Sarah Sjöström Sights On Rio As 52.78 World Ranks Topper Completes Swedish Open Test

Sarah Sjöström  by Joel Marklund / BILDBYRÅN / courtesy of Arena
Sarah Sjöström by Joel Marklund / BILDBYRÅN / courtesy of Arena

Sarah Sjöström ended her Swedish Open speed test with another swift show of force, a 52.78, off a 25.50 split, in the 100m freestyle taking her to the helm of the world rankings for 2016

All SwimVortex articles are placed in our archive after five days, the library of content available to subscribers.
Log In Register

Comments

commonwombat

Sjostrom has certainly fired a massive warning shot to the rest of the W100free contenders.

Whilst its possible that we may see 1-2 different faces from last years sneak below 53sec; with C2 looking injury compromised I’m seeing C1 as the only likely candidate to potentially better this time by anything more than 0.2sec during the upcoming Trials season.

aswimfan

Sjostrom’s swims this week are all very very close to her Kazan swims, albeit a tiny bit slower.

If she can repeat these swims in Rio, she will win 4 individual medals, one of them gold (100 fly). I just hope she can improve on some if not all of them. Even then, she would become the first female swimmer to medal in all three distances of 50-100-200 in Olympics, in a single or multiple Olympics.

Yozhik

No doubts that this meet was the main check point of Sjostrom’s form and physical conditions to help her coaching team to assess the effectiveness of her preparation program and to make adjustments to it if needed for the remaining period before OG.
For a sidewalk observer these four races give mix signal. Yes, she is got #1 ranking at all but 200 disciplines that she is going to race in Rio. Yes, there was no lost in form and she is as strong now as she was in Kazan. But was there any indications of progress? Will we see better performance than in 2014? In 100 fly for sure. I’m not certain though about her freestyle races that in my opinion show some signs of stagnation. There is some reason behind the fact that very few can be elite strong from 50 through 200 freestyle races in LCM. The attempt to get all can end up with no gold medals at all when each field is swiftest ever. It may make sense to focus strongly on particular distance where she has the best chance for gold medal. The 50m can be the least preferable. At both 100 fly and free she has the strongest second half. She was under 27sec on the way home racing in Berlin. To my knowledge nobody else have achieved such feat. But that was a year of incredible form (23.98, 52.67, 1:53.6-relay, 4:06). She didn’t progress in this department any more. What we have seen here at both 100 races is very interesting. She has the fastest starts among her best races. It looks that that is where she is heading now. Focusing on 200 is a hard decision. She dominates the field but nobody knows what Ledecky is up to. As a sidewalk observer I was impressed with Sarah at this meet. I hope that it was useful for her coaching team as well. I wish her 2016 season to be more fruitful than the previous one.

Iain

Important improvements from Marko-Varga in both 100m and 200m free. Looking good for both Swedish free relays, especially the 4x200m. Hansson didn’t look that great, but apparently is in a heavy block of training.

Sjostrom I think will take gold in the 100m fly and gold / silver in the 100m and 200m frees. However, I think she may miss the medals altogether in the 50m.

Dan smith

great swims by sjostrom. I would like a competitive race in the women,s 4×200 free but the US will get the easy gold.
But can Sweden get a medal?
Sjostrom will be swimming 1:53/1:54 off a flying or flat start. Maybe 1:52?
What about the rest, Michelle Coleman has a recent pb of 1:56 low
Louise hansson?
gardell?
Marko -varga?

What about the Australian,s
Emma McKeon needs to be swimming 1:54 flying start.
Madison Wilson?
Brittany elmslie?

Who else
Melanie wright, is she injured
Kylie palmer is out of the picture
Brianna throssel?

Yozhik

The combined improvement of Coleman and Marco-Vargas at 200 free this season is what Sweden lost to Italy (second place) in Kazan. Is there a rivalry between these two teams? Two years in a row Pellegrini says ‘NO!’ to Swedish team.
It worth to spend 12 min to watch one more time this drama

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=ZCtZofeczPc

John Svensson

Sarah has switched up her freestyle technique(fewer strokes) heading into this season, so posting times close to Kazan is actually a good thing and not really signs of stagnation. Her 100 freestyle doesn’t look too smooth, first 50 was not as fast as it can be and she still posted a strong time. Going out faster while not spending more energy is the absolute key, and stroke length can help that for sure. Just needs to nail it better.

Hansson was said to have picked up some type of injury earlier in the season, so that explains not being able to be at her best right now. A bit of a concern for the relays but at least there’s time to work with.

Marko-Varga 55/2.00 lows at this meet. Ida Lindborg also posted 55.2. So there’s five girls now 55.2 or better flat, a much better outlook than Kazan(Kuras was the 4th girl, her PB is 55.9). 0.5-1 second shaven off these times for Marko-Varga will make the freestyle relay teams very competitive.

The 4×200 could then have these splits:
Sjöström: 1.53 low
Coleman: 1.55 low
Hansson: 1.57 low
Marko-Varga: 1.58.5
All roughly. Could be a 3-4 second improvement on Kazan, which would’ve meant silver there. Competition in Rio will be tougher but it should take you into the medal talks. Forming your team the right way could also have an impact. For me the best is Coleman-Hansson-Sjöström-Marko Varga. Start strong, stay in it, have Sjöström to hopefully push you neck and neck with USA and then hope for the best on the anchor.

Yozhik

@John Svensson. Thank you for correcting me on Sjostrom style and prospective. As I said I was looking from aside and have no inside information. Stagnation may not be the best word to describe what I feel about Sarah’s freestyle performance. It can be that she peaked in 2014. There was nothing shown different since then. She was stably good but at a little bit lower point. Her 25.50 is the fastest start of all her sub 53sec races. If you think that that is not fast enough and we can expect more from her then I am getting very excited about 100 freestyle race in Rio. But she was 0.33sec slower on the way home today than she swam in Berlin. It is nice to be faster at start if you are not losing at finish. No questions about it 🙂
There is also an observation that at the time when had no progress at freestyle Sjostrom succeeded tremendously at 50 and 100 fly. So not improving in freestyle disciplines wasn’t an issue of losing physical form in general. There was some opinion exhibited at this site (maybe Luigi) that a swimmer cannot excel at two different styles at the same time. Either one or another. If it is so then may be she has to leave her 100 fly along for a while and work on freestyle only. Unless she wants a gold medal at world record time, that actually is very possible.

Yozhik

Forget about racing US team at W4x200. Beat Italy first 🙂
Putting Marco Varga at the final leg is inhuman. Hasn’t she had enough humiliation in Kazan race? If she is the slowest in the team it doesn’t mean that all disappointment of defeat has to be put on her shoulders. Have anybody noticed that Erica Musso from Italian team was seventh after her leg in relay. I think not many have. But there were a great deal of talks that Swidish team was awful at final leg. Sure, everybody will if they swim against charging Pellegrini and Ledecky. Why not to put Sjostrom to finish relay. Is it too painful not to finish first? Or maybe she is not a strong racer to come from behind? If it is so then she has to forget to compete with Ledecky at individual 200. It will be pure racing, unless some of these two girls is ready for World Record. But Sjostrom is very good with coming from behind at 100 and I remember her 200 SCM world record when she out raced Hosszu. Then why not to do same at 4×200 relay.

aswimfan

Dan Smith,

Schlanger is focusing on 50-100 only this year, as she has had injuries.

As for w4x200 in Rio, it does not matter if you put Sjostrom as the lead off, middle or anchor if they cannot go faster by 4 seconds than their Kazan’s swim, then they are not going to medal.

Svensson’s expectations of:
Sjöström: 1.53 low
Coleman: 1.55 low
Hansson: 1.57 low
Marko-Varga: 1.58.5

In my opinion are very very optimistic, because that means PBs by all four swimmers, and at quite a margin too. It is possible, but very rare that all four legs in a relay swim their PBs at the same time.

For all the exciting scenario by Yozhik about Ledecky, Pellegrini and Sjostrom racing each other at the end of the relay, it’s quite a fantasy I’d say. Ledecky will be at least 15 m ahead of both Pellegrini and Sjostrom.
And why are people ignoring China and Australia?
It is more likely that China and Australia will fight it for the lesser medals than Sweden and Italy.

p1robi

I bet she flops at the Olympics again.

Yozhik

Asf, why is it so difficult to give me a break? If you have to share some knowledge or information then go ahead, share. Why is it always necessary to enter conversation by criticizing someone else’s view or position. Unless you got hurt or offended in some way, please don’t do it. At least in my case. There is no competition here of who is the greatest expert. Everybody knows that you are. I like fantasy about sport. That gives me a pleasure of imagining and expecting something nice and exciting. In most cases that is actually what makes people a sport fans. What’s wrong with that? During last few years Italian and Swedish relays fiercely competed against each other in close races. But Pellegrini and Sjostrom never raced each other in same leg. I am finding it interesting to see the race where two of them anchor team efforts.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

I am as entitled as you in offering my views opinions, which may be different than yours. You are entitled to yours, of course, that’s why I have never asked you to stop giving your opinions/arguments whenever you have different ones, of which there have been plenty. I hope you can extend the same courtesy.

As for Pellegrini, Sjostrom and Ledecky racing each other, I think you will get your wish. In individual 200 free. Which I find more exciting, equal and better because there will be none who will be disadvantaged due to factors outside their help.

Yozhik

@asf: the major difference between individual and relay races is that in former case it is all about personal ambitions. One can give up on it if there is no more motivation or should something went wrong during the race. In later case a relay swimmer doesn’t have such a luxury. Relay is more demanding regarding swimmer’s personality. Therefore many swimmers value relay medals higher than individual ones and very often perform better working for the team than when they swim solo. There is so much in sharing excitement of the win with teammates. You will never see such emotional outburst from the winner of individual race.

gheko

Anyone can win a relay gold if they are on the right team, Swimmers do not train for relay medals, they train for individual medals at the Olympics, its the ultimate!

commonwombat

Dan, with regards to AUS W4X200; both McKeonE & Barratt have been below 1.56 this season but then it drops away to 1.58s. Wright has ruled herself out of the 200 due to ongoing rib injuries and Palmer is out. Basically, the remaining spots are a lottery.

I tend to agree with ASF’s read of this relay. It IS correct to say that it is exceedingly rare to have all four swimmers swimming PB legs or even “firing” at the same time. More often the winner is the one with the least “mediocre” legs and/or someone swimming an absolute barnstormer leg that separates them from the rest.

Whilst Herr Svensson’s projected splits are distinctly optimistic to my eyes, I do agree with his relay structure. There is no perfect way of disguising a weakness in relays and front end loading is probably the “least worst” option.

At least it will place you in a medal position where you can potentially hold on whereas using them earlier may place you in a situation where you are too far back to get back in the medal hunt.

Yozhik

If it was that simple then why to race at all. Just do a paper exercise and award those four who have better times on paper. Why do you think it is up to coach to compose the team. Why do you think young McLoughlin was let to swim the third leg in Kazan relay regardless she was not originally listed for the final and had a tough fly race at same session.

Verram

I would be happy for Sjostrom to take the number one ranking in the 100 free going into Rio.. That would give the Campbell sisters the motivation to chase a particular target come the Olympics…

aswimfan

Although I disagree with John Svensson’s projection, I forgot to say that I also agree with his relay order as has also been elaborated by commonwombat above.

Yozhik, if there’s medal given for a swimmer for their dedication to relays, I think Sjostrom should win the gold easily. She always swims her best in the relays and she swims ALL relay prelims, even at the expense of sacrificing an individual event. Not many great swimmers are willing to do that. I didn’t even see mcEvoy swimming 4×100 free relay prelims in Kazan, for example.

And Gheko put in succinctly the reasons why individual medals are more valuable than relay ones.

Put Sjostrom in USA team, and she can conceivably come home from Rio with three relay golds.
Put Ledecky in Sweden team, and she will come home from Rio with zero relay medal.

Yozhik

Gheko, if there is no competition then there is no competition. You haven’t discovered anything new. Everybody can win individual gold medal if the field is extremely weak.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

What do you mean by mcLaughlin not originally in the original list for the 4×200 relay final?

You must have been pretty close with US team coaches for Kazan to have such inside information.

And what does selecting an in-form swimmer for the relays have anything to do whether relay medal is more valuable than individual ones?

You said “If it was that simple then why to race at all. Just do a paper exercise and award those four who have better times on paper”
But that’s the only thing we can do here, we are all armchair spectators and fans of competitive swimming. all we can do here is paper exercise. Unless you are a US national coach, which is a possibility.

aswimfan

By this
“Put Sjostrom in USA team, and she can conceivably come home from Rio with three relay golds.
Put Ledecky in Sweden team, and she will come home from Rio with zero relay medal.”

I meant exchanging Sjostrom with Ledecky for both countries.

Yozhik

Asf, before you making a statement about value of relay medals please specify who the evaluator is. You – medal counter or Egerszegi or Franklin or Pellegrini or many other outstanding swimmers who have both individual and relay medals.

p1robi

4/200 US, Aus, China then Europe. Unless China is doped out before hand.

Yozhik

Gheko, what does it mean ‘right team’ ? Is Australian 400 freestyle relay a right team? Or American 800 relay? Will they offer you the forth spot? Yeah, sometimes it is not easy to be an “anyone”. 🙂 you see, there is only one step from being a right team to become a miserable one.

gheko

The right team is the fastest team at least out of 3 of four legs, yeah mistakes happen but generally thats the team that wins

aswimfan

Yozhik,

I am not Egerszegi, Franklin or Pellegrini, and neither are you.

And by the way, Egerszegi does not have any olympics or worlds relay medal. Just think how many she would have had if she had been an American or East Germans back then.

The point is: it’s ridiculous to compare swimmers’ greatness based on their relay medals.

Jenny Thompson has boatloads of major relay golds. By your standards, Thompson is the greatest female swimmer in the history of swimming.

aswimfan

By the way,

Maybe you can ask either Pellegrini or Sjostrom or Ledecky or all three of them:
Which one do they prefer, winning 4×200 gold or winning individual 200 free?

The answer should settle our debate.

Yozhik

Gheko, thank you for not taking my comment personally. I don’t know what kind of swimmer you are 🙂
Kelsi Worrell showed “A” standard 54.37 at 100 free in France, improving pb by 0.36sec. It looks like there would be no place for veterans in American 400 free relay. American relay team can be the youngest one, that has more recently improved personal bests than any other team. That increases probability that they can fire simultaneously at right moment. Should Australian ‘right’ relay team worry if they already have three of five fastest swimmers this season? Yes, they should if there will be an issue with fourth member of the team and they are not swimming at their best. I agree that Campbell sisters are not training for relay. They are targeting personal medals. But it can easily happen that they can win personally not showing the best times, but this level of performance can be critical for relay to win.

Yozhik

Asf, you have to learn more about Egerszegi, to know which medal in her collection she values most. Not being Egerszegi is not an excuse of making such statements. I actually wish you were Egerszegi or Pellegrini or Franklin. In this case your postings about swimmer’s values would have more sense.

gheko

Yozik what planet are you on? The Aussies will win by 2 seconds. you heard it first here!

aswimfan

Yozhik,
of course given that Egerszegi never won any major relay medal and the only senior international relay medal she won was a silver 4×100 medley at euro champs, she values that one and only one relay medal sentimentally.

Now, ask Jenny Thompson whether she’s willing to exchange two relay golds for a major individual gold (which she doesn’t have any), and I’m sure she’d say says in a heartbeat.

I’m sure Phelps also valued sentimentally more his Beijing 4×100 gold than his 200 free or fly golds due to the dramatic win.

But ask any one of every swimmers which one they prefer to win, one individual gold or one relay gold, given no other choice (meaning in isolation, and the , and I am willing to bet house and farms that they

You keep telling me how I never agree with you or that I never addressed your points, but you kept missing how fair I am that I expressively agreed with you in many other comments. You also intentionally never addressed my points:

1. Sjostrom and Ledecky exchange nationalities for another, Sjostrom for USA would leave Rio with at least two relay golds (4x1medley and 4×2 free) with a possibility of 4x1free gold or at least silver, while Ledecky for Sweden.
2. In Kazan, Qiu Yuhan was a far greater swimmer than all of Pellegrini, Carlin, Rouwendhal, Meilutyte, Di Rado, Kromowidjojo, Boyle, Wilson, Lawrence, Adams, etc.
3. Jenny Thompson is the greatest female swimmer of all time, by far.

aswimfan

internet ate my sentence:

But ask any one of every swimmers which one they prefer to win, one individual gold or one relay gold, given no other choice (meaning in isolation, and the only win they can have is either of those two only) , and I am willing to bet house and farms that they would prefer to win individual gold.

aswimfan

Gah, more sentence missing:

1. Sjostrom and Ledecky exchange nationalities for another, Sjostrom for USA would leave Rio with at least two relay golds (4x1medley and 4×2 free) with a possibility of 4x1free gold or at least silver, while Ledecky for Sweden would leave Rio with only a 4×200 bronze.. IF… she split 1:50.00

commonwombat

With regards to the individual v relay issue; whilst it’s fair to say that individual endeavour would be the prime motivation for the overwhelming majority, the fact is that team/relay may be the sole or major avenue to higher honours for many or even for national units.

A nation may not have an individual who is a legitimate contender in say the 100/200free but if they have a group who are at the level below; if this group can perform to their “level”, they can be very competitive and if a higher seed mucks up/fails to perform they can find themselves on the podium.

I’m starting to read some pronouncements on who WILL win and by how much. Whilst we can make reasoned judgements on who we THINK/HOPE will win; we cannot KNOW so.

It only takes one misjudged exchange and a favourite can be disqualified. Elite athletes at the top of their condition are very finely balanced health-wise and are therefore very susceptible to illness. It doesn’t take much for entire teams to be stricken at major events.

By now means am I saying “no more relay conjecture !!”. Far from it, I’ll be putting in more than my 2c worth …… but we are making these “calls” on an “all things being equal”/no muck-ups basis.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

Since you seem to be familiar and on personal basis with many great swimmers, please ask this following question to Phelps:

Which one he prefers to win gold in Rio (given the chance that those two events are the only ones he will swim):
100 fly or 4×100 medley.

You have your answer.

aswimfan

correction on a sentence:

Which one he prefers to win gold in Rio (given the CONDITION that those two events are the only ones he will swim):
100 fly or 4×100 medley

aswimfan

But if you don’t know Phelps personally, you can ask Ledecky which you seem to know very very well:

If she has to choose, does she choose:
1. winning 400/800 free golds, or
2. winning 4×100/4×200 golds
in Rio?

Yozhik

I’m sorry asf, it was late night in my place, I got asleep and missed most of what you said 🙁
Can you please repeat it one more time 😀
But actually don’t bother. As gheko noticed correctly I am from different planet and will hardly understand your sense of reasoning.

beachmouse

While Thompson is missing individual Olympic gold, she does have two proper WCs gold in the 100 butterfly (Perth 1998, Barcelona 2003) and another in the 100 free (Perth 1998). Course it helped that Aussie customs cleared out a lot of dopers from the women’s side that year even before the meet started.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

Thank you for dismissing altogether my reasons and questions. I will remember this next time you ask for the same courtesy to avoid wasting time.

aswimfan

One of the most underrated swimmers of all time, Kirsty Coventry, won 7 Olympics and 8 Worlds medals, all of them in individual events.

If only Zimbabwe coaches put Coventry as anchor, she/they would have won some Olympics or worlds relay medals. After all, Coventry was a great chaser.

beachmouse

Kirsty has spent enough time in he States that she could have had US citizenship for a while now ala Darian Townsend. (I’d be really surprised if she didn’t have a green card at the least.) But she dearly loves her country that can be a bit hit or miss on loving her back, and keeps going with a Zim cap.

Craig Lord

Quite so. I think that to be all to Kirsty’s credit, beachmouse … a nation’s borders lie around the heart not a political regime; I hope Zimbabwean youth gain inspiration from what she does and what she stands for.

Personal Best

Indeed beachmouse – wasn’t it teammates of those cleared out at customs who beat her in 1996?
She COULD have had an Olympic gold in the 100 free.

She’s often forgotten when it comes to those swimmers cheated out of gold medals by dopers.

ThereaLuigi

Yozhik, I dont think I ever said you cant be successful in two different strokes. History proves otherwise. Unless one of the two is breaststroke :-). Then again I dont remember everything I said 🙂

gheko

My comment about Australia winning the relay by two seconds was actually a joke, nobody wins medals on paper!

Yozhik

@ThereaLuigi. Ok, then it was another smart guy. Not many people are here who talk intelligently about technica,l physiological and psychological parts of swimming training process and swimming competition. That’s why I decided it was you. The discussion was last year. And it wasn’t about possibility to be successful in more than one stroke. I noticed that Sjostrom made significant progress in fly that year that didn’t coincided with the progress in freestyle. There was actually no progress at all. I was explained very convincingly and in details that if elite swimmer concentrates on improvement of one style the technic of another one gets frozen at some stage without changes in any direction. I believed that this person knew what he was talking about.

Yozhik

Of course gheko, everybody took it as a joke. As of today only two countries have four ‘A’ swimmers at 100 freestyle. That is Australia and US. All Americans are ranked between McKeon and Barratt and are behind on paper not by 2 ( what a joke 🙂 ) , but by 3.5 seconds.
My point actually was that if Sjostrom doesn’t progress below 52.7 ( and so far it is a pretty decent assumption) then there will be no need for C1 to swim 52.3 to win gold. With such attitude, being sure with the relay dominance, without having strong competition at relay leg she may not show her best in relay. It is psychologically possible. Also let’s see in a week if McKeon takes the second spot at 100. If this doesn’t happen then she will mostly concentrate on her other disciplines but not on 100 free. I listed all these hypothetical situations to show that absolutely healthy and feat swimmers can fail to win as a team if they don’t concentrate on the race but will consider it given for granted. There is other thing: the dominant team is usually very careful with exchanges. That may give opponents 0.3-0.6sec advantage. I’m not predicting Austrian team to loose. I just saying that even the ‘right’ team doesn’t have much room for error or allowing to be sluggish at some points of the race.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

what are “A” swimmers? i haven’t heard such term before.

Yozhik

Swimmers who’s times were qualified by FINA as ‘A’

aswimfan

Ach so.
So FINA A qualifying times for Rio. Thanks.

Yozhik

Yes, that would be a correct wording. I was looking for shortcuts. Such linguistic inventions are very popular within communities of recent immigrants. 🙂 , but can be confusing or even comical. That actually adds some fun to our life, unless you are not a flight controller at tower in airport.

ThereaLuigi

In that case, Yozhik, I might have said something to that effect. In an elite versatile swimmer, focusing on one particular stroke in training could affect the others. I dont know if this is the case with S. Sjostrom. If you look at her path, she is a bit of a mystery, although her natural talent is out of the question. As it happens with many butterfliers, she is also incredibly good at freestyle.

commonwombat

Luigi, whilst not an unknown phenomena; its very rare for multi-stroke swimmers to be on “top peak” form in both/all their strokes at the one time.

Most will “take” a scenario where they’re in record breaking form in one and excellence in the other. I feel Sjostrom would be one of those if her fly is on/around WR and her free still has her contending for gold in at least 2 events.

ThereaLuigi

I think we are basically in agreement, CW. Only a few swimmers can be the best in multiple strokes at the same time. I don’t need to mention them, we all know them, they are legend for a reason.

Leave a comment

Post a comment with your SwimVortex Account. Don't have a SwimVortex Account, Sign Up?

(*) Fields are required!
×