Victor Johansson Details “Nightmare” 2020, Targets Tokyo Qualification In June

Swedish swimmer Victor Johansson has endured a lot over the last 18 months, to say the least.

A star distance freestyler in his native country, Johansson represented Sweden at the 2017 World Championships at just 18 years of age, placing 11th in the 800 free, and then made his way over to the U.S. to go to school at USC in the NCAA, beginning in the 2018-19 season.

Coming off of winning gold in the men’s 1500 free at the 2019 World University Games in Italy, Johansson noticed something was off in October of that year. He turned out to have low testosterone levels as a result of overtraining, but that was just the first of a hellish stretch of medical scares.

Johansson on a ventilator in December.

“2020 (and the end of 2019) was really tough for me,” Johansson told SwimSwam. “Not only did I struggle with low testosterone levels because of overtraining, but I also got Covid and was sick for about four weeks in May/June of last year.

“Additionally, like that wasn’t enough, in December I got put on a ventilator because of a bacterial infection.

“Truly a nightmare. Had a total of four months of swimming during 2020. Lots to catch up.”

Despite going through this trio of health issues, with the latter being a truly scary scenario, Johansson has made his way back into form these past few months.

“Training has been going really well,” he said.

The 22-year-old has raced at a few different meets in Sweden in 2021, which led him into the European Championships last week. In Budapest, Johansson swam a time of 7:55.34 in the 800 freestyle, good for 12th place overall and just a second outside of the FINA ‘A’ standard of 7:54.31.

Johansson says he didn’t taper at all for that swim, and was happy with it. He’ll now turn his focus to the Sette Colli Trophy, scheduled for June 25-27 in Rome, where Swedish swimmers will have one final opportunity to qualify for the Olympic team.

Sweden’s swimmers have to be nominated to the Olympic team by the Swedish Olympic Committee (seven have been so far), meaning that achieving the FINA ‘A’ cut won’t assure Johansson of an Olympic spot, though it likely will.

“I would like to swim faster, just to be on the safe side,” he said, owning a personal best of 7:49.77 from 2018.

“Really looking forward to some rest soon and see what I can do.”

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JP input is too short
6 months ago

Man, I’m glad he’s OK after all that.

But his story coupled with his performances thus far just kind of highlight that maybe the “beat yourself up for 4 months and then taper for 2 weeks” paradigm isn’t really the most optimal.

6 months ago

Sweden uses guideline times that are close to 8th place time at the 2019 World Champs, but you can still be selected for the team if you are slower, but there is also no guarantee that you will be selected if you go faster (Ex. Michelle Coleman going 53.04 during fall of 2019 and not be selected until yesterday for the 50 free). I think the time for the Swedish men in 800 free is around 7.49.25 as a guideline.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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