Navigating the Road to Paris 2024 Marathon Swimming: Understanding the Olympic Qualification Process

Navigating the Road to Paris 2024 Marathon Swimming: Understanding the Olympic Qualification Process

The marathon swimming competition will be held in Paris 2024, with athletes from around the world competing in two events that will distribute six medals. Marathon swimming was first introduced at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and has since been a regular event. The competition takes place in open water, and the swimmers complete a 10km route to be declared an Olympic champion.

A total of 44 athletes will compete in the marathon swimming event, with 22 athletes of each gender (six less than Tokyo 2020). Each National Olympic Committee (NOC) can earn a maximum of two quotas per gender, and there are no Universality places on offer. One quota place for each gender is reserved for the host country, but it will only be allocated if an athlete from France does not obtain the quota during the qualification process.

Two Ways to Qualify

There are two ways to qualify for the marathon swimming event: the 2023 and 2024 World Aquatics Championships. In the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, three quotas per gender will be available, with the top three of both genders earning a qualification invitation for Paris 2024. In the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, the top 13 of both genders in the 10km event will obtain a quota place for their NOC.

Paris 2024 Marathon Swimming Competition

One event per gender will be held in the marathon swimming competition, and the first swimmer to touch the finish plate will be declared the Olympic champion. The competition will take place in the Seine river, under the Pont Alexandre III, located between Grand Palais and Les Invalides, which are both Olympic venues. The women’s event will be held on 8 August, and the men’s event will be held on 9 August.

Top Contenders

This is a preview of some of the top contenders to watch in the marathon swimming events at the Paris 2024 Olympics. The Dutch have traditionally dominated this sport, with Maarten van der Weijden being the first Olympic champion in the men’s event, and Ferry Weertman and Sharon van Rouwendaal winning both events in Rio 2016. Van Rouwendaal, who won silver in Tokyo and the 2022 World Championships, is looking to regain her title at Paris 2024. Brazilian Ana Marcela Cunha, who won gold in Tokyo and bronze in the 2022 World Championships, is aiming to become the first swimmer to win consecutive Olympic golds. On the men’s side, German Florian Wellbrock, the reigning champion, may face tough competition from Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, who won bronze in Tokyo and gold in the 10km at the 2022 World Championships. France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier, a bronze medalist from Rio 2016 and silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships, is also a top contender to watch.


Here is the timeline:

  • 14-30 July 2023: 20th FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan
  • 2-18 February 2024: 21st FINA World Championships in Doha, Qatar
  • Within five days after the previous step: FINA informs National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of their qualified athletes
  • Two weeks after the previous step: NOCs confirm to FINA the use of allocated quota places
  • Three weeks after the Olympic Games Qualification event: FINA reallocates all unused quota places
  • 8 July 2024: Deadline for Sport Entries at Paris 2024 Olympics
  • To Be Confirmed (TBC): Technical Meeting
  • 26 July – 11 August 2024: Olympic Games Paris 2024.

Photo:Pont Alexandre III Media Kit Paris 2024