Sarah Sjostrom has been having a good weekend at the Swedish Championships, swimming a world-leader in the 100 fly, then progressing to an all-time textile-best in the 50 free.
Her swim on Sunday evening, however, blows them all away.
The 20-year old swam a 24.43 in the women’s 50 fly, which is the biggest crushing of a sprint World Record we’ve seen in decades.
The old Swedish and World Record belonged to her teammate Therese Alshammar in 25.07 from the 2009 World Championships. This swim from Sjostrom knocked over six-tenths from that record, or roughly 2.5%. That’s the equivalent of knocking 23 seconds off of the 1500 free World Record, or lowering the women’s 100 back world record to a 56-mid.
The next-fastest swimmer this year is Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen-Gray in a 25.27; Sjostrom’s old personal best was just a 25.52 from earlier this year. She’s never been quite as good in the 50 fly as she has been in the 100 fly, until now.
That swim from Sjostrom is a FINA B cut for men: a standard that only two other World Records match (or even come close to): Katie Ledecky’s 800 and 1500 freestyle swims. BY comparison, Michael Phelps swam a 50 fly earlier this year, and was just a 24.0 – not much faster than Sjostrom’s swim on Saturday. The time was also just .05 seconds short of the short course meters world record.
The swim is worth 1080 FINA Points, which by their calculation is even faster than Ledecky’s World Record swims.
Sjostrom has been a star for years, and even a super star, but she’s now moving into a territory where she’ll challenge as the best swimmer in the world. It’s safe to say that this is a generational-type performance, a swim that will be remembered for a long, long time.
Expect race video to be out shortly; we’ll post it when we find it.