Therese Alshammar Confirms 2021 Olympic Goal, Sjostrom Hits 54.84 100 Free


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

  1. Sarah Sjostrom – 52.23
  2. Michelle Coleman – 53.04
  3. Louise Hansson – 54.27
  4. Sophie Hansson – 55.85
  5. Alma Thormalm – 55.88
  6. Sara Juvenik – 55.99
  7. Hanna Eriksson – 56.01
  8. 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
Prelim Final Prelim Final
50 freestyle 24.68 24.81 25.83 25.52
100 freestyle 54.90 54.84 57.82 58.41

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7 months ago

Two seconds in a month—will be interesting to see if she can do it

Reply to  Joe
7 months ago

1.32 sec to drop from her prelim swim. I hope she makes it.

Reply to  Joe
7 months ago

25 in 50 free, yes she can.

7 months ago

Seems like she’s left it a bit late. I wonder when she began training again?

Mr Piano
Reply to  Troyy
7 months ago

Dara Torres took 7 years off from training and still went 24.0 and split a 52.44 100 free. Wonder how she did it…

Reply to  Mr Piano
7 months ago

We all do…

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Mr Piano
7 months ago

According to her, it was that weird-ass stretching routine and whatever brand of amino acids she was taking. In her 7 years off of competitive swim training, it’s not like she got Phelps fat and out of shape. She was a fitness nut. Not many elite women sprinters go to like 0% body fat. Her strength to body weight ratio was insane. Why couldn’t that be done without PEDs, which I assume you’re implying. If you haven’t been to a gym and have some 140 lb woman kick your ass with weights, you probably go to a crappy gym.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Troyy
7 months ago

Although the 25 sec 50 free, 58 sec 100 free is almost MA-esque.

7 months ago

This headline is misleading

The Original Tim
Reply to  Zswam
7 months ago

What’s misleading? Sjostrom went a 54.84 and Alshammar said she’s hopes to qualify for the 4×100 free relay…

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  The Original Tim
7 months ago

Think it’s a language issue. “Confirms” made me think twice about whether that was some non-U.S. way of saying she made the cut.

7 months ago

Article mentions sjostroms prelims swim but not alshammar’s which was nearly a second faster

7 months ago

Still has the wr in the 50 scm fly iirc.

Braden Keith(@braden)
Reply to  Khachaturian
7 months ago

That’s correct. 24.38. Just .05 faster than Sjostrom’s long course record.

Fresh Cuts
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

Can Sarah drop a 24.37 for the meme?