Women’s 50 Free
- 2012 Olympic Champion: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 24.05
- 2015 World Champion: Bronte Campbell (AUS), 24.12
- World Record (2009): Britta Steffen (GER), 23.73
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.
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.
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|
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.