A 1:54 Over 200 In Tow, How Far Will Swedish Sprinter Sarah Sjostrom Stretch Herself?

Sarah Sjostrom [Photo: Arena]

Sarah Sjostrom’s 200 free potential is clear but claiming gold come the call of history requires the protagonist to get as close to perfect storm as possible, with talent, hard work, preparedness for the burning deck and cauldron of the hour joined by desire in the mix of must-haves. A 1:54 from Sjostrom raised once more the question ‘will she, won’t she’, while swimmer and coach have explained the balance of chances as they see them

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Sarah Sjostrom’s 200 free potential is clear but claiming gold come the call of history requires the protagonist to get as close to perfect storm as possible, with talent, hard work, preparedness for the burning deck and cauldron of the hour joined by desire in the mix of must-haves. A 1:54 from Sjostrom raised once more the question ‘will she, won’t she’, while swimmer and coach have explained the balance of chances as they see them

Comments

aswimfan

So I was not mistaken in thinking Sarah plans not to swim 200 free in Kazan.

Until this year, I kept advocating for Sarah to drop 200 from her Kazan repertoire because I want her to win the certain 50 100 fly. But now, I do hope she changes her mind and swim 200 as a selfish swim fan, I want to see the blockbuster 200 free final in Kazan.

Danjohnrob

Mr Lord: Reading this article was like reading a “Sports Illustrated” article, but about swimming instead of basketball! Where else can a fan like me read an investigative journalistic piece on our sport that includes quotes from athletes, coaches and national sporting administrators? Thank you for providing this insight into an intriguing athlete and her event selection process!

aswimfan

I concur with DanJohnRob

ApplesAndOranges

danjohnrob, this is the absolute best place for real swimming related journalism.

sweswimmer

It’s a great article about a great swimmer! Thank you

Bad Anon

Shanghai 2011, Franklin could have won medal in all backstroke events had she qualified for the 100.

for33

I understand Ms. Sjoestrom and her coach(es) concerns with regards to over-tiring herself (relative to her competition) for the sprint events if she swims the 200m free race. But I wonder if they are not over-emphasizing the importance of the 50m sprint events. While she seems to be well ahead of everyone else in 50m butterfly, in the 50m freestyle it is not so clear. And winning in these sprints depends so much on the race start that it is debatable whether winning such races is a measure of swimming talents or, in equal measure, a measure of “race-smarts”.

Unlike many of her sprinting competitors: the Campbell sisters, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Jeannette Ottensen, Ms. Herasimenia, Ms. Halsall, and others that I’m sure I’m forgetting, Ms. Sjoestrom (as well as Femke Hemskert) have the clear ability of being competitive also in 200m freestyle. In other words, Ms. Sjoestrom has the possibility of being remembered in history as the incredible sprinter that could also challenge (and even outrace) the 200m specialists, instead of being remembered just as an incredible sprinter.

I think Ms. Sjoestrom has already established (and for a long time) her reputation as a sprinter; instead she should now aim at showing the world that she can do much more. If there are failures, at least she tried, which is nothing to be ashamed of or to have regrets.

luigi

The more I read about these difficult choices these very talented swimmers must make, the more I appreciate what Phelps did 7 years ago

Yozhik

Cannot be more agree with for33 with some small addition. The swimming at world record level or even at champion level requires not only natural talent and abilities but passion and dedication as well. Have we seen this from Sarah? I haven’t. So she is able to show consistently elite time at 200m free that can help her to win in Kazan. Is she able to spark and show something unbelievable to “being remembered in history …”. I am not sure.
What you will find below is about 200 fly but I think it could be easily extrapolated on 200 free as well.

Craig Lord April 5, 2015
So Cal: in her own words in 2012 “I can’t swim breaststroke” 🙂 ,.,… by the same logic, her 200 ‘fly is a clear golden shot, except “I hate the 200 ‘fly”… and so on … world records and gold medals come where there’s a genuine will …
http://www.swimvortex.com/femke-heemskerk-on-52-69-dutch-record-sarah-sjostrom-24-6-fly-59-9-100-back/

aswimfan

for33,

I don’t think Sarah and her coach over-emphasize 50 free.

The reason they said she will always swim 50 free no matter what is because 50 free comes at the end of Olympics and Worlds program. So it does not affect her other events in any way. Basically for Sarah, it’s a bonus event, in addition to her being so good in it.

roy

Luigi Phelps was great but the US relay team has always had dept so he had an easier choice swimming the relays than sjostrom. If Phelps was swimming for Sweden, I doubt if he would have swum the relays when he had the 100/200 flies and 200/400 IM,s to swim bcos Sweden lacks dept.

Yozhik

🙂 🙂 Aswimfan, danjohnrob, ApplesAndOranges, despite your feelings are very sincere, please don’t put that much honey on Mr. Lord. You are spoiling him. The more critics he sees the better his articles will come. This is the Law of Nature. He got so used to readers’ appreciation that don’t even replies with “thank you” to your dithyrambs. Thank you in advance Mr. Lord for not getting mad with me 🙂

Danjohnrob

@Yozhik: Your fluency in English is much better than I imagined! I had to look up “dithyrambs”. Thanks for teaching me a new word today!

Yozhik

@Danjohnrob. Thank you for teaching me good manners.

Jay

Having semi-finals in 200 or shorter really tacks on a burden to those even at the top of their game in a number of events. Sarah is clearly one of those. And since she herself identifies 50&100 as her focus, she may just well leave the 200 off her individual schedule and produce a scorcher leg on her relay. But being at or near the top in four other individual events still makes for a robust program. I much prefer this website over another unnamed one. This one has more serious articles and does not seem to be inhabited by spam posters who throw something up every five minutes. Thanks Craig, keep up the top notch work.

Personal Best

The 200 free would be richer as a spectacle if she did swim it, and such a shame that the best of the best cannot swim due to scheduling, or the need for semis, or even heats (I know, getting far fetched).

But when will we ever see the best in the world go up against each other?

Luigi

Yes, Roy, the relays; but MP still raced 5 individual events, among which two of the most crucifying, the 200 Fly and the 400 IM.

roy

Luigi the 200 fly and 400 IM are very tough. Phelps is a great swimmer no doubt. That is why I said with Phelps swimming tough events like the 200 fly and 400 IM along with the 100 fly and 200 IM, he wouldn’t have wasted his time and energy swimming the relays if he was swimming for the Swedish team which has/had no dept. If he was competing for sweden, he would have swum the prelims and finals of every relay without a guarantee of medalling ( even if he had a super fast split ). Sjostrom is competing for Sweden and even if she split of 1:52 in the 4×200 free relay,there,s no guarantee that Sweden will win the gold medal or even medal at all bcos Sweden lacks dept. So swimming the relay could be a waste of effort for her.
And if Phelps was competing for Sweden and swam all the relays (prelims and finals), then he would have reduced his schedule in the individual races to have a chance of winning a gold medal. Phelps is a great athlete and has good recovery but he,s not superman which means he alone can,t lift a team like Sweden to a relay gold medal.

roy

(Even if she split a ) not even if she split of sorry

luigi

Ok Roy point taken.

Going back to the main subject, I was thinking Sjostrom is really a different animal. The only (relatively) modern swimmers who I can think of who were great across the 3 distances in the free (50, 100 and 200) are Matt Biondi and Peter van den Hoogenband. But swimming was less specialized back then. Today you have 50 and 100 freestylers, or 100 and 200 freestylers (depending if they have great front-end or back-end speed), but 50 to 200? Just her, if I am not mistaken.

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