The Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF) has announced a pool of 13 swimmers from which two representatives will be selected for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
- Men’s: Mohamed Issa, Mohammed Ridhwan, Maina Monyo, Harunani Maaahir, Tabuka Bifwoli, Danilo Rosaflio and Talib Swaleh
- Women: Sylvia Brunhlener, Maria Brunhlener, Rebecca Kamau, Emily Muteti, Lucia Ruchti and Imara Bella Thorpe
Without FINA cuts “A” or “B” in the list, the country’s path to swimming at the Olympic Games is guided by the universality system, which cuts up to two places per country (one man and one woman) without a formal Olympiad.
Traditionally, athletes had to compete in the previous year’s World Championships to qualify for a Universality selection. However, due to the delay caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, this rule has been lifted for Tokyo. This gives countries like Kenya the opportunity to choose from a much larger pool of athletes than would otherwise be possible.
Kenya sent 4 swimmers to the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, the only discipline they competed in there.
On the men’s side, the list consisted of Issa Mohamed (62nd in the 50 fly @ 25.44) and Danilo Rosafio (69th in the 50 free @ 23.86; 83rd in the 100 free @ 52.66). For women, the country was represented by Maria Brunlehner (51st in the 100 free @ 59.08; 43rd in the 100 chest @ 1: 15.09) and Emily Muteti (45th in the 50 free @ 26.81; 40th in the 100 flies @ 1: 02.88).
The country also entered the mixed 400 free and mixed 400 medley seasons where they finished 25th out of 36 seasons and 26th out of 40 seasons, respectively.
The selected athletes are selected based on their top times.
From the group, 2 of the women live in the United States: Rebecca Kamau Trains to the northwest while Emmy Muteti swims at Grand Canyon University. At least one other Maina MonyoTrains normally operate in Canada with the Olympic Swim Club in Edmonton; while some are linked to overseas programs in the UK.
Kenya’s most famous swimmers in history are brothers Jason and David Dunford. Jason, the flag bearer of the country at the 2012 opening ceremonies in London, took 5th place in the 100 flight at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Kenya has won 103 Olympic medals in its history: 96 from athletics (athletics + road racing & race walking) and 7 from boxing.
The announcement comes because the Kenyan Swimming Association has still not held any new elections after the FINA was suspended. According to FINA, the association should be suspended until “elections are held in accordance with FINA rules”.
The Kenyan Swimming Association has not held any elections since September 2014. The association’s former president resigned in 2017 after being arrested for theft in late 2016. He was one of many Kenyan sports officials arrested following a lack of equipment and money-related investigations related to the 2016 Olympics. Ekumbo called the decision a “retirement”.
The Kenyan Olympic Committee states that if the association remains suspended, it will continue to have the authority to participate in the Olympic Games for athletes regardless of the swimming association.