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USA Swimming offers $1 million for Olympic relay sweep

USA Swimming Relay

USA’s Claire Weinstein (2nd R), USA’s Leah Smith (2nd L), USA’s Katie Ledecky (L) and USA’s Bella Sims (R) celebrate taking gold in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay finals during the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships at Duna Arena in Budapest on June 22, 2022. (Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP) (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

USA Swimming will reward its athletes financially if the Americans sweep all seven relays at this summer’s world championships and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The program announced Tuesday by the sport’s national governing body involves the men’s and women’s 4x100m medley relays, 4x100m freestyle relays, 4x200m free relays and mixed-gender 4x100m medley relay.

If the U.S. wins all seven of these relays at the world meet in Fukuoka, Japan, in July, all the pool and open-water world team members will split $500,000. If the Americans finish first, second or third in all the relays, they will split $150,000.

At the Paris Olympics, if the U.S. sweeps the relays, all the swimmers will split $1 million. If the team earns a medal in every relay, the athletes will share $250,000.

“This is an unprecedented incentive program with the ultimate goal of extraordinary relay success,” national team managing director Lindsay Mintenko said. ”While many might see swimming as an individual sport, we at USA Swimming know that a team focus is the very core of our success. We have a proud tradition in Olympic and World Championship relays, and we hope to foster that culture and camaraderie in the next wave of athletes.”

To qualify for a relay at the Olympics, a country needs to finish in the top three at the world championships. The other way in is to post a top-13 time among countries in combined results from this summer’s world meet and the February 2024 Worlds in Qatar.

The U.S. won two of the seven relays at the Tokyo Olympics, its fewest relay titles since 1956, when there were two relays on the Olympic program.

It last swept the Olympic relays in 1996, when there were six.

It won five of eight relays at the 2022 World Championships.

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