The French Elite Nationals are currently underway in Montpellier, where through 4 days of competition just 4 Olympic-qualifying marks have been achieved by the highly-talented pool of swimmers competing over the 6-day affair.
Whereas previous Olympic time standards fell more in line with the FINA A cuts, we’ve covered the fact that FFN has created stringent Olympic selection criteria for its athletes this time around. France’s 2016 Rio standards are significantly swifter than past Games, with men’s times sitting around 2% faster than FINA’s “A” standards, while women’s times are 2-3% faster.
However, for all the attention given to the French standards, let’s not forget that one nation’s Rio qualification times are set even faster – those of Great Britain. The fact that 5 of the men’s and 1 of the women’s British Olympic-qualifying cuts to sit inside of their own national records is highly ambitious and speaks to how competitive Great Britain truly wants its roster to be.
Although GBR has seen several key athletes perform in a dominant way in recent history, such as Adam Peaty with his world record-breaking 100m breaststroke swim from 2015 British Championships and James Guy with his 200m freestyle victory at the World Championships, the team as a whole is still relatively young and just at the start of its seemingly upward trajectory on the international medal-contending scene.
GBR Trials are scheduled to take place at the Tollcross International Swimming Center April 12th – 17th. The GB selection policy states that the ‘first place finisher in the open final of each individual Olympic event will be selected, subject to the athlete recording a time that equals or betters the qualifying time list.’ In our grids below, this ‘qualifying time’ is identified by the column ‘British 1st Place’ (i.e., 24.37 for women’s 50m freestyle).
With the French standards known to be wickedly faster than the FINA A cuts, we’ve included them in the grids below as a point of comparison to the British standards right beside. For all but a few of both women’s and men’s events, the British ‘1st place’ time standard is notably quicker than its corresponding French time.
Taking it one step further, in the women’s events, the ‘1st place’ mark in the 200m breaststroke (2:22.08) is faster than the current national record, which sits at 2:23.82.
As for the men, the 100m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 200 butterfly and 200m IM qualification cuts all sit faster than the GBR national records as follows:
100 freestyle cut – 48.16, NR – 48.20
200 backstroke cut – 1:55.13, NR – 1:55.58
100 butterfly cut – 51.24, NR 51.41
200 butterfly cut – 1:54.46, NR – 1:54.58
200 IM cut – 1:56.82, NR – 1:57.12
|Women||French||British 1st Place||British Consideration|
|Men||French||British 1st Place||British Consideration|
Worth noting, is that GBR’s selection criteria does carry a caveat of sorts, where as the National Performance Director and Head Coach may collaborate using rankings, described below, and other ‘considerations’ to exercise discretion in enabling additions to the roster, up to a maximum of 6 athletes.
Consideration for selection of additional athletes will be given to swimmers ranked inside or closest to (in percentage terms) times listed as ‘British Consideration’ in our grids below. The procedures clearly stat that the NPD and Head Coach shall have the option of selection further athletes, but are not obliged to do so.
There is some additional language as to how things will be handled in the event of a tie, where 2 or more swimmers carry the same % difference to the ‘British Consideration’ standards, but the bottom line is that the qualification process is tough. Very tough.
Everyone better bring their A game to Glasgow when Trials start on April 12th.