifying Competition.”

Aside from swimming for Italy, Condorelli has also previously represented Canada at the 2016 Olympics. He also competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials and the 2014 Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships with the intention of representing Team USA. He was also named a member of the USA Swimming Junior National Team and broke the US National Age Group Record in the 100 free.

In his career, Condorelli has won silver at the Tokyo Olympics representing Italy as a member of its 4×100 free heats relay. He also finished 4th in the 100 free representing Canada at the 2016 Olympics

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Oregon Swimmer
1 month ago

The Condorellis live their lives thinking theu are special and that rules don’t apply to them. I am looking forward to the day that I don’t have to hear about them anymore.

Observor
1 month ago

I’m sure he is well represented

PACFAN
1 month ago

https://youtu.be/uYKtxt6yq5Q?si=Xe8v9uyiNyWAOOqQ

Still don’t think we should let him swim?

saltie
1 month ago

let the legend swim

#freesanto

Skeptical
1 month ago

The Worlds Aquatics Policy requires someone considering changing nationality to make that decision 3 years in advance. I don’t know the full legislative history here, but if the selection procedure document first published this trials eligibility rule in 2023, it is unfair to punish someone who ironically was trying to follow the rules pursuant to their 3 year plan.

Admin
Reply to  Skeptical
1 month ago

That is what makes this whole thing sort of unique. Maybe they should have made the rule 2 years because of this once-in-history shortened cycle, then made it 3 years starting with Paris.

jason
1 month ago

Anyone know when we’ll get an update/when the decision is made

Terry
1 month ago

Geez guy, pick a country and stick with it.

CraigH
1 month ago

Plot Twist: Santo is going to show up at the opening ceremonies marching with the Russian swimmers under the International Olympic flag…

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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