Sarah Sjostrom Will Race to Defend Her Olympic Title in 100 Butterfly in Tokyo

2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games

After months of “Will she or won’t she?” speculation, Sarah Sjostrom put the question to rest by announcing her participation in the 100 meter butterfly at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She is the reigning Olympic champion and World Record-holder in the 100 fly, but recent injuries have created hurdles for the Swedish star.

During the 2020 ISL season, Sjostrom missed a meet due to a lingering back injury. In February of this year, she broke her elbow slipping on ice. Sjostrom needed surgery to repair her broken elbow and was out of the water for four months. She told Swedish media in mid-May that she had only just begun swimming butterfly again. “I’m not as strong in my right arm, I lost almost four centimeters of muscle mass around my broken arm,” Sjostrom said, in a translation of the original Swedish. “It becomes very fluid and asymmetrical in butterfly swimming.”

Sjostrom is also the World Record-holder in the 50 free and 100 free and it was assumed she would only swim those two races in the Tokyo Olympics. Her agent confirmed that schedule on Monday. However, on Thursday, L’Equipe reported that Sjostrom said she was planning to swim the 100 fly “because I have done it for the last thirteen years of international championships.”

“It will be hard, but I’m curious to see how it will go,” she added. Recovery was “a long process. I would have liked to have had a few more weeks of training but didn’t have them. Now I’m here and my last weeks of preparation have been really good.”

Sjostrom apparently told Swedish media that her goal was to swim a sub-57 this week. She broke both the World Record and the Olympic Record in 2016 with 55.48. She is seeded 5th in Tokyo with 56.22, but that performance dates from World Championship in 2019 when she finished second to Maggie MacNeil (55.83). It will likely take a 55-mid to make the podium in Tokyo.

This will be the fourth consecutive Olympic Games in which Sjostrom will compete in the 100 fly. In 2008 at the age of 14, she placed 27th. In 2012 in London, she finished 4th. And in 2016, she won the event in Rio.

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M d e
2 months ago

“It will take a sub 55-mid to make the podium.”

The WR is 55.48, I’m not saying it’s impossible 3 swimmers go that fast, but I kind of doubt it.

Reply to  M d e
2 months ago

Sarah Sjostrom’s best bet to medal is the women’s 50 meter freestyle.

M d e
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
2 months ago

I don’t disagree with that, but that is because she is unlikely to be at her best, not because half the final is going under her world record.

2 months ago

As much as I want Sarah to win this I don’t even think she’s going medal which is unfortunate with all she’s been through this year but I really want to see her shock not only the field but the world in all of her races to prove that she’s still the best.

G Force
Reply to  PFA
2 months ago

Both the 100m fly champions will silence the critics and defend their Olympics titles. Mark my words!

cheesehead swim
Reply to  G Force
2 months ago

You must have some insight we don’t, did someone go a fast time in practice again?

Fortnite Nick
Reply to  cheesehead swim
2 months ago

They were pissed

Here Comes Lezak
Reply to  cheesehead swim
2 months ago

Joking aside, I would actually like to see Schooling grab a medal. I think he’s taken his licks the past quad. I think Sarah could surprise us here with a good performance here though!

Reply to  cheesehead swim
2 months ago

Can someone explain the Schooling training joke to me..?

Big moves
Reply to  lacticacidlord
2 months ago

TLDR: Schooling said he went a 50.7 in practice after Dressel went a 50.8 at Nationals because “he was pissed.”

2 months ago

Good luck.

2 months ago

Yayyy that’s awesome! I was hoping she would go for it

2 months ago

Class transcends such things as nationalities and Sarah has been a class act in and out of the pool.

I think its going to be a major “ask” for her to medal, let alone win, in either here or in her FS events, given her injury, but if she does medal then I couldn’t be happier even if it does displace an Aussie.

2 months ago

Suffered the same injury as Sjostrom (twice!) and never would have guessed she would be able to do this. It may be over ambitious for her to try 3 individuals events, but I will be cheering her on.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  frug
2 months ago

Same. I broke my elbow once and like Sjostrom it was in February. That’s why the timetable is so easy to remember. In July I tried to play golf in Lake Tahoe and it hurt so bad I screamed and had to quit after two shots. Two months later it felt much better and stronger. That’s why I think Sjostrom is two months shy. I’ll be rooting for her but from her comments it’s obvious she realizes it’s a bit too soon to seriously compend. She needed these Tokyo Games in October like 1964.

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 months ago

We don’t know the exact type of her elbow fracture. The time of recovery and the future depands mainly on that.

2 months ago

sub 55 mid to make a podium LOL? do people think breaking WR in Olympics is that easy that 3 people will break it? kinda ridiculous.

Reply to  maverick1993
2 months ago

No reason to bash a typo so hard god damn lol

M d e
Reply to  Aqqq
2 months ago

I don’t think it was a typo. Because 56-mid is likely too slow for a bronze medal.

At minimum 3 swimmers will break 56.

Last edited 2 months ago by M d e
Texas Tap Water
Reply to  M d e
2 months ago

It’s a typo.

SwimSwam has corrected to “sub 57”

Woke Stasi
2 months ago

One of the feel-good stories of this Olympics!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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