Sjostrom Returns With 50.67 Freestyle Split: 4 Big Things From Match 7 Day 1

by Ben Dornan 2

November 05th, 2020 News


Match 7 of ISL got underway today, featuring defending league champions going up against the newly minted Toronto Titans and returning teams the New York Breakers and Iron. Winning the first 4 events of the day, Energy Standard got off to an early lead and maintained it throughout the session, ending the day with a clear lead over the other 3 teams;


  1. Energy Standard – 300 points
  2. Toronto Titans – 229 points
  3. Iron – 205 points
  4. DC Trident – 141 points

The first half of the meet saw quite a bit of fast racing and featured a few interesting storylines;

#1 Sarah Sjostrom‘s Return

Season 1 MVP and Energy Standard all-star Sarah Sjostrom suffered a minor back injury right before Energy Standard’s second match and had to sit out. The absence left a hole in the team’s butterfly contingent but Maddie Banic was able to make up for the loss by finishing second to teammate Anastasiya Shkrudai in the 100 fly and raced to an impressive victory in the 50 fly.

Upon Sjostrom’s return in Match 7, Energy Standard was able to effectively use all three sprinters; Sjostrom, Banic, and Shkrudai, to their advantage. In the 100 fly, they swam Banic and Shkrudai to try and repeat the 1-2 finish from Match 6. Shkrudai was first again in the event and Banic shifted to third place, with Louise Hansson from Toronto getting in for second place.

As the 100 fly raced, Sjostrom was able to rest for the 50 freestyle in session 2. That slate paid off for Sjostrom and she was able to clinch the victory in the 50, beating Iron’s Ranomi Kromowidjojo by 0.14. Sjostrom’s first race back yielded her 12 points as she jackpotted DC’s Linnea Mack and Toronto’s Julie Meyen.

As the season continues, it will be interesting to see how the trio of Banic, Sjostrom, and Shkrudai are deployed as Energy Standard’s resident fly/free sprinters.

#2 Danas Rapsys Miscounts The 400 Free

The short version is this: Danas Rapsys stopped at the 350-meter mark of the 400 free. After the first 7 50s of the race, Rapsys had the lead and thought that he had completed the full 400. After stopping for a couple of seconds, he realized his mistake and kept racing. He wound up winning the race but not before Zane Grothe made the most of the situation and charged the last 50, nearly out touching Rapsys.

Rapsys won by 0.10 seconds in a 3:40.83 but didn’t make the most of the race as he lost a few potential jackpot points. The near-loss by Rapsys provided a bit of excitement in the session and certainly made for a stressful final 50 for Energy Standard. Further, it served as a valuable lesson for those watching that it’s always important to count your laps – especially if you plan on winning!

#3 Emre Sakci‘s Killer 50 Breaststroke

Emre Sakci has already established himself as a dominant breaststroke force in the 50 breaststroke but his swim today hit a new level today with a blistering 25.29. The swim moves him up to second fastest ever performer in the event, now only behind world record holder Cameron van der Burgh’s 25.25 from 2009.

The time was a definitive ISL record, and it also broke both the Turkish national record and the European record. Emre Sakci seems to be unbeatable in the event and will have a chance to shave more time off next week during Match 9. Any more improvements in the event from Sakci will certainly be a threat to van der Burgh’s record, bring an end to one of the world’s oldest record in swimming.

Sakci has not only been a threat in the individual 50 breast but also in the 50 skins when Iron got the chance to pick the men’s race and correctly chose breaststroke. Sakci won the event, defeating Caeleb Dressel in the final round and scoring a total of 38 points. If Iron is able to pick skins again in Match 9, Sakci could be key for their advancement to post-season meets.

#4 Sjostrom’s Relay Split

As mentioned before, Sarah Sjostrom has a solid return after her injury, winning the individual 50 freestyle. After having sat out the 4×100 freestyle earlier in the session, Sjostrom made a relay comeback as a part of Energy Standard’s 4×100 medley relay. Sjostrom joined teammates Emily Seebohm (back), Benedetta Pilato (breast), and Anastasiya Shkrudai (fly) to win the relay in a time of 3:46.95.

Sjostrom was a key part of this relay as Energy Standard was unsuccessful in beating out Toronto in Match 6 when Sjostrom was absent. Sjostrom contributed a blistering 50.67 freestyle split to close out the relay, nearly a second faster than the second-fastest relay split in the race; Energy Standard teammate Femke Heemskerk’s 51.36. Further, Sjostrom’s freestyle split was faster than all 32 splits in the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay earlier in the session. In that race, Siobhan Haughey had the fastest split with a 51.76.

With the win for Energy Standards comes their ability to choose the women’s skins stroke for the meet. Considering Sjostrom’s 50 freestyle win, freestyle could be a good choice for them but they may also consider butterfly or breaststroke. Sjostrom and Match 6 50 butterfly winner Maddie Banic would be a powerful duo in the butterfly skins, and Benedetta Pilato would have a shot at winning the breast, despite her second-place finish in the 50 of that stroke today.

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3 years ago

5.Kolesnikov with absolutely incredible swims today, crushing the 100 back and 100 free in relays.

3 years ago

6.Nicholas Santos’s 100 fly.