Tokyo 2020 selection process update

18 Mar 2020

Due to the extraordinary situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the British Swimming World Class Performance Leadership Group (PLG) is reviewing the 2020 Olympic selection policy as per General Condition G15.

A new selection policy is currently being developed in conjunction with our partners at the British Olympic Association (BOA) and this is expected to be published within the next week. Before doing that, we need to state that due to the current situation (and the uncertainty around the duration for which restrictions will remain in place) the PLG felt a postponement of the British Championships would only add to the uncertainty surrounding the current situation, and therefore a cancellation was the best option.

In order to keep coaches, athletes and parents informed during the interim period before the new policy is published, the PLG felt it was appropriate to share an early view of the key principles of what will appear in the new version. These are reflected below:

  • The policy will continue to reflect the need to maximise medal opportunities and at the same time allow for an open and fair process for selection to the 2020 Olympic team.
  • The integrity of the current policy will be maintained with a three-tiered selection to keep this consistent with previous years (as reflected in Clauses 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 of the former Olympic policy)
  • The maximum size of the team (30) is not expected to change.
  • There will be a two-stage nomination process for selection.
  • The first phase will include pre-selection nomination of athletes based on their performances at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju. These athletes will be nominated for selection to the BOA at the same time of the publishing of the new policy.
  • The second phase of nomination for selection will be based on performances during the FINA qualification window – 1st March 2019 to 29th June 2020.  Our intention therefore is to allow more athletes the opportunity to post a FINA A time or better by extending the ‘consideration time’ period until the end of June 2020.
  • Due to the uncertainty surrounding the staging of the 2020 European Championships and the potential extension of the qualifying period until the end of June 2020, we will not be in a position to qualify any additional relays for Tokyo 2020 other than the five relays that have pre-qualified at this time – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed 4x100 Medley relays, Men’s 4x100 Freestyle relay and Men’s 4x200 Freestyle relay.
  • The new policy will only apply if the 2020 Olympic Games is held on the existing dates 25th July to 2nd August 2020.  If there is any postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games beyond this period, a new selection policy will be required.

In terms of the 2020 European Championships (Pool) selection policy, this remains under review due to the uncertainty surrounding this event. A further advisory on this policy will be published on the 30th March 2020.

We understand the difficulties in preparing athletes with such uncertainty at the moment, but our priority will always be the health and wellbeing of our athletes, coaches, support staff and volunteers.  We appreciate the swimming community’s patience over the next week as we seek to finalise the new policy.

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact: