...And to add insult to injury, they are having this individual swimming in the 1500-free rather than his signature event the 800-free; an event he swam in Shanghai. (Yes, I know there is no mens 800m free in the Olympics. The point here is that he has no qualification time whatsoever.)
Here is how the story goes: FINA has this rule "thingy" called the "universality quota." It means that a national federation or country can enter their team into the Olympics but if some of their swimmers are too slow and don't make an Olympic time standard this swimmer or swimmers can be vetoed by FINA. However, This "universality quota" also allows FINA to choose a team or a swimmer for the respective country if members don't qualify. I am unclear why FINA can veto those who do have qualifying times but in this case they did.
Here is what happened in India - From the Hindu Sport:
"...We had four swimmers who crossed the Olympic Selection Timing. But those who crosses Olympic Qualification Timing gets automatic Olympic berth. Only some of OST standard achievers qualify for Olympics and FINA picks these swimmers at the end of qualification process," Nanavati said. ..."
"Viradhwal, Sandeep, Aaron and Sangvekar were not included in the list of those qualified from among [the Olympic Selection Timing] swimmers. So we requested FINA that India should not go unrepresented in the Olympics and last night I got a letter from the FINA that Gagan has been granted a berth in men's 1500m freestyle under Universality quota," he added.
Note, Gagan's specialty is the 800-m free. He swam it in Shanghai and apparently his attendance there was the sole reason why he was picked. Though he does not have a qualifying time for the 1500-m free FINA has picked him to swim it.
Now the confusing part is though the swimmers mentioned in the above article, Viradhwal, Sandeep, Aaron and Sangvekar, had met the Olympic qualifying standard, why would FINA arbitrarily choose a swimmer who does not own an Olympic qualifying time when four other of his teammates do?
Why does FINA feel that a rule clause within the "universality quota" that a swimmer must have swam at world Championships take precedence over four other Indian swimmers that met the time standards?
It appears India has been forced to accept this decision and the Indian men's team will be a "team of one."
Have you noticed that the governing bodies run their operations like "kingdoms" with absolute authority rather than administrators so that the best man or woman can win? I am astonished that FINA can veto a team.