Swim Ireland have said they are changing their policy as regards swimmers qualifying for the re-scheduled Olympic games, to allow swimmers who have already achieved an Olympic Qualification Time to be pre-selected, subject to ratification by the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI).
The federation added that those that do not go below a qualification time at the Irish Olympic Trials in April (20th – 24th) can now also qualify at a nominated meet in June.
With the change in criteria by the governing body, both Darragh Greene and Shane Ryan can now both be considered for the Games as both have posted performance times under the FINA 'A' time in their respective events.
Greene achieved ‘A’ times in the 100m Breaststroke at the FINA World Championships in 2019 and 200m Breaststroke at the Irish Open Championships in 2019, whilst Rio 2016 Olympian Ryan also attained a time at the 2019 Open in the 100m Backstroke.
Swim Ireland had originally demanded that both had to swim a time within 1% of their their Olympic A time at the Open meet in April to be considered.
The governing body said the revised policy now provides four avenues - as opposed to the original two - by which an athlete can be selected for the Irish Olympic team.
In Stage 1, Swim Ireland will nominate athletes who have already achieved a FINA 'A' qualification standard in an individual event in the original designated period - which concluded at the end of 2020.
They will now nominate additional athletes to the team from those who achieve a FINA 'A' time in individual events at the 2021 Irish Open Championships.
Swim Ireland will attempt to qualify one or more relays to the Games via the 2021 LEN European Championships in Budapest Inn May and then hope to nominate additional athletes to the team from those who achieve a FINA 'A' time in individual events at one additional nominated meet in June.
That is designed to facilitate Irish swimmers overseas, such as Mona McSharry and Nicholas Quinn who are training in the USA and Scotland respectively.
National Senior Team Head Coach Ben Higson said, "With the uncertainty that has surrounded and continues to surround us regarding COVID-19, it has been imperative that we respond and not react to the situation we find ourselves in.
"The new four stage approach provides fairness in opportunity and will hopefully ensure as many of our athletes as possible can be on the plane to Tokyo. Athletes and coaches have worked tirelessly throughout the past four years and deserve to have the best possible opportunity to qualify."