Sjostrom Negative Splits 200 FR in Indy, Throws Down 28.2 on Final 50


Following her statement at the Budapest stop of the FINA Champions Swim Series that she would likely not be competing in the 200 free at Worlds, Sarah Sjostrom pulled off a rare feat in the LCM 200 free – a negative split. At the Indianapolis stop of the Champions Series, Sjostrom came in 3rd with a relatively tame (for her) 1:57.92.

She was out well behind the field (Penny Oleksiak, Leah Smith, and Melanie Margalis), turning at the 100 mark in 59.12. Sjostrom then posted a 30.59 on the 3rd 50, which actually tied Oleksiak for the slowest split in the field on that 50. She then exploded coming out of the final turn, tearing to a 28.21 on the final 50, marking the fastest split in the field by over 1.5 seconds. That marked a 59.12/58.80 negative split for Sjostrom.

For context, that final 50 split is faster, considerably, than even Federica Pellegrini split when she swam her world record time of 1:52.98 (28.60). As far as I can tell, Sjostrom’s 28.21 split is faster than any of the final 50 splits in the top 25 performances all-time in the world. Although Sjostrom has proven to be one of the best 200 freestylers in the world, boasting a 1:54.08 personal best, it’s interesting to see one of the biggest women’s sprint talents in the world currently finishing a 200 free with so much speed.

Sjostrom said in May that she likely would not be including the 200 free in her event schedule for Worlds in July. “…It’s already a very busy schedule for me already with the 100 fly, 100 free and also the 50 free and 50 fly, so I need some days for recovery, I am not 15 anymore so it’s a little difficult for me to do too many events.” She does not, however, completely rule out swimming the race in Gwangju.

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4 years ago

Turning at 100m in 59.12 for a swimmer who regularly swims the 100 free under 53″ is very, very comfortable.
So, too much emphasis – imo – for Sjostrom’s 28.21 on the final 50m following another over 30″ in the third 50m, and meaningless the comparison with the WR split on the last 50, because Pellegrini, with less easy speed than Sjostrom, turned in 55.6 (not 59.1..) at 100m and was under 29″ also on the third 50m.
Then, obviously, I know that Pellegrini was in the best form of her life, at the home Worlds, and with the 2009 supersuits, while Sjostrom was swimming many events in a two-days meet, but is a nonsense making a comparison… Read more »

Reply to  nuotofan
4 years ago

Yeah… comparing to the worlds in 2009 is not really fair… Nor what they wore at the time… so team sjostoem tries something new after the first two comfortable wins… still impressive last lap and season so far

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  nuotofan
4 years ago

Exactly. I was watching the race asking myself…is Sjostrom ever going to try at all?

Reply to  nuotofan
4 years ago

What form Federica Pellegrini was in 2009 is a great mystery. She has very long history of swimming 200 event in international meets of any level of intensity and importance. 12 years or so I think. And only two of them were in high-tech suits. All these many years of competition in textile suits suggest that she may never was able to break 1:54.
What is the proving argument that she peaked in 2009 at the age of 21? Only two people knew the answer for this question for sure: her coach and herself. Her coach passed away and Federica never spoke about that (to my knowledge). The difference between her best textile time (1:54.55) and her world record… Read more »