It’s a World Record that we all saw coming, but was still incredibly impressive on Sunday evening in Kazan, Russia at the 2015 FINA World Championships.
In just the semi-finals, the very-first swim of the very-first evening session of the meet, Sjostrom swam a 55.74 in the women’s 100 meter butterfly. That broke Dana Vollmer’s 2012 record of 55.98.
Sjostrom first won the World Championship in this event (and broke the World Record) at just 15-years old, swimming 56.06 in a polyurethane suit. The record at the time was a huge shock (aside from the fact that every record was being broken), and it stood until Vollmer broke it at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Since 2012, however, and especially in the last year, Sjostrom has begun to catch up and surpass her suited times. That includes a 24.43 in the 50 fly in 2014 that shattered that World Record.
Sjostrom still hasn’t recaptured the same full back-half speed as she had in 2009 – a year where everyone had back-half speed in part because of the lack of fatigue thanks to the buoyancy of the now-outlawed suits. But she came very close on the back-half, and more importantly add her blinding 50 meter speed to re-break the record.
The 21-year old broke the European Record already this year in 56.04, but had a poor finishing stroke. That made the target for the World Record a clear path forward.
Nobody was within a second of her in the semi-finals, and while we could see a few 56’s in Monday’s medal round, Sjostrom won’t be caught if she keeps her head.