The Swedish National team will be heading to Barcelona for the World Championships this summer without their biggest star.
Therese Alshammar, who has earned three Olympic medals and 25 World Championships medals, announced in an interview with SVT Sport that she and Johan Wallberg, her partner and coach, will be welcoming a new member of their family into the world in June, “I am pregnant and expecting a baby and have a completely different challenge and view of life, but am overjoyed.”
“There is an incredible shift both physically in the body and then also mentally so there will be a lot of ideas and thoughts on life that is much larger than what I had before when I only had myself to think about. A lot of changes which I see as very positive and amazing.”
The 35 year old Alshammar competed at her first major international meet at the age of 17 making the semi-finals in the 100 backstroke at the 1994 World Championships. She has competed for Sweden in five Olympic Games (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) with her greatest success coming at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney where she won silver in both the 50 and 100 meter freestyle and lead 4 x 100 freestyle relay team to a bronze.
Alshammar won the 50 freestyle and took silver in the 50 butterfly at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai and headed into the 2012 London Olympics with confidence and momentum, which quickly came to an end when she was diagnosed with a herniated disc in her neck on the first day of competition. The injury forced her to withdraw from the 100 freestyle and 4 x 100 freestyle relay.
She did go on to compete in the 50 freestyle finishing sixth.
Alshammar has continued to train, even though she has had to get used to seeing no progression in her performance, she is very happy with why that is happening, “I have been able to train, not as intense as before, but roughly the same number of sessions a week,” Alshammar told SVT Sport.
“I have of course had to change things just in order to take care of the body that is changing, but it’s a different challenge when you’re used to get better and better. Now I have experienced the opposite, no matter how much I exert myself, so I actually get worse and worse, but I can see that it leads to something wonderful in the end.”
She still has aspirations of continuing with her career, “One of my biggest dreams is to try to continue to compete and see if I can develop even more and become even better, but it remains to be seen.”
“I still have a desire to swim the fastest in the world again.”
The plan is to return to competition in the fall in time to compete in parts of the World Cup series, but Alshammar has made it clear what her number one priority is and that she will only commit to being the best mother she can.
“This (pregnancy) is a fantastic new adventure, no matter what happens.”