USA Swimming Releases Qualifying Criteria For 2022 World Championships

USA Swimming has released the qualifying criteria for the 2022 World Championships in Budapest, with the U.S. team to be selected at the upcoming International Team Trials in Greensboro, N.C.

The requirements to make the American team this year will follow suit to what we’ve seen at previous trials meets for the Olympics and World Championships.

To generalize, the top-four finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyle events, along with the top-two finishers in the other Olympic events, will qualify for the team, assuming both that they’re under the FINA ‘A’ standard and the maximum roster size isn’t exceeded.

From there, the winners of the stroke 50s and the fifth and sixth-place finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyle will qualify.

World Championships Qualification Priorities

Top-four finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyle finals, and winner of every other Olympic event
Second-place finishers in each Olympic event other than 100 and 200 free
Winners of non-Olympic events (50 back, 50 breast, 50 fly)
Fifth-place finishers in 100 and 200 free
Sixth-place finishers 100 and 200 free

In order to have two swimmers represent the United States in an individual event, FINA requires that both of them have achieved the ‘A’ standard within the qualifying period.

If the winner of an event only attains the ‘B’ standard, only that athlete will qualify to represent the U.S. team in that event (even if the runner-up has achieved an ‘A’ cut at a different meet or in prelims).

In the event that the winner hits an ‘A’ cut and the second-place finisher does not, the second-place finisher won’t qualify and the next fastest swimmer in the final who has achieved the ‘A’ cut at a different meet would then be eligible for qualification.


The maximum U.S. roster size for the World Championships is 26 men and 26 women.

When selecting the relay-only swimmers, the U.S. can bring a maximum of 12 (combined men and women) to Budapest. If more than 12 qualify per the criteria above, the swimmers will be ranked by using the percentage their time is faster than the FINA ‘A’ standard to determine the priority of qualification.

For an in-depth breakdown on calculating the percentages, click here.

We saw this situation come up at last year’s Olympic Trials, where Ryan Held was bumped from the Olympic team after placing sixth in the men’s 100 freestyle. However, the criteria that year was based on USA Swimming’s modified world rankings rather than by the percentage their time is faster than the ‘A’ cut.

As for the non-Olympic 50 back, breast and fly events, assuming the winner achieves the ‘A’ cut, the second spot at Worlds will be offered to those qualified for the team in the 100 back, breast and fly, respectively.

You can read the full qualifying procedures here.

The International Team Trials, which will also be used to select the Junior Pan Pacific Championship team and the swimmers that compete at the Mel Zajac International meet in Vancouver, are scheduled to run April 26-30 in Greensboro, N.C.

The pool swimming competition at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships will run from June 18-25 in Budapest, Hungary.

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