Mare Nostrum – Canet Day 2 Finals: Sjostrom Unstoppable


The Mare Nostrum tour wrapped up today in Canet, and once again it was the Sarah Sjostrom show. The Swedish star has been lighting up the tour every session, winning the 50 free, 100 free 50 fly and 100 fly at every stop. She finished off the perfect sweep today, winning the 50 fly and 100 free.

In the 50 fly she went another sub-25 time in 24.95, which has now become a common occurrence for her despite the fact no one else has ever done it. Japan’s Rikako Ikee took silver over eight tenths back in 25.79, and Belgium’s Kimberly Buys was 3rd in 26.10.

The 100 free was where Sjostrom really blew everyone’s mind, as she threw down the 3rd fastest swim in history to narrowly miss the world record by two one-hundredths. Her time of 52.08 only falls short to Cate Campbell‘s 52.06 from last year and Britta Steffen‘s super-suit aided 52.07 from 2009. This swim and her swim from the Barcelona stop, 52.28, now sit 3rd and 5th on the all-time performances list.

Campbell did take silver in the race, nearly a second back in 53.03. Sjostrom’s countrywoman Michelle Coleman took bronze in 53.36, ahead of a loaded field that included Emma McKeon (53.52), co-Olympic champ Penny Oleksiak (53.64), and 2015 World champ Bronte Campbell (53.66).

Along with Sjostrom, Russia’s Yuliya Efimova also walked away with two wins on the final day of the tour. After an incredible 1:04.8 100 breast yesterday, which moved her into 3rd all-time, Efimova delivered decisive wins in the 50 and 200 breast.

In the 50 she clocked 30.04, just off her world best of 29.88 from April, but still faster than anyone else has been this season. Sweden’s Jennie Johansson, the 2015 World champ, won silver in 30.77 and bronze went to Australia’s Jessica Hansen (30.83).

Later on in the 200 breast Efimova clocked 2:20.15, just off her world best 2:19.83 done at the previous stop in Barcelona. Australia’s Taylor McKeown (2:24.41) and Great Britain’s Chloe Tutton (2:24.42) were 2nd and 3rd.

The men’s 200 breast also saw a very impressive swim, as Russia’s Anton Chupkov lowered his own national record in 2:07.46 for the win. Chupkov lowers his record of 2:07.70 from his bronze medal winning swim in Rio, and ties him with the man who won gold in Rio, Dmitriy Balandin, for 10th on the all-time top performers list.

World #2 Yasuhiro Koseki of Japan won silver in 2:10.94, and Sweden’s Erik Persson won bronze in 2:11.47. Chupkov leapfrogs Persson (season-best of 2:07.85) for 3rd in the world rankings this year.

Like we saw from Sjostrom and Efimova, the men’s 50s had some fast swims too, with Cameron van der Burgh taking the 50 breast in 27.07 and Andriy Govorov taking the 50 fly in 23.05. van der Burgh just missed his 4th ranked season-best of 26.95, while Govorov improved his best of 23.17 and also sits 4th in the world.

The Australian backstroke couple Emily Seebohm and Mitch Larkin swept the 100m event, with Seebohm winning the women’s in 59.57 and Larkin the men’s in 54.11. Taylor Ruck of Canada won silver in the women’s race, establishing a new personal best of 1:00.46. Her previous best was the 1:00.61 she achieved at the Junior World Championships in 2015.

The Hungarian men came to play in the 200 fly, as Olympic bronze medalist Tamas Kenderesi and 2015 world champion Laszlo Cseh went 1-2, taking out 2012 Olympic & 2013 World champ Chad Le Clos of South Africa. Kenderesi won in 1:54.98, thanks to a blistering 29.01 final 50, while Cseh touched 2nd in 1:56.39. Le Clos led at the halfway mark, but fell to 3rd in 1:56.64.

In the women’s event Suzuka Hasegawa of Japan, who sits 2nd in the world with her junior world record of 2:06.29, won in 2:06.94 over GBR’s Alys Thomas (2:08.16). The Hungarian duo of Liliana Szilagyi (2:09.21) and Katinka Hosszu (2:09.36) took 3rd and 4th.

The men’s 100 free saw five men crack 49 seconds. France’s Mehdy Metella used superior closing speed to get by Australian Cameron McEvoy for gold in 48.62. McEvoy (48.96) and his countryman James Magnussen (48.99) won silver and bronze. Japan’s Shinri Shioura (48.95) and Cuba’s Hanser Garcia (48.96) also got under 49 in the B-final.

Other Events:

  • Poland’s Wojciech Wojdak won the men’s 800 in 7:50.18, with Norway’s Henrik Christiansen 2nd in 7:52.50. Australia’s Mack Horton (7:54.53) took 3rd after leading halfway through.
  • Hungary’s Ajna Kesely defended her top seed from prelims with a win in the women’s 400 free in 4:06.42, topping Russia’s Veronika Popova (4:07.17).
  • Hosszu finished off her session with a win in the 400 IM, coming in at 4:37.73 to hold off Canada’s Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson (4:39.64).
  • Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches was the lone man to crack 2:00 in the 200 IM, putting up a time of 1:59.11. He’s currently 6th in the world with his best of 1:57.40 done in May.

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3 years ago

This last week has just been… magic… Ooooh How I hope Budapest will be showtime!

IMs for days
3 years ago

More focus should be put on Kenderesi. Sakai is the favorite, but Kenederesi is super young, has home town advantage, and just closed a 200 fly in a 29.01. That might be the fastest last lap of a 200 fly ever, as I’m pretty sure the previous fastest was Le Clos last lap in London. In Rio Kenderesi swam great in the middle 100, but in that race literally everyone except for Sakai died in the last 50 (he was the only person to finish with a last lap under 30 seconds). It seems as though Kenderesi has learned from that and developed his back half speed. Currently he is my choice for Budapest.

Reply to  IMs for days
3 years ago

He has never had the chance to attend a (adult) world event. He missed Kazan because of sickness, then in Rio one of his legs was dodgy (half a year before he couldn’t even walk).
He is mine, too.

Winnie Pearl
Reply to  IMs for days
3 years ago

Kenderesi has always had crazy back end speed., in that race he closed in 28.61 which was the fastest ever.

3 years ago

Nice PB for Ajna. I hope she can make the final in Budapest. My only worry is that she is racing on 2 junior events before the worlds, she can’t be at peak form at all of these.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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