Therese Alshammar Returns With 25.52 50 Free, Sights Set On 100

MARE NOSTRUM SERIES – CANET

One of swimming’s most legendary sprinters in history Therese Alshammar made her return to competitive swimming at the Canet stop of the 2021 Mare Nostrum Series in Canet-en-Roussillon, France. The 6-time Olympic swimmer raced in the women’s 50 freestyle and posted a 25.52 to take 5th place overall. Her final swim was slightly faster than her prelim swim of 25.83. Ahead of her in the final was 2016 Olympic champion Pernille Blume with a 24.06, Melanie Henique with a 24.69, Sarah Sjostrom with a 24.81, and Lidon Munoz with a 25.06.

Her 5th place finish here is a solid performance for her first race since her retirement from the sport in November 2016. Alshammar is one of the most decorated swimmers of her time in swimming and managed t0 collect 21 major international medals in the event between 1997 and 2011.

Therese Alshammar‘s Major International 50 Freestyle Medals

Olympic Games

  • Silver: Sydney 2000

World Championships (Long Course)

  • Gold: Shanghai 2011
  • Silver: Fukuoka 2001, Melbourne 2007, Rome 2009

World Championships (Short Course)

  • Gold: Athens 2000, Moscow 2002
  • Silver: Shanghai 2006
  • Bronze: Indianapolis 2004

European Championships (Long Course)

  • Gold: Helsinki 2000, Berlin 2002, Madrid 2004, Budapest 2010
  • Silver: Istanbul 1999, Budapest 2006
  • Bronze: Seville 1997, Eindhoven 2008

European Championships (Short Course)

  • Gold: Lisbon 1999, Valencia 2000
  • Silver: Antwerp 2001, Helsinki 2006

Along with her extensive list of podium finishes, Alshammar also became the first woman to swim under 24 seconds in the short course version of the event. At the 2000 Short Course World Championships, Alshammar posted a 23.59 to improve upon her own world record of 24.09 from the prior year.

In a post-race interview according to SVT Sport Alshammar shared that she didn’t go into the race with many expectations despite the fact that it is her favorite event. Alshammar added that her main focus for the meet will be the 100 freestyle which is set to take place tomorrow. As she did in the 50, Alshammar has also twice broken the 100 freestyle world record first in 1999 with a 52.80 and then in 2000 with a 52.17.

It’s not yet clear what Alshammar’s long terms plans are for this comeback or if she has made it her goal to qualify for the 2020 Swedish Olympic team. While Sweden has not yet solidified their final Olympic squad, the federation has already nominated Michelle Coleman and Sarah Sjostrom to the team for the 50 freestyle and Sarah Sjostrom in the 100 freestyle. Coleman was added to the team following her 24.54 50 freestyle at the 2021 European Championships which got under the 24.77 FINA A standard but was not named to the team in the 100 free despite her 54.12 in the event at Euros which is quicker than the 54.38 FINA A cut.

In terms of Olympic aspirations this year, Alshammar’s most likely shot at a nomination will come in the 100 freestyle. She will, however, need to deliver a solid swim in order to position herself amongst the top of the Swedish 100 freestyle rankings.

Swedish Women 100 Freestyle Ranking During Olympic Qualification Period (March 1, 2019 – June 1, 2021)

  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

Alshammar’s best time is a 53.58 from World Championships back in 2009 and ranks her as the third fastest Swedish woman behind Sarah Sjostrom‘s 51.71 from 2017 and Michelle Coleman‘s 53.04 from 2019. Alshammar is entered in tomorrow’s 100 freestyle as 17th seed in the event with a 56.20.

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Curious swimmer
3 months ago

I would not be surprised if she pulled out a 55 mid swim tomorrow. Very exciting to see her face again, one of my idols growing up.

Math
3 months ago

She was one of my favorite swimmers growing up. Always on screen winning the sprints

Swammerstein
3 months ago

Shes a boss!

Dan
3 months ago

Both Sophie and Sara J. split 54’s on the relays at Euro’s with Sara’s 54.30 being the fastest. Maybe Therese is aiming to help out the relays?

Aquajosh
Reply to  Dan
3 months ago

That would be ideal. Anything you can do to get Sweden into the final without having to swim Sjostrom is the dream scenario Sarah has had to spend seemingly her whole career waiting for.

Alshammar would also be a huge, gamechanging pickup for an ISL team like Tokyo, which was in dire need of female sprinters last year. I’d imagine even now that not many people would be able to beat her at a 50 fly.