Swim Ireland Intends To Challenge Relay’s Olympic Invitation Rescission

For the first time in 49 years, two relays from Ireland were qualified to race at an Olympic Games, but that feat may be short-lived.

As we reported earlier today, the Greek medley relay, which qualified for this summer’s Games in its own right, was left out of list of top 16 squads invited by FINA to race in Tokyo but has now replaced Ireland.

Swim Ireland has released its official response to the situation involving its medley relay invitation being retracted by FINA.

Swim Ireland can confirm that we received correspondence on Sunday, June 6 from FINA rescinding their invitation for Ireland to compete in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay at the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Having received and accepted FINA’s invitation to compete on Saturday, June 5, we are extremely disappointed that FINA have told us that the invitation was issued in error, particularly given the impact on the affected athletes. Our intention is to challenge the decision and we are currently exploring all options in this regard. 

The invitation for Ireland to compete in the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle relay is unaffected. The Tokyo Olympic Games will be the first time since 1972 that Ireland has competed in a swimming relay and the first time ever that an Irish male relay team will compete.

16 countries participate in each swimming relay at the Olympic Games. The fastest 12 teams in the heats at the 2019 World Championships in Gwanju, South Korea gained automatic qualification for Tokyo 2020. The four remaining spots are filled based on performances at FINA designated meets during the qualification period, which ended on May 31, 2021.

In an email to SwimSwam, FINA stated that they are “looking into the matter internally.”

We will report on additional updates as they are made available.

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3 years ago

I honestly don’t see why Switzerland and Ireland should get in as 17th teams. It’s sad for them, but the truth is that they didn’t qualify. This admin error is unfortunate, but only lasted two (?) days – it’s not like this is happening a day or two before the Olympics.

3 years ago

FINA should have used Swimswam as their resource for tracking these things!!

Reply to  Njones
3 years ago

Organisations like FINA have teams to monitor social media…it seems weird the things we point out over the years that they seem unaware of!

Last edited 3 years ago by Torchbearer
3 years ago

I think the week between the best time and the deadline was always going to be uncomfortable.
It was always a possibility that wildcard #4 would go to a team during that week.
The Greeks did it twice and congrats to them. Hard luck to one Irish team and the Swiss team.
The Greeks are blameless.
FINA is not blameless. The Irish and Swiss organisations have a right to protect their athletes and they were told that they were invited.
Two wrongs dont make a right. And it is certainly a way out for FINA to invite a 5th wild card in these two events.
For the record, I am most concerned with the… Read more »

Carol Glover
3 years ago

Why are relay entries limited to 16? Is there an “A” time standard that the relay must swim to be considered? Or is it the top 12 from Worlds then the next fastest four?

Reply to  Carol Glover
3 years ago

Good question, a FINA thing. Maybe because in the past some relay events only about 10 relays and some other relay events had very slow times and FINA now have restrictions on the number of athletes allowed. Think it is down about 200 spots from the most number of FINA athletes at an Olympic game.

Reply to  Carol Glover
3 years ago

Keeping numbers capped at the Olympics…all sports are under pressure to do that. I suppose also for running times to keep to a tight schedule.

Last edited 3 years ago by Torchbearer
JP input is too short
3 years ago

Seems like a 17-team medley relay field would be an easy enough solution here… not Ireland or Greece’s fault that FINA messed up.

Reply to  JP input is too short
3 years ago

Yes, just run three heats in the morning at 5, 6, and 6. I don’t get why they are making this so hard!

Reply to  2Fat4Speed
3 years ago

They normally have 10 lanes to keep prelims shorter

3 years ago

All around the world, volunteers are tasked with checking entries and verifying through psych sheets. For 1000+ swimmer meets (pre-covid), for free. FINA has a paid staff and they still can’t get it right……

3 years ago

Something that seems so simple….

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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