Butterfly Worlds Collide As Ikee Joins Sjostrom In Turkey Next Month

Two of the world’s fastest butterfliers ever will convene in Turkey next month as reigning world record holder Sarah Sjostrom and world junior record holder Rikako Ikee are set to train together in the city of Antalya.

Per Sports Hochi, the speedy pair will train together at Gloria Sports Arena, the home base of Energy Standard Swimming Club, of which Sjostrom is a member. Ikee is slated to visit approximately 10 days, although the schedule is fluid at this point. Ikee’s relatively new coachJiro Miki, reportedly has ties to Energy Standard coach James Gibson, from a previous stint in the UK, which is how this training trip came about.

Miki sees a golden opportunity to train with Olympic gold medalist Sjostrom, Ikee’s biggest butterfly rival at the moment, with the two maestros sitting 1 & 2 in the world rankings of both the women’s 100m and 50m fly events.

“To win the best player in the world, you have to know your opponent well,” Ikee says Coach Miki has conveyed to his 18-year-old protegé.

“I know her [Sjostrom’s] competitive strengths and weaknesses in the past two years, I know my strengths and weaknesses and I want to bridge the difference.”

While Sjostrom is kicking off her World Cup Series campaign in Kazan, Russia, Ikee is coming off one of the most impressive performances ever at an Asian Games. The teen captured 4 individual gold medals across the 50m/100m free and 50m/100m fly, along with 2 relay golds and 2 relay silvers in Jakarta. She was awarded MVP of the entire Asian Games, representing the first female to ever claim the honor.

Translation assistance provided by Rebecca Nishikawa- Roy.

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Yes!! Hope they can both learn a lot from each other and go 54 soon 😉

Newport Beach Lover

Two together crashing the world record…setting the bar higher… I wish we could see something like that…training together inviting some top teams from different countries or visit theirs’. I know Japan does often with Australian team.


Exactly what weaknesses of Sjostrom is Ikee going to take advantage of? Scare her into going out fast and ‘apply pressure’ on the back-half like what happened in the 100 free in 2017? Sun Tzu aside, it just seems like a funny quote since swimming is ultimately your own race with only superficial interaction.


From the races I’ve seen, Ikee seems to be doing this race in a similar fashion to Sjostrom. I’ve seen her under WR pace after 50m, something this version of Sjostrom also usually is. It’s all about the last 25m, Sarah nailed that in Rio. They could be neck and neck all the race next season. But ultimately Ikee has one little step left to reach the same level. She’s up on her level this summer, but that’s a summer where Sjostrom has prioritized training and building.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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