Pernille Blume Glittering In Spite of No Golds


At the Rio Olympics, one of the last Olympic gold medalists in swimming was one of the most unexpected. The then-22-year old Pernille Blume had never won an individual medal of any color at an international meet of significance – either World long course, World short course, or European championship meets. The one-time swimming prodigy seemed as though she may have plateaued and missed her chance to enter the pantheon of great Danish swimmers.

But them as she built toward Rio, she showed signs. In April, she went 24.4, and then she had her breakout swim in the Olympic final, swimming 24.07 that tied her with Dara Torres as the 9th-fastest in history.

The challenge to a breakout then always becomes the follow-up. Blume became an instant celebrity in her home country and went through a whirlwind period that saw her being whisked to galas, appearances, and modeling gigs. The distraction left her in a position where she said her body was telling her that she wasn’t ready to swim at last year’s Short Course World Championships.

But then, earlier this year, she came alive again. In April she swam 24.1 in the 50 free in back-to-back weekends. Then at the Sette Colli in June, she did it again.

This week in Budapest, she’s confirmed that there is no long-term dropoff in her performance. She’s broken a Danish Record in over half of her swims. That included a 24.05 in the semi-finals of the 50 on Saturday, faster than her Olympic gold, and a 52.69 in the 100 free final.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to result in any gold medals for her. Her schedule runs almost perfectly into that of Sarah Sjostrom – including the 50 fly that Blume wound up declaring a false start in. And Sjostrom is making her case for the best swimmer in the world at this meet.

So for Blume, the focus must be on the oldest of swimming adages that we’ve all been taught since we were half-lap swimmers: racing the clock, because all times that glitter are not gold.

Day 7 National Records

  • Mykhailo Romanchuk, Ukraine 14:44.11
  • Jan Micka, Czech, 14:55.57
  • Kiristof Milak, Hungary – 50.62 – 100 Fly
  • Katinka Hosszu, Hungary – 2:05.85 – 200 Back
  • Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 23.67 – 50 Free
  • Pavel Sankovich, Belarus – 24.74 – 50 Back
  • Pavel Sankovich, Belarus – 24.94 – 50 Back
  • Pernille Blume, Denmark – 24.40 – 50 Free
  • Pernille Blume, Denmark – 24.05 – 50 Free
  • Anna Santamans, France – 24.54 – 50 Free
  • Arianna Castiglioni, Italy – 30.33 – 50 Breast
  • Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir, Iceland – 30.71 – 50 Breast
  • Netherlands – 3:21.81 – 4×100 Mixed Free Relay
  • Russia – 3:25.49 – 4×100 Mixed Free Relay
  • Hungary – 3:35.02 – 4×100 Mixed Free Relay

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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