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The qualification period for swimming at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ended on 3 July, with only a handful of athletes from the Caribbean making the natural qualification standards.
Over the past week, under the guidelines set out by world governing body, FINA, the pool (pardon the pun) for swimming at Rio 2016 has been filled out by the award of universality places.
A universality place, such as was recently awarded to Stephanie Devaux-Lovell for the women’s laser radial, simply indicates that the athlete in question was close to the standards for natural qualification, and is a consistent competitor of sufficient class to round out the field for a given event. Universality places are given to selected athletes who have missed out on the standards.
So it was great news on Friday to learn that Saint Lucia’s Sportsman of the Year, Jordan Augier, will be swimming the men’s 50m Freestyle at the Olympics. His best time during the qualification period, 23.08 seconds, was an agonising three hundredths of a second outside the Olympic Selection Time (the “B” standard), and would have placed him in the top 100 in the Americas for 2016.
Jordan is one of just four athletes granted a universality place, taking the total number of swimmers in that event to 43. A total of 900 swimmers will compete in Rio.
Aside from being the Sportsman of the Year in Saint Lucia, the 21-year-old Leon Hess Comprehensive alumnus is a recent University of Tampa graduate, with a degree in Economics. It is the first time that a member of the UT swim team will compete at the Olympic Games.
At NCAA Division 2 Tampa, Jordan won National Championships in two events during his senior campaign. This past season, Augier combined with his Spartan teammates to win the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:17.27 before taking his second relay championship title in the 400 freestyle relay with a combined time of 2:54.07 alongside his UT teammates.
The swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place from 6 to 13 August at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.