USA Swimming announced the qualifying times and dates for the 2024 Olympic Trials. The meet will take place from June 15 – 23, 2024 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The new location of the meet was previously announced, as was the new nine-day format.
As we’re in the midst of a season that’s seen World Trials and World Championship dates shuffled around, we thought it would be worth looking at the gap between Trials and the start of the Games in Paris to see how the gap stacks up to previous Olympic years.
2000 – 2024 U.S Trials vs. Olympics
|Year||U.S Trials End Date||Olympic Swimming Start Date||Gap||U.S Trials Host||Olympics Host||Distance between Hosts|
|2024||June 23||July 27||34 days||Indianapolis||Paris||4166 miles|
|2020||June 20||July 24||34 days||Omaha||Tokyo||6058 miles|
|2016||July 3||August 6||34 days||Omaha||Rio||5573 miles|
|2012||July 2||July 28||26 days||Omaha||London||4269 miles|
|2008||July 6||August 9||34 days||Omaha||Beijing||6472 miles|
|2004||July 14||August 14||31 days||Long Beach||Athens||6905 miles|
|2000||August 16||September 16||31 days||Indianapolis||Sydney||9286 miles|
Before the pandemic delayed both Trials and the Games by a year, the gap between Trials and Tokyo would have been 27 days. However, due to the changed schedule, the gap between Trials and the start of Olympic swimming has held steady at 34 days since 2016.
During that time, the U.S Olympic team holds training camp. Last year, the team prepped for the Games on Oahu, Hawaii before heading to Tokyo. In 2016, they trained in San Antonio, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia.
2024 will be the shortest distance that the team will have to travel for the Games since the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Also included in USA Swimming’s press release was the qualification period for hitting an Olympic Trials cut, which runs from November 30, 2022 to May 30, 2024.
Below is a table comparing the length of qualification periods for the last four Olympic Trials meets and the upcoming one.
2012 – 2024 Olympic Trials Qualification Periods
|Olympic Year||Qualification Period||Length||Trials Start Date|
|2024||11/30/22-5/30/24||547 days||June 15|
|2020||11/28/18-5/30/21||914 days||June 13|
|2016||7/30/14-entry deadline||695 days*||June 26|
|2012||10/1/09-entry deadline||996 days*||June 25|
*Assume that the entry deadline for 2016 and 2012 Trials was two days before the meet began, like it was originally scheduled to be in 2020.
October 1, 2009 is the date polyurethane suits were banned in the United States. The qualification period began then, to ensure that athletes were making their cuts without the full length super suits.
The original qualification window for the 2020 Olympic Trials was going to be November 28, 2018 to June 19, 2020. That’s a period of 569 days. The qualification window also ran up until 2 days before the start of the originally scheduled meet, which is significantly different from the 2021 and 2024 Trials, where there’s a gap of 2 weeks between the window closing and the start of the meet.
While the 2024 and 2020 windows have slightly different day counts, they both reflect the same point in the Olympic cycle: approximately just before Winter Nationals and Junior Nationals began 18 months prior. USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey instituted this change after he began his role in July 2017.
This shows that with the exception made for the pandemic, USA Swimming has consistently been shrinking the qualification window. Adjusting the window implies that they’re trying to control the number of swimmers at the meet. That said, it’s not USA Swimming’s goal to make trials a highly exclusive event. According to U.S National Team Managing Director Lindsay Minteko, “the drops in time from the 2020 Trials Time Standards are a sign that our sport is continuing to get faster across all events and disciplines.”
Qualification length is not the sole factor in determining the size of Olympic Trials. Despite the extended qualification period, there were significantly fewer athletes at 2020 Trials than in 2016. 3,057 athletes competed in 2016 compared to 2,285 at 2020 Trials. In 2012, 1,831 athletes competed.