MARE NOSTRUM SERIES – CANET
- June 1-2, 2021
- Centre de Natation Arlette Franco, Canet-en-Roussillon, France
- Long Course Meters (50 meters)
- Day 1 Prelims Recap
- Day 1 Finals Recap
Nearly 4 months after it was first announced that Olympic champion and world record-holder Sarah Sjostrom had broken her elbow, the Swedish all-star was back in the pool to race the 50 freestyle at the Canet stop of the 2021 Mare Nostrum Series.
Sjostrom swam just one event on Tuesday, in the form of the 50 freestyle, and notched a third place finish in the final with a 24.81. That placed her behind Pernille Blume‘s 24.06 and Melanie Henique‘s 24.69. Sjostrom was a little bit quicker in the prelims, hitting a 24.68 that qualified her in second place for the final. The swim was almost exactly a second over her own world record in the 50 free of 23.67 which she set at the 2017 World Championships.
Sjostrom was also a bit slower than her season-best in the event of 24.07 which she swam back in February just days before her injury. Sjostrom’s 24.06 is third to Ranomi Kromowidjojo‘s 23.97 and Pernille Blume‘s 24.06 which she has now hit twice; once at European Championships and once at Mare Nostrum – Canet.
The swim was a good first step back in Sjostrom’s eyes. In a post-race interview, she noted that it was a “much better time than [she] thought [she] would be at this time” according to SVT Sports. She added that she had expected to start around 25.0 in her first race back and was surprised that she managed to get in the 24-second range so soon.
Sjostrom also reflected on her prelim swim by saying that she didn’t have any pain in her previously broken arm when she touched the wall; a good sign for her Olympic conquests this summer.
While Sjostrom would be the Swedish favourite to race the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles and the 100 butterfly, it is uncertain which races she will end up swimming given the state of her elbow. She decided to not race any butterfly at her first meet back this week and will ease into racing again with only the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Sjostrom is entered as the top seed in the 100 freestyle for day 2 of the meet with a 52.23 compared to her PB and world record of 51.71 from the 2017 World Championships. She will be met by 50 freestyle victor Pernille Blume (53.70), Lidon Munoz (54.33), Lena Bousquin (54.45), among others.