The Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) named a batch of 6 new athletes that it has officially named to the 2020 Olympic Team, including 2 new swimmers.
For the 23-year old Hansson, this will be a 2nd Olympic appearance, following her racing at the 2016 Games in Rio. In 2016, she swam 5 races, and while she was no better than 29th in an individual event (the 200 IM), she was a member of 2 Swedish relays that placed 5th – the 400 free and 800 free.
4 years later, she’s become a star in her own right. Racing for USC in the United States, she is the defending NCAA Champion in the 100 and 200 yard butterflies, and last year swam the fastest time ever in the 100 yard version of that race. At the World Championships over the summer, she swam 57.16 in the 100 fly to place 7th in the World Championship final, and was also Sweden’s 3rd-fastest 100 freestyler at 55.05 (she was 54.0 on a relay at Worlds).
Her development has been crucial to Sweden’s race to put together a viable medley relay while Sjostrom, the fastest 100 butterflier and 100 freestyler in history, is still in her prime. So too has the development of Sophie Hansson, her younger sister, who is Sweden’s best breaststroker, but has not been pre-selected yet. She is likely to join the team at a later date.
The 26-year old Erik Persson will also return for his 2nd Olympic Games. In 2012, he finished 32nd in the 100 breaststroke, but a 2:10.12 placed him 11th in the semi-finals. At the 2019 World Championships, he advanced to the final but added time to place 8th. He won a silver medal at the 2019 European Short Course Championships in the 200 breaststroke.
The trio, including Rio triple Olympic medalist Sjostrom, are the only Swedish swimmers that qualified for a final at last year’s World Championships individually. The country’s 400 free, 800 free, and 400 medley relays were also fast enough at last summer’s World Championships to earn the right to swim at the Olympic Games, though they would still have to be nominated by the country’s Olympic Committee do so.
Full Swedish Olympic Prequalified Athletes So Far
Sweden has so far named 25 pre-qualifiers across 11 sports to the Olympic Games, including the defending silver medalist women’s soccer team. The latest group named on Friday include pole vaulter Angelica Bengtsson, javelin-thrower Kim Amb, sailors Josefin Olsson and Jesper Stalheim, and the two swimmers Erik Persson and Louise Hansson.
Jenny Fransson, 68 kg
Henna Johansson, 62 kg
Alex Kessidis, 77 kg
Tommy Macias, 73 kg
Anna Bernholm, 70 kg
Daniel Ståhl, discus
Armand Duplantis, pole vault
Angelica Bengtsson, pole vault
Kim Amb, javelin
Perseus Karlström, 20 km
Linnea Stensils, K1
Stefan Nilsson, skeet
Max Salminen, Finn Dole
Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström, 470
Josefin Olsson, laser radial
Jesper Stålheim, laser
Mattias Falck, men’s singles