Sarah Sjostrom Third In 50 Free As Pernille Blume Scorches To 24.09; Therese Alshammar Has Seventh Games In Her Sights

Sarah Sjostrom: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Sarah Sjostrom Third In 50 Free As Pernille Blume Scorches To 24.09; Therese Alshammar Has Seventh Games In Her Sights

Sarah Sjostrom returned to the familiarity of the podium with third in the 50 free as Pernille Blume scorched to victory in 24.09 at the Mare Nostrum in Canet, France.

Sjostrom’s fellow Swede Therese Alshammar was fifth in 25.52, the six-time Olympian on the comeback trail at the age of 43 with her eyes on a spot on the 4×100 freestyle relay squad with Canet and the Sette Colli in Rome later this month acting as qualification meets for Tokyo.

Katinka Hosszu claimed double gold and a silver in the space of 53 minutes and there were wins for Chad Le Clos and Yulia Efimova while Kregor Zirk continued his Estonian record-breaking run.

Rio 2016 triple medallist Sjostrom was making her return following elbow surgery and rehab after a fall on the Stockholm ice shortly after posting what was then the fastest time of the year of 24.07.

There were questions over her participation at the Tokyo Olympics but her prelim swim of 24.68 saw her through to the final in second behind Blume’s 24.53.

Gian Mattia D'Alberto / lapresse 18-08-2014 Berlino sport 32mi Campionati Europei LEN di nuoto nella foto: Therese Alshammar SWE Gian Mattia D'Alberto / lapresse 18-08-2014 Berlin 32rd LEN European Swimming In the photo: Therese Alshammar SWE

Therese Alshammar – Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia Dalberto/Lapresse

Come the evening and Blume’s blast – a time only she and European champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo have bettered this year – was an indication if one was needed that she has no intention of relinquishing her Olympic crown in Tokyo.

Melanie Henique was second in 24.69 with Sjostrom stopping the clock at 24.81.

Alshammar’s time in Canet was quicker than the 25.78 that propelled her to her first senior individual medal in long-course waters at the 1997 European Championships in Seville, Spain – exactly a week after Sjostrom had celebrated her fourth birthday.

Should she make the team for Tokyo – and her time on Tuesday was 0.01 outside the B cut –  it would come 21 years after she won two silvers and a bronze at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney with her 44th birthday coming 25 days after the conclusion of the swimming programme.

The 10-time European champion, who competes in the 100 free on Wednesday, trains with Sjostrom under coach Johan Wallberg.

The trio had spent 10 days training at altitude at Font Romeu in the Pyrenees before travelling to Canet.

Florent Manaudou and Bruno Fratus Tie; Hectic For Katinka Hosszu

Florent Manaudou, the 2012 Olympic champion, and three-time world medallist Bruno Fratus tied for first place in the men’s race in 22.12 ahead of Sweden’s Bjoern Seeliger (22.30).

Hosszu won the 200IM in 2:11.62, 25 minutes after taking the 200 back in 2:11.89.

Half an hour later and the three-time Olympic champion was back in the water for the 200 free won by her fellow Hungarian Evelyn Verraszto in 1:59.42 with Hosszu clocking 2:00.44.

Le Clos, who memorably shared silver with Michael Phelps and Laszlo Cseh at the Rio Olympics behind Joseph Schooling, split 24.66/27.63 to win the 100 fly in 52.29.

Mehdy Metella, who led by 0.02 at halfway, was second in 52.64 while Maria Jose Mata Cocco of Mexico won the women’s race in 59.72

Efimova won the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.98 with Erik Persson of Sweden taking the men’s title in 1:00.86.

Zirk lowered his national 200 free record to 1:46.90, slicing 0.11 from his time of 1:47.01 set at the Monaco leg of the Mare Nostrum which had seen him book a place on the team for Tokyo.


Pernille Blume; Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

There was a France one-three in the men’s 50 back won by Mewen Tomac in 25.19 ahead of European bronze medallist Hugo Gonzalez of Spain (25.34) and Yohann Ndoye Brouard (25.51).

Caroline Pilhatsch won the women’s equivalent in 28.34.

Ahmed-Ayoub Hafnaoui won the men’s 400 free in 3:47.81, Omar Pinzon Garcia headed the men’s 200 back in 2:02.79 and Jose-Paulo Lopes claimed the 400IM in 4:21.02.

Tamila Holub won the women’s 800 free in 8:32.30.




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