Swimming At The 2016 Olympic Games – The Complete Schedule

With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro now just 221 days away, Rio organizers have released the competitive sporting schedule in its entirety.  The Opening Ceremonies are slated to kick-off on August 5th, with pool swimming scheduled to span August 6th – 13th at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Barra Olympic Park.  Marathon Swimming (open water) then takes place on August 15th and 16th at Fort Copacabana.

Per the comprehensive competitive pool schedule (see end of this post), the order of events remains the same as the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. However, as previously reported, the start times of the ‘morning’ and ‘evening’ sessions in Rio are quite different from the past.  Prelims are set to begin at 1pm local/10am Eastern each day, with semifinals/finals beginning at 10pm local/7pm Eastern.

As such, several countries have already taken part in special training preparations to have potential Olympic athletes acclimate to the off-hours competition. Australia held a ‘Rio Protocol Camp‘ back in September, while the Danish Olympic-qualifying meet in April will follow these Rio start times.

Taking the timeline into account, we can start to visualize which key athletes we’ll see on which days in Rio, potentially. For example, with American Katie Ledecky considering swimming both the 100m freestyle and/or the 400m IM at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July, the 18-year-old could have quite the jam-packed schedule in Rio.  The world record holder’s signature events of the 400m free and 800m free, as well as the 800m free relay would render her active on the following days:

Sunday, August 7th – women’s 400m freestyle prelims/final
Wednesday, August 10th – women’s 800m freestyle relay prelims/final
Thursday, August 11th – women’s 800m freestyle prelims
Friday, August 12th – women’s 800m freestyle finals

Add in the 200m freestyle for Ledecky, of which she has proven she is more than a viable threat via her victory at the 2015 FINA World Championships, and that books Ledecky for both Monday, August 8th (prelims) and Tuesday, August 9th (finals). Factoring in the additional ‘experimental’ events should Ledecky qualify for the stars n’ stripes roster in the 400m IM and/ or 100m freestyle, she would also be throwing down additional meters on the Thursday/Friday on which she is already scheduled to complete in the 800m freestyle relay and 800m freestyle individual event.

The women’s 400m IM is slated to start on the very first day, Saturday, August 6th, so Ledecky could potentially kick-off her 2016 Olympic campaign a day early. Ledecky could come into play in the women’s 400m freestyle relay as well, which also sees action on day 1.

22-time Olympic medalist, Michael Phelps, assuming he targets the individual events of the 200m IM, 200m butterfly and 100m butterfly, would see a relatively friendly schedule for his 30-year-old body. If Phelps were to be a member of the men’s 400m freestyle relay, his 2016 schedule would kick-off with a swim on that squad on Sunday, August 7th. Additional days would potentially pan out like this for Phelps:

Monday, August 8th – men’s 200m butterfly prelims/semifinal
Tuesday, August 9th – men’s 200m butterfly finals, men’s 800m freestyle relay finals
Wednesday, August 10th – men’s 200m IM prelims/semifinal
Thursday August 11th – men’s 100m butterfly prelims/semifinal, men’s 200m IM final
Friday, August 12th – men’s 100m butterfly final
Saturday, August 13th – men’s 400m freestyle relay final

According to Rio organizers, they have created a ‘fair, transparent and reliable process’ concerning spectator ticket sales, to ensure an exciting and memorable experience for all. Over 50% of the available 7.5 million spectator tickets will cost no more than R$70 ($18). Additionally, students, municipal school teachers from Rio de Janeiro, obese, senior citizens, people with an impairment and those with reduced mobility have the right to half-price tickets.

John Martin, USA Swimming’s Sports Communication Manager, tells SwimSwam that there is no change to the U.S. Olympic Trials schedule, which follows the Olympic schedule with the exception of no relays. The full Olympic schedule is below:




Men’s 400m IM

Women’s 100m Fly

Men’s 400m Free

Women’s 400m IM

Men’s 100m Breast

Women’s 4 x 100m Free Relay




Men’s 400m IM – Final

Women’s 100m Fly – Semifinal

Men’s 400m Free – Final

Women’s 400m IM – Final

Men’s 100m Breast – Semifinal

Women’s 4 x 100m Free Relay – Final




Women’s 100m Back

Men’s 200m Free

Women’s 100m Breast

Men’s 100m Back

Women’s 400m Free

Men’s 4 x 100m Free Relay






Women’s 100m Fly – Final

Men’s 200m Free – Semifinal

Women’s 100m Breast – Semifinal

Men’s 100m Breast – Final

Women’s 400m Free – Final

Men’s 100m Back – Semifinal

Women’s 100m Back – Semifinal

Men’s 4 x 100m Free Relay – Final




Women’s 200m Free

Men’s 200m Fly

Women’s 200m IM








Women’s 200m Free – Semifinal

Men’s 200m Free – Final

Women’s 100m Back – Final

Men’s 100m Back – Final

Women’s 100m Breast – Final

Men’s 200m Fly – Semifinal

Women’s 200m IM — Semifinal




Men’s 100m Free

Women’s 200m Fly

Men’s 200m Breast

Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay







Men’s 100m Free – Semifinal

Women’s 200m Free – Final

Men’s 200m Fly – Final

Women’s 200m Fly – Semifinal

Men’s 200m Breast – Semifinal

Women’s 200m IM – Final

Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – Final




Women’s 100m Free

Men’s 200m Back

Women’s 200m Breast

Men’s 200m IM

Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay







Men’s 200m Breast – Final

Women’s 100m Free – Semifinal

Men’s 200m Back – Semifinal

Women’s 200m Fly – Final

Men’s 100m Free – Final

Women’s 200m Breast – Semifinal

Men’s 200m IM – Semifinal

Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – Final




Men’s 50m Free

Women’s 800m Free

Men’s 100m Fly

Women’s 200m Back







Men’s 50m Free – Semifinal

Women’s 200m Breast – Final

Men’s 200m Back – Final

Women’s 200m Back – Semifinal

Men’s 200m IM – Final

Women’s 100m Free – Final

Men’s 100m Fly – Semifinal




Women’s 50m Free

Men’s 1500m Free

Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay

Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay







Women’s 200m Back – Final

Men’s 100m Fly – Final

Women’s 800m Free – Final

Men’s 50m Free – Final

Women’s 50m Free – Semifinal




No Preliminaries



Women’s 50m Free – Final

Men’s 1500m Free – Final

Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay – Final

Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay – Final

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5 years ago

Personally I like the times for the finals, but I can see why athletes from Europe or Asia might complain. The TV aspects of sports has gone too far, with NBC making sure the times would be good for their American viewers with no regards for the athletes. Such a pitty.

Reid Carlson
Reply to  Ok
5 years ago

Seriously. In London there was a live streaming option available, but the prime time stuff on NBC was pre-recorded. It may have meant avoiding results for a few hours if you didn’t want to know the outcome of events ahead of time, but that’s not difficult to do. Athens did the same, minus the live stream option. Beijing was revolutionary in its ability to make finals live while being half a world away, but the finals for swimming in Beijing started at 11:00 am their time, making for a much more manageable schedule. It is a shame that viewership is being put before optimal athletic performance. I have no doubt we will still see amazing swims and world records, but… Read more »

bobo gigi
5 years ago

No surprise here.
That’s always the same schedule.

Years of Plain Suck
5 years ago

For Phelps’ swims, I believe you mean the 200 fly on Monday the 8th and Tuesday the 9th, not the 100 fly. The men’s 100 fly is later in the week.

Curious that the Rio organizers are selling tickets at a 50% discount to “obese spectators.” I wonder what their reasoning is. In the US, some airlines force an extremely obese passenger to purchase two seats.

Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
5 years ago

good catch.

Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
5 years ago

I was shocked when I read that obese get half price tickets. Unbelievable.

Reply to  Kelly
5 years ago

I just said the same thing to my wife. Hysterical.

5 years ago

What about the 800 free relay and the 400 medley relay

Reply to  Henry
5 years ago

400 medley relay would be on Saturday, August 13th. Typo in the article called it the 400 freestyle relay.

5 years ago

Just the women’s 100 free final between the men’s 200 im final and the men’s 100 fly semifinals..: tough for 31 years old Phelps considering how competitive will be next years’ 100 fly semifinals and that in the previous days Phelps has already swum the 4×100 free final, 3 rounds of 200fly, the 4×200 free final and 2 rounds of 200im.
In general, swimming 3 individual races (200 fly, 200im and 100 fly) with, for instance, 200 fly final and 4×200 free relay in the same session, will be very (too?) challenging for Phelps.
Easy point out that the best choice for maximizing the chances of golds would be 2 individual races and 3 relays.

Reply to  paolo
5 years ago

Respectfully disagree, Mike’s best choice for maximizing the chances of golds would be 3 individual races (200 IM, 200 Fly, 100 Fly) and 2 relays (800FR anchor leg, 400MR).

I’m pretty sure he’s going to lead off the 400FR but that’s his lowest % at gold imo.

Reply to  Matt
5 years ago

I understand your position (and I agree: gold in 400 free relay will be extremely difficult for Usa), but I think that the main trouble is the cumulating fatigue to swim 3 individual events, fatigue that could affect particularly the last event: the 100 fly, which is one of the best chance of gold for Phelps.

5 years ago

Frankly I’m thinking less about Phelps and more about Missy re: schedule, i.e. 200 free semi and 100 back final. TOUGH double. How the hell did she do that in London?! I’m concerned for Rio, but not counting her out.

5 years ago

Franklin was in what looked to be dead last at the 25 but managed to pull into a tie for second at the turn, only .25 behind Seebohm at the 50. Missy’s back-half of races is always better than her first, the effects were just more extreme with the 200 semi beforehand. No clue as to how her endurance will be this year, but I reckon it’s still solid.
This is assuming she still locks down these two swims at Trials. The 200 individual race will definitely be on between Missy, Ledecky, and Schmitt fighting for the two spots (all three should make the relay). The 100 back is a tough field this coming year, but if Missy can… Read more »

Reply to  KD
5 years ago

I do think it’s likely Franklin will get one of the two US spots in the 100 back. But just being under 59 may not lock it down– Coughlin, Adams, Baker could all be under 59 by then as well.

Bad Anon
5 years ago

Franklin is in many ways like Ledecky (when competing at her best). Think she’ll safely qualify 100/200 back and 200free. she’ll also qualify for relay duty 400frr. Beating Seebohm in London was an upset ; and beating Seebohm in Rio will be an even bigger upset. putting my money on Missy to defend 100/200 back golds and challenge the 200 free gold as well

Reply to  Bad Anon
5 years ago

Franklin may struggle to make all those events for the USA team. And for beating Seebohm that won’t happen again.
But wait there’s more…Missy would need to start now to beat either Ledecky or Srostrom or McKeon in the 200 Free

5 years ago

Can you guys make a full coverage of the events? I live abroad and REALLY want to see the races. Thanks 🙂

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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