Sjostrom Swims 1:54.34 in 200 Free Becoming New World Leader on Day 1

2016 Swedish National Championships

Day one of the Swedish National Swimming Championships just wrapped up, and mid-distance star Sarah Sjostrom leads the Swedish team in its last big event before Rio.

In the finals of the women’s 200 freestyle, Sjostrom crushed the competition by almost a full two seconds to clench the victory in a time of 1:54.34.  Only three-one-hundredths of a second off her personal best established last summer at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, Sjostrom’s time today is the fastest in the world this year.  Previous to today, Sjostrom was ranked 4th in the world this year with a 1:54.87 swum in March.  Katie Ledecky now sits in second with her 1:54.43 from the Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin that happened in January.  It was at this same competition in January when Ledecky posted her latest world record in the 800 freestyle.

2015-2016 LCM Women 200 Free

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Placing second to Sjostrom in the 200 free was Michelle Coleman with a 1:56.12, which would have been good enough for second-place at US Olympic Trials.  Coleman, already a member of the Swedish Olympic team, was well under the FINA ‘A’ standard with her time today, but her season-best is a 1:55.88, which ranks her 9th-fastest in the world this year.  Ida Marko-Varga and Louise Hansson, both of whom will also be swimming in Rio next month, placed third and fourth in times of 1:59.19 and 1:59.60, respectively.  Rounding out the top five was Stina Gardell with a 2:01.73.  Gardell was also recently named to the Swedish Olympic team.

The men’s 200 butterfly final was won by Simon Sjodin by over two seconds.  Sjodin’s time of 1:57.99 breaks his own meet record.  Sjodin was named to the Swedish Olympic team earlier this year.  Winning the men’s 200 breaststroke was Erik Persson, the only other male swimmer on Sweden’s Olympic team.  Persson’s 2:10.80 is a new meet record and was over 4 seconds faster than second place.

The men’s 100 freestyle was won by Christoffer Carlsen in a time of 49.50.  Carlsen was the only swimmer in the field to break the 50-seconds barrier, and the only swimmer out in under 24-seconds (23.91) in the first 50 meters.

Ida Lindborg picked up first place in the women’s 50 backstroke with a time of 28.73.  Lindborg, along with Stina Gardell, was also recently added to Sweden’s Olympic roster.  Gardell is also the fastest Swedish woman so far this year in the 200 IM, which she will swim in Rio next month.

Winning the women’s 200 breaststroke was Jenny Johansson in a 2:26.16, which breaks Jolene Hostman‘s previous meet record, established in 2012, by four-tenths of a second.  Finishing in second was Jessica Eriksson and in third Sophie Hansson.  Both Hanssons have already been named to Sweden’s Olympic team.

The final individual event of the day was the men’s 1500 meter freestyle, which was won by Adam Paulsson in a time of 15:48.99.  The final race of the day was the women’s 400 freestyle relay, which was won by the team from Spårvägen.  Stina Gardell led off the team with a 56.85, and Michelle Coleman went second with a 53.62.  By far the fastest split of the race came from Sjostrom in a 52.68, swimming second for her relay, which placed fifth over all.

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The 200 free may be one the most anticipated races for me at the Olympics. Not only will this be great chance for Sjostrom to get her first Gold medal, but she could be the first person to hand Katie a defeat on the international stage.


KL easily beat her the only time they meet in this event earlier this year. I don’t see a different result this time either.


Ledecky is one of the fiercest competitive swimmer on the planet right now- she proved it last year in Kazan – she is afraid of no challenges nor expectations . She will handle Sjostrom in Rio .


That’s what everybody was saying about Missy a few years ago

Steve Nolan

Yeah, and a few years ago Missy was awesome.

Katie and Sarah should both be pretty awesome this year, too.

Sarah fan

Sarah is definitely one of the most competitive swimmers out there and if i were you I wouldn’t feel too comfortable that Ledecky will “handle her”. Sarah did her mistakes in London 2012, she won’t let that happen again.


To me head to head competitions trumps posting a fast time at an odd meet at some part of the season. Another big factor is fortitude at big meets. Sjostrom didn’t do that well in London but she might be better prepared for this meet. As far as pellegrini how many Olympic golds does she have ?


Sjostrom’s great chance to win her first gold is actually 100 fly as it falls on the first and second day.

Victor P

If Ledecky doesn’t swim sub 1:54 in Rio, she could actually end up 3rd. I’m fairly certain that both Pellegrini and Sjostrom will be sub 1:54.


If you consider that the 200M free is not a primary event for Ledecky. I am pleasantly surprised that she has been able to go as fast as she does in this event. Defeating Ledecky in the 400M or 800M free that would be noteworthy.


Brilliant for Sjostrom!

A shame that Hansson is clearly not in the form of the last couple of years, particularly given Marko-Varga’s improvements.

Sweden remain an outside shot for relay medals, but they are a second down on Australia in the 4×2 on SBs.

Victor P

I think China is also ahead of Sweden on the relay chances. Sweden will place anywhere between 4th and 6th.


Women’s 4×200 is USA’S barring illness/injury taking out key people with CHN the only other team within camera shot. They can raffle off bronze as the 3rd & 4th legs for everyone else falls away to 1.58 swimmers at best.


I think Australia has 2 swimmers in the 1.57 (high) zone & are clear favourites for the Bronze medal.


Ah yes, Madeline Groves and Leah Neale. Now do you want me to elaborate on either of their international CVs ??? Sorry but the feeling of security that I get from their inclusion is somewhat akin to that of leaving a pyromaniac as night-watchman on an explosives storeroom ! The other likely co-optees are probably Cook (a senior team rookie at 1.58flat or Ashwood (another 1.58). Elmslie is possible but they may be looking to bank more on the 4×100 than this one and her 200 form this year was way off her best. Evans hasn’t raced FS on this comeback and is suffering injury recurrances (missed GP meet) & Coutts isn’t really going to deliver any material boost to… Read more »


I just stated the facts, Madeline Groves swam 1.57.74 at the trials & Leah Neale swam 1.57.94, having not tapered just last week. I was merely pointing this fact out to you, since highlighted no 3-4 swimmers in the 1.57s.
As for Mckeon, she is putting a lot of endurance training in lately, she went 2.07 in the 200 fly last week un-tapered. We know she is as fast as Sjostrom in the 100 & hence with endurance should hopefully stay with her in the 200. She has said she has focused on the 200 free in her training.
In my humble opinion, I believe she will be faster then her trial time.

Myth Destroyer

Mckeon cannot be faster than Franklin because Franklin won 2013 world championship and mckeon has not won anything of importance!!

northern light

This year is not last year. Anything can happen. That’s why there are races.

Myth Destroyer

Are you replying to my comment?

If yes, you missed the obvious sarcasm.
Bobo Gigi dismissed Mckeon because she hasn’t won 200 free medal of importance in his comment:


“Coleman, already a member of the Swedish Olympic team, was well under the FINA ‘A’ standard with her time today and is now the 12th-fastest in the world this year.”

Coleman actually has a sub 1.56 time this year from April. Hansson and Marko-Varga(best time since 2008) were seasonal bests though. Seems like Hansson is slowly crawling back from her injury earlier in the year, she was faster than at the euros. If she can get it fully together in time for Rio the relay might still have a shot.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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