MARE NOSTRUM SERIES – CANET
- June 1-2, 2021
- Centre de Natation Arlette Franco, Canet-en-Roussillon, France
- Long Course Meters (50 meters)
- Day 1 Prelims Recap
- Day 1 Finals Recap
- Day 2 Prelims Recap
- Day 2 Finals Recap
Swedish sprint legends Sarah Sjostrom and Therese Alshammar continued their comeback campaigns on day 2 of the Mare Nostrum Series in Canet, France. Sjostrom’s hiatus from competition has been much shorter, lasting from February 2021 when she broke her elbow while Alshammar’s made her return more than 4 years after her November 2016 retirement.
Both Sjostrom and Alshammar raced the 100 free on day 2 of the meet. Sjostrom earned a bronze medal in the event with a 54.84 while Therese Alshammar wound up in 8th place in the B final with a 58.41. That was an improvement for Sjostrom upon her prelim swim of 54.90 while it was a bit slower for Alshammar compared to her morning swim of 58.82.
This is the first step back for Sjostrom en route to the Tokyo Olympics at which she is expected to race the 100 freestyle. Sjostrom said in a post-race interview with SVT Sport that she hopes to develop more speed in the coming month.
Alshammar also spoke to SVT after the race and explained that she hopes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in the 4×100 freestyle relay. In order to do so, Alshammar will likely need to rank within the top 6 Swedish women throughout the Olympic qualifying period of March 1, 2019 – June 27, 2021. That will mean a decent drop from Alshammar’s 58.41 considering that current 8th rank Alicia Lundblad holds a 56.49.
Swedish Women 100 Freestyle Ranking During Olympic Qualification Period
- Sarah Sjostrom – 52.23
- Michelle Coleman – 53.04
- Louise Hansson – 54.27
- Sophie Hansson – 55.85
- Alma Thormalm – 55.88
- Sara Juvenik – 55.99
- Hanna Eriksson – 56.01
- Alicia Lundblad – 56.49
While Alshammar still has a way to go, she can’t yet be counted out as one of history’s greatest sprinter. Alshammar has an impressive resume in the 100 freestyle including Olympic silver in 2000 as well as 2 short course world records in 1999 (52.80) and 2000 (52.17). Should Alshammar qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games, it will be her 7th Olympic appearance having raced in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.
Swedish Federation Sports Manager Ulrika Sandmark offered her remarks on Sjostrom and Alshammar’s Olympic conquests after their respective 100 freestyle races. Regarding Sjostrom, Sandmark said the following:
“My expectations are that she will be able to swim in a way that she will be satisfied. She has very high demands on herself. I want her to be able to feel that she is on her way back and can perform so that she feels satisfied.”
Discussing Alshammar, Sandmark mentioned the June 27 deadline and noted that they planned to make final decisions on who they will take to Tokyo at the last minute, likely in order to consider all their options.
While Alshammar isn’t entered to race at the next stop of the Mare Nostrum series later this week in Barcelona, she will have more opportunities to improve her 100 freestyle time including at the Sette Colli Trophy in Italy later this month.
In addition to the 100 freestyle, both Sjostrom and Alshammar raced the 50 free on day 1 of the meet. Here is a full summary of their prelim and final swims in both the 50 and 100:
|Sarah Sjostrom||Therese Alshammar|