The Olympic silver has been followed by nine victories in the ISL series.
Sarah Sjöström’s strong comeback after the elbow fracture has made her look towards a world record – four years after her latest.
– It would be really cool, she says before the packed competition autumn, almost with the European Championships.
Starting on Tuesday, the European Short Course Championships in Kazan, Russia, then the playoffs in the ISL series, the short course World Championships in mid-December and the possible ISL finals in early January await.
A rock hard program like Sarah Sjöström received the go-ahead for by his orthopedist.
When first the corona pandemic and then the injury put an end to Sjöström, she is extremely passionate about the championship.
She is not directly on the lazy side in Kazan. There will be five individual distances – plus team caps.
The elbow fracture after she slipped on an ice patch in February this year has healed.
The Olympic silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle, less than six months after the operation, was a sensationally good comeback.
Close to the world record
The continuation has kept the same high class – especially on the 50-meter distances.
It is also at 50 meters free that she sees the world record chance.
With 23.17, Sjöström was only 24 hundredths above the Dutch Ranomi Kromowidjojo’s four-year-old world record in the ISL at the beginning of September.
The chance already exists in Kazan – but Sjöström himself believes more in the short track world championships in Abu Dhabi in December.
– The European Championships will be a good opportunity to train in the 50s when I am fresh. In ISL, I often have a team race ten minutes before. We’ll see what I can do. I hope for times between 23.0 and 23.5 in all rounds and then the hope is that it is at the World Cup that I will be able to get down to world record times, she says.
Sjöström himself has the record for the distance in the long distance and had it for a while in short.
In total, the super Swede has six world records, four in long and two in short. The latest are set for 2017.
“Nothing I expected”
That she is now up and sniffing at that level so quickly after the injury surprises her herself.
– It was not something I had expected. After the first and second competition in ISL, I was surprised that it went so fast, says Sjöström who had intended to interrupt the basic series to continue the rehabilitation at home.
After a short stop in Stockholm with investigations, she returned to Naples where the basic series was decided.
– I am happy with the process we have done, it will take time, but swimming works well. But there is stuff to do before it is perfect, says Sjöström who after the Olympics won nine of 14 branch starts individually in ISL.
What is missing is to get the muscle mass back in the right arm. Now Sjöström has been able to train at home throughout October and continue to build up strength.
– It will take several months. But I am very happy with the job we have done and as usual we have also worked on technology, coordination and speed.
Sharpen the tactics
During ISL, Sjöström has dominated the 50-meter distances, but has not won in the 100-meter distances yet. But Sjöström thinks it’s more about her tactical approach than the strength of her arm.
– I feel that I am very strong, but at the same time I know that my strength is the speed. So I have to get the speed of the first 50 with me without it costing so much. So that I can use the endurance at the end. That is the challenge of 100 meters butterfly and 100 meters freestyle, she says.
Sjöström swims 50 and 100 meters freestyle, 50 and 100 meters butterfly and 100 meters medley at the European Championships.
Since she started focusing more on freestyle after the Olympics in Rio 2016, 50 meters freestyle has become her favorite distance. It is decided directly in Kazan, hence her hectic program.
– Since my main branch is the first two days, I chose to have a slightly tougher schedule. It is good training before the World Cup.
Sjöström has not swum the short track EC since 2017 when she took two gold and two silver individually.
Now she has made the autumn’s fastest time of 50 meters free of the European swimmers and is second ranked in both 50 meters butterfly and 100 meters free. In the 100 meter butterfly, she has not yet swum this short track season. Several of the biggest competitors are missing, but the Polish Katarzyna Wasick, this autumn’s Europaetta in the 100 meter freestyle, will be the biggest competitor in both freestyle distances.
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World record in sight after rapid return