Max Litchfield Lands Sole Golden Ticket To Rio in 4:12 – 400IM Cut By 0.03; Best By 3secs

Max Litchfield on his way to a Britain Olympic debut in 4:12 over 400m medley in Glasgow - by Ian MacNicol

On a day when every Britain-team international podium placer and established name in the pool fell shy of the tough cuts for instant selection to the Rio Olympic Games at trials in Glasgow, Max Litchfield, an unheralded 21-year-old from Sheffield stepped up to take the one golden ticket of the day.

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On a day when every Britain-team international podium placer and established name in the pool fell shy of the tough cuts for instant selection to the Rio Olympic Games at trials in Glasgow, Max Litchfield, an unheralded 21-year-old from Sheffield stepped up to take the one golden ticket of the day.



Looked like nerves played a big part in this evening’s proceedings. 8:27 from Jazz Carlin was a huge surprise; nowhere near the QT from an 8:15 performer. Ben Proud failed to reproduce his recent form and wilted under the challenge of Duncan Scott to finish behind him. More headaches for the selectors. To cap it off, Fran Halsall also failed to deliver a qualifying time. A strange night’s swimming to watch. Where to from here? At least one man is smiling.

David Brooks

So after three days we have only four automatic qualifiers – Guy, Peaty, Miley and Litchfield. We can blame tough standards, but a lot of people have under-performed – Carlin and Proud among them today.
For what it’s worth here’s how the 2% club looks right now:

Tutton 0.296% off target
Murdoch 0.427
Halsall 1.032
Renshaw 1.156
Milne 1.356
Wilmott 1.61
Davies 1.914

Everyone else outside 2% of the consideration standard and so needing “an exceptional circumstance” to be selected. Carlin and Scott were only marginally outside, but other events and relays ought to see them go.

As it stands, I don’t think that under their own rules they will send a men’s 4×100, though of course they have discretion. Even if using the fastest relay times from Kazan – as they allow for – and the fastest times today, the combined time is still more than 2% from target. You would have Barrett 49.02, Renwick (from Kazan) 48.82, Scott 48.66 and Proud 48.08 (from medley relay in Kazan). That gives you 3:14.58. The consideration standard plus 2% comes to 3:14.55.
But of course, all four of those guys could qualify in other events (Renwick and Scott in the 4×2, Proud in the 50 and Barrett (for the Medley Relay and possibly the fly if he goes 51.80 or better) so you’d think in that case they’d let them swim 4×1 anyway.


The hard qualifying times are, I believe, short-sighted. Apart from the benefits of having a larger team–support, energy and the feeling of being part of something bigger than oneself–there are also issues of legacy and development to consider. Olympic experience provides high-pressure training that clearly extends beyond the Games themselves: Worlds, Euros, Commonwealths, Juniors.

Why deny top world-ranked swimmers this invaluable experience? Instead, the message these times sends is this: train hard, become top 16 (or higher), improve drastically….it doesn’t matter. This is not a message that will inspire swimmers-to-be, nor will a small team help provide exposure (and potential sponsorship/support) for its national aquatics program.

Canada’s draconian time standards of 2000 and 2004 stunted national development and exposure to the point where they are just now recovering. Ensuring the national champion Olympic experience in 2008 and 2012 (with the second spot eligible for ‘A’ standard times only) has been a boon for the women’s team in particular. For this latest trials, the pendulum has swung back somewhat: the small men’s team will certainly not help develop the nation’s best swimmers internationally.

David Brooks

Well yes AvantSwim, but that only applies if the selectors really do only take those automatic qualifiers. Their own rules allow them to take those inside 2% of the standard and there’s no reason to think they won’t use that discretion. I expect a team of around 20-25.


Fair enough, David. But then why this spectacle in the first place? Craig Lord has already written about the effect the standards are having on the mood of the games themselves. How does this help push the team forward? Bad planning, little forethought on the part of those in Federation that made these decisions.

David Brooks

I couldn’t agree more, it seems a bit of a farce.
Having said that, I’m not one who believes that first past the post trials with qualifying standards is necessarily the way to go. It works great for super nations like the US and Australia where the have such strength in depth, but it seems reckless for a nation like GB that has precious few real medal candidates. If they have a bad day or week, all of a sudden a medal possibility is gone. Carlin is a case in point. So some discretion might be warranted.
My preference would be for pre-selection for up to one spot in each event for anyone who medals in the prior-year’s world champs. Surely it would be better not to ask the likes of Peaty, Guy, Carlin and O’Connor to peak twice in Olympic year. We already know they can produce the goods, so why not let them concentrate on delivering again at the Games.
Given that there will be virtually no events in which two people meet the qualifying time, I don’t see how this creates a problem for the other swimmers.
If you look at GBs most successful two sports – track cycling and rowing – all picks are discretionary. Rowing has trials but they are not binding in any way, and track cycling has nothing whatsoever – its entirely based on training and pedigree.


I think Craig is right about mood, I think he will write an article about Brazil prelims times, but some of the times were much much stronger than even I (as Brazilian) imagined before.



please keep us well informed re:Maria Lenk.
Brazilian swimming holds much more significance this year, of course, and at the same time their standards seem to be higher than ever across many events.


If Craig authorizes me I will post the main results of the first prelims..


Maybe Craig can make you a temporary Brazilian reporter to help him reporting from Rio during this trials season, what with the timezone differences and many trials happening at the same time 🙂

Craig Lord

Go ahead Rafael, no problem (will only focus on finals unless something extraordinary happens… I will be filing a take on that 59 flat in the 100br… which may not go down well with everyone…)


I actually think I will agree with what you will write down.. of the 4 guys who have a shot he is the one I would like the less to be there.

Main results of Maria Lenk Prelims:

Men 400 IM: Easy slow morning, no one under 4:20, for the afternoon I expect only Brandonn (JR World Record Holder) to get under fina A (4:16:71) he is already qualified because he went 4:14 already, but I would like to see a 4:11 4:12

Women 100 fly: 2 girls under fina A, Daiene Dias went 58,03 and Etiene 58,49, next Brazilian is Daynara with 59,01 and Bruna 59,45. Etiene will not swim finals, maybe not even at Olympics. The 100 fly was just a “break the ice” swim as she will focus on 100 back and 50/100 free.

Men 400 free: No one hit Fina A Standard, fastest was Lucas Kanieski with 3:52:61. The only one who was already qualified , Altamir, went only 3:56 and will be on B Final. Don´t know why so slow.

Women 400 IM: Apart from Joanna Maranhão, no one else have any chance. The only thing is if she will go sub 4:40 or not.

100 Breast: Race of the morning, the same 4 guys from Open were below the A mark Again.
Joao Gomes (Failed Doping on Doha) with 59,06, França 59,56, Cardona (Who was 1:00:90 last year at this time and 1:00 low at Open in December) 59,77 and Lima 1:00:06. The Brazilian record is 59,03, at night everybody might go faster as this will be a tight race.

And personally as said before, I am not a huge fan of Joao, I was betting on França and Cardona to go to OG.

Craig Lord

Muito Obrigado Rafael – a nice summary to have.


I wonder if DDias is actually Daiene Dias?

IIRC, DDias is male though 🙂

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