The Olympic qualification period for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is officially closed, as of today.
The individual qualification period was from March 1, 2019 to June 27, 2021.
Timelines for Individual and Relay Qualifications
- Individual entries: March 1, 2019 to June 27, 2021.
- Relay entries: March 1, 2019 to May 31, 2021
Originally, the qualification period was scheduled to end on June 29, 2020 but it was expanded after the coronavirus pandemic postponed the Olympic Games by one year.
Athletes had to qualify at FINA-approved events.
For relays, the top 12 teams from each Olympic relay in the prelims session of the 2019 World Championships were pre-selected. The next four fastest relays swam during the qualification period will be selected.
FINA clarified that if one of the top-12 teams from World Championships declines their spot, the next-fastest team during the selection period will go. If a top-12 team at the World Championships declines their spot, it’s not necessarily the 13th team from the World Championships that is selected.
You can read FINA’s full Olympic selection procedure here. The document lays out the athletes’ priorities of selection:
Priorities of Selection
1. All athletes with Olympic Qualifying Times (OQT / “A” Time)
2. Athletes in relays
3. Universality Places
4. Invited athletes who have achieved an Olympic Selection Time (OST / “B” time)
OQT’s vs OST’s
Olympic Qualifying Times, also referred to as FINA ‘A’ cuts, automatically qualify an athlete to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. National Olympic Committees (NOC’s) can enter two athletes in an event if they both have secured an OQT.
“Following the end of the qualification period and in the event that the quota of 878 athletes is not reached, FINA will assess the number of athletes having achieved the OQT / “A” Time, the number of Relay-Only Athletes and the number of Universality Places.,” FINA states.
“FINA will then invite athletes who have achieved an OST / “B” time, until the total quota of 878 athletes is reached. OST places will be distributed by event, according to the position on the FINA World Ranking of 27 th June 2021. NOCs can only enter one (1) athlete per event having achieved an OST / “B” Time.
“Athletes invited through OST/”B” Time are only allowed to compete in the events for which they received the quota place.”
Universality places are reserved for NOC’s with no athletes who have achieved an OQT or OST time. These NOC’s can enter “a maximum of one (1) man and one (1) woman, provided that those athletes participated in the 18th FINA World Championships 2019 and/or are approved by FINA to compete,” FINA states.
“Because of the exceptional circumstances related to COVID-19 crisis, the consequent postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, and taking into account the unprecedented two-year period between the FINA World Championships Gwangju 2019 and the new date of the Games in 2021, NOC/NFs with no men or women with an “A” or “B” time standard will be allowed to enter their highest ranked men athlete or highest ranked women athlete in one individual event, based upon the FINA Points Table (2021 edition), through a performance in an approved FINA Olympic qualifying event (including the FINA World Championships Gwangju 2019); In consultation with FINA, an NOC/NF may enter the second highest ranked athlete for exceptional reasons, including retirement, medical injury, or doping violation of the first ranked athlete.
“NOCs with athletes having achieved an OQT / “A” Time or selected by FINA for an OST / “B” Time only in one (1) gender may also enter one (1) universality athlete in the other gender.
Athletes with having an OST / “B” Time achieved allocated to the Universality Places may be entered in up to two (2) individual events. Those athletes without an OST / “B” Time are limited to enter in one (1) individual event only. NOCs must submit their applications for Universality Places to FINA for approval by 20 th June 2021. FINA will confirm the Universality Places to NOCs by 1 st July 2021.”