Therese Alshammar Qualifies for Historic Sixth Olympics

38-year-old Therese Alshammar of Sweden was selected on June 21 to compete in the 50 free at the upcoming Rio Olympics.

Alshammar will make history as the third swimmer ever and first female swimmer to compete in six Olympics– only Derya Büyükuncu of Turkey and Lars Frölander (also of Sweden) have competed in that many Olympics. Both men swam in six straight, running from 1992 in Barcelona to 2012 in London.

Swedish news outlet reports that Alshammar’s time in the 50 free at the Canet stop of the Mare Nostrum tour, a strong 24.75, was enough to convince the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) to place Alshammar on the Swedish Olympic team. That time is fairly close to the 24.61 she went to finish 6th at the 2012 London Games, and is actually faster than her two 50 swims from the 2008 Beijing Games.

In her interview with DN, Alshammar said “I would like to do my fastest race ever in the Olympic final.” That’s quite a goal, considering her best time is a magic suit-aided 23.88 from the 2009 World Championships. Only Britta Steffen (also in 2009) at 23.73 and Cate Campbell at 23.84 have been faster than that in history– Campbell is the favorite to win the event in Rio.

Alshammar won silver in the 50 and 100m free along with a relay bronze at the Sydney Games in 2000. Her Olympic debut came in 1996, and now, 20 years later, the sprint specialist will compete once again in Rio. She’s been swimming in the Olympics as long as I, the author of this post, have been alive.

In addition to Alshammar, Charlotta Fougberg was added to the Swedish Olympic team in the 3000m steeplechase– that makes 140 members of the Swedish team right now.

Alshammar now joins a Swedish Olympic swim team that includes Sarah Sjostrom, Jennie Johansson, Simon Sjödin, Erik Persson, Sophie Hansson, Ida Marko VargaLouise HanssonIda LindborgStina Gardell, and Michelle Coleman.

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6 years ago

Good Luck and I hope you do well Therese. Several small misses at the last few Olympics, ripped suit in ’08 etc. Hope all of those are reversed this year.

6 years ago


6 years ago

Is it possible that she meant that she wants to swim the fastest she ever has specifically in an Olympic final? So like faster than the 24.61 she swam in London.

Patrick S
Reply to  Karl Ortegon
6 years ago

Your translation is correct. It´s the newspaper that have misquoted her. In an interview with swedish radio she said that her goal was to swim her fastest time of the season at the olympics, so that´s probably what she said to DN too.

Reply to  Patrick S
6 years ago is the best mainstream media outlet for swimming though, and the reporter Malin Fransson had her own interview as is stated.

Alshammar has been in the game for a long time, she knows that confidence is important and not to set barriers. While she probably acknowledges that her suited PB is out of reach, there’s no reason she couldn’t shoot for a low 24. If you look at most of her races, she has been really strong for the first 30-35 meters but has faded towards the end. The sheer speed to make some great times is still there.

Coach Mike 1952
6 years ago

Congratulations to Therese! She is Sweden’s’ Dara Torres.

Victor P
6 years ago

The Swedish Dara Torres. Awesome!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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