Olympic gold medalist and World Record holder Sarah Sjostrom has set a target date for her return to competition: June 1-2 at the Canet stop of the Mare Nostrum Swim Series. The revelation came in an interview with Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter.
She says she’ll then follow that up with a meet at the Italian Sette Colli Trophy from June 25-27 in Rome.
The 27-year old Swede is 12 weeks removed from an injury to her elbow when she slipped and fell on a patch of ice. The injury required her to undergo surgery, including having a metal plate and screws installed to stabilize the fracture.
Sjostrom has been posting updates of her rehab to social media, including sharing that she lost 4 centimeters (just under 2 inches) of muscle mass on her right arm while it was immobilized.
Timeline of Sjostrom’s Return (click the date for more):
- February 8 – Sjostrom undergoes surgery in Sweden to repair the break
- March 1 – about 3 weeks post-surgery, Sjostrom returned to the pool, albeit just for kicking.
- Mid-April – Sjostrom posts video of modified pushups, increasing dryland rehab on elbow.
- Late April – Sjostrom reveals that she has begun a full freestyle stroke, though “not a very powerful stroke.” She also says that she hasn’t yet been able to swim butterfly because of the imbalance of her press.
- June 1-2 – Targeted return to racing
Sjostrom also revealed in the interview that she is doing about 7 or 8 pool sessions per week along with three strength sessions and a bike session once per week.
“Swimming is going better and better,” she said. “I can swim quite well in freestyle. When it comes to butterfly swimming, I still cannot swim a full butterfly stroke, however, I train a lot of butterfly skills.”
She says that while the situation is “not optimal,” they are currently ahead of schedule on her rehab.
Sjostrom was non-committal about whether she’d attempt to swim butterfly at the Olympic Games, saying that she would have to see how things progress in the next few weeks. She acknowledged that she doesn’t have huge expectations for Tokyo: “There will probably be people who will still paint me as a favorite, but you should not expect 3 gold and 3 World Records.”
The 2021 Mare Nostrum series, a high-dollar multi-city European series that is one of the oldest international series in the sport, will begin in Monaco on May 29 and 30. It will then continue to Canet, France on June 1 and 2, before finishing in Barcelona on June 5 and 6.
Sjostrom has 3 Olympic medals, all earned in 2016: gold in the 100 fly, silver in the 200 free, and bronze in the 100 free. She is also an 8-time World Champion in long course, winning her first title in 2009 when she was just 15 years old, setting the World Record in the process, and most recently in the 50 fly at the 2019 World Championships. That’s in addition to 3 Short Course World Championship titles, 22 European Championships, and the International Swimming League Season 1 (2019) MVP award.