Sjostrom: ‘Someone will go under 50sec’
Swedish swimmer Sjostrom believes strong 100m free field means world record will soon fall
Cate Campbell's short-course world record of 50.91sec in the women's 100m freestyle stood for just over 18 months before Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjostrom rewrote it at the Fina World Cup in Russia in August, with a time of 50.77.
Sjostrom, 24, then lowered it to 50.58 about eight days later at the World Cup in Holland, before Australian Campbell retook pole position with a superb 50.25 effort at the Australian Short Course Swimming Championships in Adelaide last Thursday.
Sjostrom, who still has six short- and long-course world records to her name, believes that Campbell's current mark may not last beyond this year.
"Someone will go under 50 seconds this year," Sjostrom told The New Paper in an exclusive phone interview last Friday.
"I am very happy that many girls have been trying to improve their times; it is important to have more swimmers try to go under 50 seconds, and push one another and the limits.
"I am very happy that Cate has improved on the world record and now I have to swim faster... I am quite far away (from breaking 50 seconds) with my personal best of 50.58, and I have a lot of things to work on."
Sjostrom, who won three golds and a silver at the long-course world championships in Budapest, Hungary, in July, shares a friendly rivalry with Campbell and texted the 25-year-old after her world record on Thursday.
Of Campbell's new world mark, the Swede said: "She's been out for a really long time, she was very surprised herself (at breaking the record). I am very happy for her.
"Maybe she wasn't so happy with her results last year (at the Olympics) and didn't swim in Budapest. I see this (her result at the Australian meet) as a really strong comeback and I'm happy to be able to race her in the next Fina World Cup cluster."
While Sjostrom is the reigning butterfly queen - she won four 100m fly titles at the World Championships from 2009-2017, as well as the gold medal in the same event at the Rio Olympics - she is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the freestyle sprint events, too.
She has been focusing on her freestyle training since the start of the year, after joining forces with coach Johan Wallberg, and does not rule out focusing more on freestyle events in the future.
"I don't know how much more I can improve in the butterfly, except in the finer details like the underwater kicks, but it is almost perfect; however, I am sure that I can swim a lot faster in the freestyle events.
"Right now, I am focusing on my technique and getting stronger, and that is what is important this year."
Sjostrom leads the Fina World Cup series with 446 points after five legs, with Hungary's Katinka Hosszu in second place with 359 points, and will compete in the final three legs in Asia next month - Beijing, China, (Nov 10-11), Tokyo, Japan, (Nov 14-15) and Singapore (Nov 18-19).
She will be aiming to wrap up the overall series title before the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup Singapore presented by Yakult at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, even as she tries to get back into the shape that she was in for Budapest.
Sjostrom said: "I don't know what shape I'd be in (for the upcoming cluster), but I am sure I can swim fast... Coming to the Asian cluster there will be time difference and long travel times, so the most important thing is to win races and take ranking points, and the best way to do it is via rewriting world records."
*Tickets for the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup Singapore presented by Yakult are available on www.sportshubtix.com.sg