Rio 2016 Olympic Previews: Clash Of Sprinters In Women’s 50 Free

Women’s 50 Free

Australia's Cate and Bronte Campbell cruise into the women's 100m freestyle semi's on day 5, (courtesy of Tim Binning,

Australia’s Cate and Bronte Campbell (Photo: Tim Binning)

The World Record in the women’s 50 freestyle is on watch at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and the showdown will see 3 of the top 10 fastest all time performers go head to head. Heading the field in the lead up to the Games is Australia’s Cate Campbell, who swam the 2nd fastest 50 free in history at the 2016 Australian Championships. Campbell’s 23.84 set her as the world leader with the only sub-24 time we’ve seen since 2014, and sits only behind Britta Steffen’s World Record of 23.73 from 2009.

Campbell is the favorite going into Rio, but she’ll have to take down the 2015 World Champion to win the gold medal. Notably, the reigning World Champ happens to be her sister, Bronte Campbell, who sits 5th in the world this year with a 24.24. Last summer, she became the 10th fastest performer in history when she won the event in 24.12.


Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Photo: Tim Binning)

Returning to defend her Olympic title in this event will be the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo, who won the event in London with a 24.05 that now makes the 3rd fastest performer of all time after getting bumped down by Campbell. She’s been right on that mark this year, clocking a 24.07 at the 2016 European Championships. Racing with her at that meet was Great Britain’s Fran Halsall, who ranks 4th this year with a 24.21 from that meet. Halsall will be swimming in her 3rd Olympics this summer, and her personal best 23.96 from 2014 has her in position to battle for her first Olympic medal.

Belarus’ Aliaksandra Herasimenia took silver in this event in 2012, and will be looking to return to the final in Rio. Her 24.52 his season lands her just outside the top 10 at 11th, but could bring her time down to the 24-low range again. When she won her Olympic medal, she finished in a lifetime best 24.28.

Sarah Sjostrom (Photo: Peter Sukenik)

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom has been looking dangerous in this event, and she’s currently 3rd in the world with a 24.17 from Austin Pro Swim. Like Halsall, Sjostrom has already cleared 24 before, with a personal best of 23.98 from Swedish Championships in 2014. After picking up the bronze in this event last summer, she’s continued to show incredible speed throughout 2015-2016.

Canada’s Chantal Van Landeghem, the 5th place finisher at 2015 Worlds, comes to the meet as the 9th ranked woman of 2016 with a 24.43 from Charlotte Pro Swim. An NCAA swimmer for the Georgia Bulldogs, Van Landeghem decided to sit out the 2015-16 NCAA season to focus on her Olympic dream. After missing the Olympic team by a hundredth in 2012, she earned her chance in Rio by winning the 50 and placing 2nd in the 100 free at Canadian Olympic Trials. Van Landeghem is now the Canadian Record holder in this event, boasting a 24.39 from 2015 Worlds.

In 2012, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, an Auburn alum and Bahamian Olympian, became the first ever Bahamian woman to make an Olympic final. Vanderpool-Wallace has been training with Dave Marsh at SwimMAC in the lead up to Rio, and she’ll be looking to bring home the first Olympic medal ever won by a Bahamian woman this summer. Her season best 24.80 has her at 24th in the world rankings, but her lifetime best 24.31 from 2015 Pan Ams makes her a viable medal threat.

New to the Olympic stage this summer are Team USA’s qualifiers Abbey Weitzeil and Simone Manuel, who earned 6th and 7th in the world this year, respectively, with their Olympic Trials performances. Like Van Landeghem, both sat out the NCAA season this year to focus on long course training and qualifying for the Olympics. In Omaha, Weitzeil swam the fastest 50 free done by an American in textile, lowering it to 24.28 in the final. Manuel, a finalist in this event in Kazan, also swam a best time in 24.33. Weitzeil broke the American Record in the yards version of this event, and Manuel is the American Record holder in the 100 yard free. Both have shown promising speed as they head into their first ever Games.

Women’s 50 Free Top 8 Predictions:

Place Swimmer Country Best Time (Since 2012 Olympics) Predicted Time
1 Cate Campbell AUS 23.84 23.7 WR
2 Sarah Sjostrom SWE 23.98 23.9
3 Bronte Campbell AUS 24.12 24.1
4 Ranomi Kromowidjojo NED 24.05 24.1
5 Fran Halsall GBR 23.96 24.2
6 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace BAH 24.31 24.3
7 Abbey Weitzeil USA 24.28 24.4
8 Simone Manuel USA 24.33 24.5

Darkhorse: Sweden’s Therese Alshammar has earned a trip to her 6th Olympic games after swimming a 24.75 at the Canet stop of the Mare Nostrum tour. In 2012, Alshammar was a finalist in this event, swimming a 24.61 for 6th. She says her goal is to swim her fastest race ever, chasing her best time of 23.88 from 2009.


In This Story

Leave a Reply

19 Comment threads
23 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
27 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

1. Cate Campbell
2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo
3. Sarah Sjostrom


1. Cate Campbell
2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo
3. Fran Halsall

I don’t think Sarah will end up swimming the 50.

Darkhorse: Santamans


I agree with this top 3 – certainly hope Fran can get something.

I would presume Sjostrom will swim it, but I can see her as low as 5th.

Attila the Hunt

Why do you think Sarah will not swim 50?
She has always swum the event, and there has been no indication whatsoever that this year is any different.


Sarah won bronze in 2015 behind Bronte & Ranomi. Cate & Fran, the two fastest textile, had pretty poor meets individually. Both are already a lot faster this year.

Good luck to her, but I don’t see a medal – She lost 1 metre to Halsall in Berlin by 25m. In a final, with 4 extremely fast women in lanes around her comfortably ahead, will she be able to pull it back? I think she & Jenner will drop either the 50 or 200.

Pau Hana

Remember that the 50 free is on the last day – so unless she is either having a horrible meet, is hurt/ill, or feels a need to rest for the medley relay (where Sweden is 11th and not likely to medal), there’s no reason for her to drop it.

Pau Hana

whoops – my mistake, I was looking at the 2012 seeds. Just saw that Sweden is a much higher seed this year (can’t find the rankings but a silver at Worlds last year) so perhaps that will be a factor.

Attila the Hunt

Again, why would Sarah drop 50 free when she has always swum it for like forever?
She still won bronze in 50 free and 4×100 medley last year

Attila the Hunt

So, just because YOU do not think she’s going to medal in 50 and 200, she’ll drop one of those event?

I see…


Yes. In MY prediction, I make MY prediction. That’s usually how a prediction works. We all put our opinions forward. My opinion is that Sarah will drop either the swim 3 individuals – Dropping the 50 or 200. You do not know what events any athlete will swim any more than myself. That’s why this is all guesswork – Predictions.

Note I said “I think”… I didn’t say it as a statement of fact, I said it as an opinion.

Attila the Hunt

Unless Sjostrom lied, I KNOW that Sjostrom will swim 200 because she has confirmed it herself in a press conference backed by her coach Carl Jenner. But you THINK otherwise, so it seems YOU may KNOW more about Sjostrom’s schedule than both Sarah and Carl themselves.

Please keep on making more of YOUR predictions. I’m sure I’ll be thoroughly entertained.


She also confirmed she was swimming it in 2015, was on the startlists, then scratched. So, no, I am not saying Sjoetroem lied, I am saying athletes don’t always swim the schedule the say they will 8 months before an event.

I don’t think Sjoestroem swims 4 individual events, so I see her dropping either to 50 or 200. We’ll see.

Attila the Hunt
Attila the Hunt

I forgot to add:
Just FYI, Sjostrom swam 4 individual events in 2011 Shanghai, 2012 London, 2013 Barcelona, 2014 European, 2015 Kazan.

Attila the Hunt

Both Sjostrom and Jenner had actually confirmed months before Kazan that they were NOT going to swim 200 free, and if you go to fina’s kazan page and omegalivetiming, she is not on the 200 free start list.

I don’t know where you got all your false info from.

Attila the Hunt

By the way, you actually have not answered my question: Why would Sarah drop 50?
So is it because you don’t think she’ll medal in it?

M Palota

1.) Cate Campbell
2.) Fran Hallsal
3.) Ranomi Kromowidjojo – Sarah Sjostrom

I’m going with a tie for the Bronze.


I would like to see this. I think all of these women deserve a medal and would love for them to all get one.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!