Sarah Sjostrom Validates World Record Time With Second-Fastest 50 Fly Ever

Watch race video above, courtesy of Zemsporttv.

After Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjostrom obliterated the World Record in the women’s 50 fly last year, there were some whispers, though not loud ones, that her swim at an outdoor pool might have been wind-aided as an explanation for one of the contextually-best sprint swims we’ve had in the last decade.

See Also: Sarah Sjostrom 50 Fly World Record Video from 2014

On Sunday, in Eindhoven, though, Sjostrom validated that swim with a 24.69 in the women’s 50 fly semi-final. That not only leads the world in 2015, but is the second-fastest performance in history behind her own 24.43 World Record.

At still just 21-years old, Sjostrom now has the 4-fastest times in history, and all of the times under 25 seconds. Between her and fellow Swede Therese Alshammar, the Scandanavian country now owns 7 out of the 8 fastest performances in history.

Top 10 women’s 50 flys ever:

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 24.43 (2014
  2. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 24.69 (2015)
  3. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 24.87 (2014)
  4. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 24.98 (2014)
  5. Therese Alshammar, Sweden, 25.07 (2009)
  6. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 25.12 (2014)
  7. Fran Halsall, Great Britain, 25.20 (2014)
  8. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 25.23 (2014)
  9. Jeanette Ottesen, Denmark, 25.24 (2013)
  10. Marleen Veldhuis, Netherlands, 25.28 (2009)

All 10 of those performances reside in a relatively tiny region in Northern and Western Europe – a peculiar density given the typical geographic diversity of women’s top 10 lists like this.

The finals followed shortly after (50 meter semis and finals are swum in the same session), and Sjostrom was just 25.59 in that round – with still a significant margin to win. She swam that race just a few moments after breaking a Swedish Record in the 100 back. A full recap will come at the conclusion of the race.


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5 years ago

Great no-breath swim. And she was recovering from food poisoning!

The Dutch have seen plenty of great swimming this week, lucky them. And congrats to them for making good-quality videos available soon after the race!

5 years ago

Ridiculous that her her second best performance is still over half a second faster than anyone else in history.

I think the 24.43 was maybe the most ridiculous swim this decade. Maybe even any decade. Who drops 3.3% off of a world record in one swim? The only thing you can say against it being the top swim of the past decade is that it was in a non-Olympic event, so the record was softer than Olympic events where more attention has been devoted my more people for longer.

Still, hard to argue with 3.3 freaking percent.

bobo gigi
Reply to  mcgillrocks
5 years ago

That’s what I would have replied you.
She did it in a non-olympic event.

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

But isn’t it crazy that her 50 FLY WR time would have won EVERY SINGLE US NATIONALS IN 50 FREE (with the exception of 2009)?

It is extraordinary. It’s on the level of Meagher’s 57.96 and 2:05.91

Reply to  mcgillrocks
5 years ago

Agreed! To me its especially unreal how competitive her 50 fly time would be as a FREESTYLE time. 24.43 would have won the GOLD MEDAL in 2004 for FREESTYLE, and would still be a world class time (though not quite medal worthy) today. In my mind, the male equivalent of her performance would be breaking 22 in a 50 meter fly.

I feel that Sjostrom’s stroke is ideal for the 50 fly, and that she’s proved that the ideal 50 and 100 strokes differ (just as they do in freestyle to some degree). She has very little undulation, an immediate catch, and high turnover. She is basically swimming double arm sprint freestyle.

Mark Savage
Reply to  fatsmcgee
5 years ago

great observation

Human Ambition
Reply to  fatsmcgee
5 years ago

She is also insanely well rounded. Last march she played with Hosszu and Olympic Champion Muffat in the last 100 of the 400 free in Amiens. 59.4 for a finish of 4:06.0. I don’t know about any female or male sprinter that can do stuff like this. Ryk Neethling held the WR in the 100 individual medley but that was years after his fourth place in Sydney at 1500. And Phelps/Lochte never swam a world leading 50 of any stroke. I had the opportunity to swim in her lane for a while in 2011 since we swim for the same team and she was good at racing back then as well. I recall a bunch of 150s holding 1:37. She… Read more »

Reply to  Human Ambition
5 years ago

Ryk Neethling’s range was incredible. He also held the WR in the 4×100 free relay, when he split 47.91 in Athens 2004. That’s after stepping down from a 1500m time of 15:02.40 in 1998. Near perfect balance of fast and slow twitch fibre.

Human Ambition
Reply to  Billabong
5 years ago

Ryk wasn’t the easiest opponent in college dual meets. Amazing that he could push out all the strokes as well. Yannick Agnel swam an in season 15:07 long course mile in Austin defeating some studs like Mellouli, McBroom and McLean but is not really tested in other strokes,

Justin Thompson
5 years ago

I thought she looked much more under control in that race compared to the 24.43. She looked great and has definitely risen the bar in this event. I think you’ll see a lot of swimmers try to emulate her no breath 50m fly. It was hard to tell in this race but I caught at least 4 girls taking a breath. Do any of the other top 50m fliers go the entire length without a breath?

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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