Sarah Sjostrom Crushes World Record in 50 Fly at Swedish Championships

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.

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6 years ago


Reply to  liquidassets
6 years ago

With that kind of speed she could possibly pull together a sub :55 in the 100. This is a ground breaking swim, the kind that pushes others into believing in what was once believed impossible.

Reply to  Stoobie
6 years ago

I get what you’re saying, but I’m not sure how much that kind of 50 speed would translate to the 100. Between the absurd turnover, almost non-existent press, and lack of breathing, everything that makes this swim so amazing in a 50 also makes it unsustainable for the 100. I would compare it to a straight arm, shoulder driven freestyler who can bust out a wicked fast 50 but has trouble using the same stroke for the 100. While I think breaking 55 is too optimistic, Sjolstrom will break 56 within the next year, if not this summer. The only application I see for this stroke in the 100 fly is within the last 15 meters. If she can hold… Read more »

6 years ago

I don’t know if it’s possible to extract the race video from this news article:

Anyway, I’m sure SVT will put it up on their SVT Play service as a separate video after the meet is over.

6 years ago


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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