World Aquatics Says 2024 Paris Olympic ‘B’ Cut Swimmers “May Not” Qualify Due To Athlete Quota

Swimmers who have obtained the ‘B’ cut during the 2024 Paris Olympic qualifying period may not make the cut due to the athlete quota.

The athlete quota for Paris is smaller than it was for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. This summer will only feature 852 swimmers, 26 less than were allowed in Tokyo (878).

In addition to a lower quota, rules for universality changed earlier this year as athletes are not required for athletes to have competed at either the 2023 or 2024 World Aquatics Championships in order to be eligible for Universality for the Olympics. Universality allows for countries that do not have swimmers with ‘A’ or ‘B’ cuts to send 1 male and 1 female swimmer to the Olympic Games.

Universality swimmers have a higher priority than athletes who have ‘B’ cuts and are already represented by their country. There is still over a month for countries to submit their Universality applications as they are due by June 24th, 2024.

World Aquatics sent out this communication to countries that have athletes with ‘B’ standards:

“Dear National Federations with Athletes with Olympic Consideration Times (OCTs):

World Aquatics has been working diligently with the IOC and Paris 2024 on the athlete quota for Swimming in Paris (852 total athletes).  This quota, which is 26 athletes less than Tokyo in 2021, is composed of athletes qualifying via the following methods:

  1. Olympic Qualifying Times (OQT)
  2. Relays
  3. Universality
  4. Olympic Consideration Times (OCT)

As we are carefully calculating the overall numbers, it is apparent that we may be extremely close to the 852 with just the first three qualifying methods (above) and adding athletes via the OCT path may not take place.  This has long been a challenge at the Olympics, as it was similar in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

Our intention with this correspondence is to make you aware of the situation so that you, your athletes, coaches and administrators can best plan and manage expectations.

World Aquatics would like to invite your National Federation to a Teams call in early May in order to further discuss and explain this situation.  While we understand that this may be challenging for NFs (and athletes and coaches) to hear, we feel it is important to cover this topic and be as informative and collaborative as possible.

Thank you very much for your interest and attention to this matter.  We will be back to you in the coming days with a proposed date for this call.”

‘B’ cuts already got much faster for this Olympic cycle compared to those in the past as most cuts have a half of a percent difference for Paris. 

OLYMPIC QUALIFYING ‘A’ TIME (MEN) OLYMPIC CONSIDERATION ‘B’ TIME (MEN) % DIFFERENCE EVENT % DIFFERENCE OLYMPIC QUALIFYING ‘A’  TIME (WOMEN) OLYMPIC CONSIDERATION ‘B’ TIME (WOMEN)
21.96 22.07 0.5009107468% 50 free 0.4858299595% 24.70 24.82
48.34 48.58 0.4964832437% 100 free 0.5036373811% 53.61 53.88
1:46.26 1:46.79 0.4987765857% 200 free 0.5031553812% 1:57.26 1:57.85
3:46.78 3:47.91 0.4982802716% 400 free 0.5002016942% 4:07.90 4:09.14
7:51.65 7:54.01 0.5003710378% 800 free 0.499299402% 8:26.71 8:29.24
15:00.99 15:05.49 0.4994506043% 1500 free 0.4903497154% 16:09.09 16:13.94
53.74 54.01 0.5024190547% 100 back 0.5000833472% 59.99 1:00.29
1:57.50 1:58.09 0.5021276596% 200 back 0.4985044865% 2:10.39 2:11.04
59.49 59.79 0.5042864347% 100 breast 0.494085941% 1:06.79 1:07.12
2:09.68 2:10.33 0.5012338063% 200 breast 0.5003126954% 2:23.91 2:24.63
51.67 51.93 0.5031933424% 100 fly 0.5006906077% 57.92 58.21
1:55.78 1:56.36 0.5009500777% 200 fly 0.4983259363% 2:08.43 2:09.07
1:57.94 1:58.53 0.5002543666% 200 IM 0.502015669% 2:11.47 2:12.13
4:12.50 4:13.76 0.499009901% 400 IM 0.4990485765% 4:38.53 4:39.92
  0.5005533666% Average % Difference 0.4982529138%

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bosas
4 days ago

How is it justifiable to remove a team member from relay who have qualified with a team as a team member just because they haven’t qualified in the individual distance? Moreover, the replacement will have to be swimmer who’s main event is very different and therefore not only the athlete looses his deserved place to debut at the Olympics, but also the whole team looses any chance to fight for the silverware. Where is that Olympic spirit?

Foreign Embassy
2 months ago

Are there universality quotas/priorities for other Olympic events? Or is it just in swimming?

Admin
Reply to  Foreign Embassy
2 months ago

Most individual sports have them, though they have different structures in different sports.

In a few team sports, like water polo, the continental representation programs wind up acting like universality in a sense, though they’re not described that way.

grizzled bastard
2 months ago

Perhaps i’m just a sad old idiot, but can anyone explain to me why the Olympics wants LESS participation rather than MORE? The whole concept of decreasing the number of athletes seems counter intuitive.

Admin
Reply to  grizzled bastard
2 months ago

More athletes cost more money, creates more organizational complexity.

The IOC is focused on the sustainability of the events, and unchecked athlete counts makes them less sustainable.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
2 months ago

The women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay is scheduled on the first day of the swimming competition at the Summer Olympics. There is no need to name a sixth 100 meter freestyler if the aforementioned swimmer is a boat anchor.

Meow
2 months ago

*26 fewer

TeamDressel
2 months ago

The B cuts have absolutely no reason to be as fast they are. Every other Olympic year the B cuts were significantly slower than the A cuts. Now there is barely a difference between the two so taking universality swimmers who are much slower than the swimmers with b cuts just doesn’t seem fair. I understand that universality is to diversify and give a chance to athletes who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to represent their country. However it’s not fair to those who are for example 51.7 in the 100 fly and could have a chance at semi finaling in the event

NoFastTwitch
2 months ago

How often do B-cut swimmers medal (or make the finals) at the Olympics? Honestly don’t know but would be interested.

Hhdjhdhd
2 months ago

I am from a “3rd world country” or whatever you westerners refer to Africans. I think universality slots should be cut. Full in the quotas with all the A and B qualifiers and the remain positions can then go to the universality qualifiers.

I believe so only because I know first hand there is a lot of in fighting on which athletes they allow to go to the games. For example, one year in my country, there were 2 athletes that had equal standing in regards to fina points and making the decision of who to choose was just near impossible. In the end, the kid that got chosen was the son of one of the people making the… Read more »

Hhdjhdhd
Reply to  Hhdjhdhd
2 months ago

Oh and another thing, if what I said above didn’t convince you, one of the swimmers at a club I was training at hit a B qualifying time a few years back. Some coach started freaking out, because if you don’t know, if I a swimmer hits either an A or B qualifying time, the country is then not offered universality spots. I.e, everyone coming after has to qualify the correct way. When the guy hit the time I was elated but this lady was not. She was sort of disappointed. That’s when I put 2 and 2 together.

Justhereforfun
Reply to  Hhdjhdhd
2 months ago

Very interesting perspective, thanks for sharing.

I think your first point about the ‘fighting’ that can take place over universality spots can be easily overcome with clear selection procedures, since swimming results are so black and white. I come from a country with a swimming program that is nowhere near world class also and we have a selection procedure that follows 1) FINA points 2) World rankings 3) % difference (if any) from top 20 in the world. Now, is there a possibility for corruption? Definitely, but a fair selection procedure is easily possible and WA shouldn’t get rid of universality spots because individual countries cannot enforce their selection procedures.

The swim clubs you mentioned may be primarily driven by… Read more »

Bo Swims
Reply to  Hhdjhdhd
2 months ago

I think there needs to be a universality “trials” meet selecting on a few criteria. A predetermined number top placed swimmers overall and a number of junior aged swimers. A random draw for a few more slots. Then have these athletes and coaches attend a joint staging camp to help develop the sport.

Dakotamug
Reply to  Hhdjhdhd
2 months ago

The dual citizenship thing is so annoying to me. Happens all every time my country sends people to the Olympics. 2 kids from France/Belgium who never set a foot in the country get to go. They don’t even have to come here to qualify in a meet. They just send their times and some gifts to the swimming federation, and go represent us.

Foreign Embassy
Reply to  Dakotamug
2 months ago

Which country are you from?

zac
Reply to  Hhdjhdhd
2 months ago

Or they should follow what athletics is doing and guaranteeing only one universality quota instead of two. If a male received a spot in athletics, it should be a female in swimming and vice versa.

Foreign Embassy
Reply to  Hhdjhdhd
2 months ago

Which country are you from?

Hhdjhdhd
Reply to  Foreign Embassy
2 months ago

Botswana

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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