Mare Nostrum Canet Day 1: Historic Swims From Efimova & Sjostrom


As fast as this 2017 Mare Nostrum Tour has been, especially on the women’s side, it’s hard to believe that we would see even more tremendous speed on the first day of the last stop in Canet, but, alas, that’s exactly what happened.

Last time out in Barcelona, Russian breaststroking ace Yulia Efimova came within striking distance of the women’s 200m breaststroke world record and the two-time Rio Olympic silver medalist accomplished very much the same thing in the 100m sprint distance today.

Competing against a stacked line-up including one-time British national record holder Chloe Tutton and mainstay Mare Nostrum scorer Jennie Johansson of Sweden, Efimova swam her own race, crushing the field in a monster time of 1:04.82. Firing off an opening split of 30.76 and carrying that speed into a final 50 split of 24.06, Efimova cranked out the fastest time of her career, establishing a new Russian national record.  1:05.01 is what the record stood at, which is what Efimova clocked at the 2013 World Championships to finish with the silver medal.

For perspective, Efimova’s time tonight now checks in as the 5th-fastest performance in history. Below are the top 5.

  1. 1:04.35 – Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), 2013
  2. 1:04.42 – Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), 2013
  3. 1:04.45 – Jessica Hardy (USA), 2009
  4. 1:04.52 – Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), 20
  5. 1:04.82 – Yulia Evimova (RUS), 2017

Another familiar game-changer wreaked havoc in the women’s 50m freestyle event tonight, almost surpassing her own personal beset in the process. Swedish superstar Sarah Sjostrom fired off a winning splash n’ dash time of 23.85 to score a new meet record and also come within .02 of the national record she posted in April at her nation’s world championship trials. Her rapid outing tonight now ranks as the 4th fastest performance in history, a list in which she appears 3 times among the top 5.

  1. 23.73 – Britta Steffen (GER), 2009
  2. 23.83 – Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2017
  3. 23.84 – Cate Campbell (AUS), 2016
  4. 23.85 – Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2017
  5. 23.87 – Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2017

And, as has been the case in the previous two stops, Sjostrom simply doesn’t stop after one historic swim. The 23-year-old keeps her engine in full throttle, this time doubling up on the 100m butterfly event. After establishing herself as the top seed this morning in a very comfortable 57.07, somehow the Swede found another even more damaging gear, one that managed to throw down a lightning fast gold medal-winning time of 55.76.

Splitting 26.07/29.69, Sjostrom virtually hydroplaned over the water to enter yet another time among the all-time fastest performances. Her performance today now ranks as the 5th fastest ever and the Swede owns 9 of the top 10 marks of all time. Only American Dana Vollmer remains toward the end of the top 10 list with her once 55.98 world record from London 2012.

The men’s 100m butterfly race was another thrilling event to watch, with Frenchman Mehdy Metella entering the final as the top seed. The host country favorite got the job done tonight to claim France’s first gold here in Canet, touching in 51.63 to top the podium. Co-Olympic silver medalists in this event from Rio, Hungarian Laszlo Cseh and South African Chad Le Clos were also sub-52, finishing in 51.87 and 51.92, respectively.

For Metella, his entry this evening registers as the 2nd fastest of the season, as he currently ranks 3rd in the world with his 51.36 from the spring. Le Clos has also been a tad faster, owning the quickest mark in the world with the 51.29 he notched at the South African Aquatic Championships in April.

As for ‘old man speed’ Cseh, however, tonight’s performance checks-in as the swiftest of the season for the Hungarian. He was only 52.51 last week in Barcelona, but pitted against key rivals, as will be the case in Budapest, Cseh took things up a level to give him is first sub-52 of 2017.

2016-2017 LCM Men 100 Fly

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The men’s 100m breaststroke was yet another scorcher, with the top two finishers dipping under the minute threshold. Russia’s Anton Chupkov took this race for the 2nd meet in a row. Coming up just shy of his Barcelona time of 59.53, Chupkov raced to a mark of 59.53 for teh win, with Japanese stalwart Yasuhiro Koseki just behind in 59.66. Mare Nostrum points leader Cameron van der Burgh had qualified for the top seed of the B-Final, but he chose to not swim the final.

Emma McKeon of Australia looked primed to take the women’s 200m freestyle title this Mare Nostrum stop after a powerful 1:56.82 morning swim. But on-a-tear Swedish swimmer Michelle Coleman took control of the final, earning a winning time of 1:56.22. Both women have season-bests in the 1:55 zone, but it’s nice to see them throw down solid times less than 30 days out from Budapest.

A non-factor tonight came in the form of teen Rikako Ikee, who has proven with her world-class times at domestic championships that she has what it takes to challenge for at least minor medals in the sprint freestyle and fly events. However, indicative of where she’s at in her training schedule, Ikee settled for 3rd out of the B-Final in the women’ 50m freestyle in 25.39, while also finishing 6th in the 100m fly A-Final in 58.29. She’s been much quicker in each event multiple times already this season.

Additional Winners Tonight

  • Aussie Emily Seebohm continued her dominance in the women’s 50m backstroke across this Mare Nostrum circuit, winning this evening in 28.13. Seebohm also scored the win in the 200m event, taking the race in 2:06.66, her fastest of the season. Seebohm now tops the world rankings in that event as well with  U.S. Trials on the horizon.
  • Jeremy Stravius gave his nation its first gold this meet, taking the men’s 50m backstroke in 25.28.
  • Brazilian Bruno Fratus successfully finished his 50m freestyle trifecta of wins over the Mare Nostrum, earning the splash n’ dash victory tonight in 21.92. Fratus was the only competitor to delve into sub-22 second territory in the race.
  • Russia’s Aleksandr Krasnykh was the men’ 400m freestyle winner, touching in 3:46.93. He was also the winner of the men’s 200m freestyle, clocking 1:47.36 for the win. French swimmer Stravius was 2nd in 1:47.89. Of note, Aussie Mack Horton, who recently announced he indeed would be swimming this one-time off event individually in Budapest, registered a time of 1:49.96 to tie countryman Daniel Smith for 6th.
  • The women’ 800m free victor was Hungarian Ajna Kesely, who touched in 8:31.50.
  • Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland took gold in the men’s 200m backstroke, clocking a time of 1:57.47.
  • Hungary’s Iron Lady, who was relatively quiet with a 4th place 200m backstroke finish (2:10.17), made some noise by winning the women’s 200m IM in 2:11.16.

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If Sjostrom is only light rested, just to think what she could do at Worlds…Yikes!


Realistically, I would not be expecting massive drops from whatever she’s swimming now. She’s far more of a fast in season swimmer who only drops smaller amounts w taper rather than a big taper swimmer. What appears to be the case is that she is currently on a career high form/condition wise (esp her freestyle) and its a matter of riding that horse to the max and hoping that run continues through Worlds. As it is, her current gap on the competition in her fly events is such that she’s need to “break” to lose …. and her FS is on a career high and someone else will need to be an even greater ‘wave’ themselves to beat her in… Read more »


I believe you are rating her swims based on her past results/coaching.We don’t know how much on the table the new coach experience bring to her swim.The Worlds will be the first champs where we will see how much 200free training tired(or not) her.


We indeed will have to wait and see if there ARE some extraordinary time drops at Worlds but her history has been that of being very very fast in season (which most certainly has been the case this year) with only marginal additonal time drops at the major meet.

What the simplification of her race schedule will most likely deliver IS a less worn out SS by the end of the meet


Well, last year she dropped 0.3 sec at 200. Is it a lot? If to compare to Ledecky’s 0.7sec it is not much, but if to remember that she bettered her personal best from 1:54.3 to 1:54.0 then I would say it is a noticeable improvement.


Well first of all the drop is mostly start and technique in FS. Physically I don’t think we’re seeing someone who is much stronger than Rio, if that was the case I think we would’ve been seeing time drops in the butterfly aswell. Sjöström has hit seasonal best in her main event 100 butterfly at every global championshioship of her career except for 2012, where she got sick. 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 top times all came at World Champs/Olympics. But the 100 butterfly has often been at the start of the championships and the sprint freestyle has been at the very end, making it a very hard taper. Add in relays as yet another factor. What she needs… Read more »


One day soon Sarah will learn how to utilise her exceptional speed when swimming 100 fly. 25.3+29.2=54.5 is within reach for her in a perfect race.


But the exceptional 50 fly is largely enhanced by her no-breath strategy/ability. When she adds a breath or two she’s in the 25.2-25.5-range(normally does in heats and semis), and at the 100 she needs a lot more breathing. She tackles those races very differently, both amazing but very different.


No way she isn’t almost tapered. I think she will add if anything. She could drop but it’s dumb to fully taper just like that before the big meet. I expect Cseh to be the 200 fly gold medalist this year at world’s. Remember that 1:52.9 last year? He was 30 and he decided he wanted his big meet to be Euros, not Rio.


Well in fact he said after his 1.52.9 that he wasn’t fully tapered so he just wasn’t good in Rio. He never siad London was his big meet.


Well I guess Cseh is a better swimmer when not tapered. Because he added 3 seconds.


As much as I dislike Lily King’s attitude, I really hope she beats Efimova.


As crass Americans say…wish in one hand and do something in the other…


What happened in Rio? No golds for the doper Yulia. Boo who sucks for her


Yeah Yulia didn’t medal in both the 100 and 200 or anything, she’s a phenom. Where was that ultimate workhorse Lily King in that 200 final again?

Lane Four

That ultimate workhorse won a gold medal. Our Lady got SILVER. SILVER. SILVER. SILVER, what was that? SILVER. SILVER. SILVER. You know, the LOSER medal. Even doped she can’t win.


You just admitted that to you , silver is the loser medal .

I am looking forward to your applying that to all the 2nd place finishers in Budapest .

Lane Four

GINA, after all the crazy s*** that you have written, I would highly recommend you step away.


Assymetric or cryptic is the way to go . Don’t go full retard .


Try to let alone national feelings. FINA tolerating dopers for 4 decades now lacks basic common sense, seriously harming clean athletes who literally sacrifice the best part of their lives, then these artificial creatures come along with a confident smile on their face and spit into their eyes. So it’s fair to say that dopers should be banned for life. How do we know that Efimova is clean now? Very few trust her I assume.

Lane Four

As cheating Russians, say, As long as I don’t get caught, I can cheat all I want. Your Lady is a cheater and you know it.


So, Sjöström just swims the 50’s. Take a breath? Why bother? Swim it, just swim it…

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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