Olympic Champion and World Record holder Sarah Sjostrom won’t swim on Sunday and Monday in Match #6 of the 2020 International Swimming League season.
The Swede Sjostrom, who represents Energy Standard in the ISL, was the MVP of the inaugural ISL season. She says that she has been dealing with some “slight back issues” for the last few days and is “following medical advice to rest.”
Sjostrom says that she’s still training well in spite of the injury.
On Sunday and Monday, Energy Standard will swim their 2nd meet of the season against Aqua Centurions, New York Breakers, and Toronto Titans. Even without superstar Sjostrom, Energy Standard is expected to cruise to a victory at the meet. Along with the Titans, they are among the last teams in the league to swim their 2nd meet.
In their first meet, Energy Standard finished in 2nd place behind the league-leading Cali Condors. At that meet, Sjostrom finished 3rd in MVP scoring behind only Lilly King and Ryan Murphy. She won her first 4 individual events of the meet before placing 3rd in the 200 free and 2nd in the 50 fly to finish the meet. She also swam on all 3 relays, of which Energy Standard won 2 (women’s and mixed 400 free relays).
While they’ll lose Sjostrom, Energy Standard should receive the added services of Femke Heemskerk, who has joined the ISL ‘bubble’ after missing the team’s first meet with a positive coronavirus test. Heemskerk was the 19th most-valuable swimmer in the league last season, so while she doesn’t bring the same versatility of event as Sjostrom does, she’s still a huge addition for Energy Standard.
Energy Standard still has a great butterflier on their roster, Anastasiya Shkurdai, who placed 2nd in the season-opener. Among other butterfly options are Zsu Jakabos, or even sprint specialist Pernille Blume in the 50. The veteran Jakabos actually swam a lifetime best of 58.39 in the 100 fly in long course last August at the FINA World Cup series.
Banic could be an option as well, though that would require Energy Standard to shift another swimmer to ‘relay only,’ which would be a tough shift based on their current lineup.