Sarah Sjostrom Nearly Takes World No. 1 In 200 Free At Bergen Swim Festival

Sarah Sjostrom Doha 2014
Photo Courtesy: FINA Doha 2014

Though Katinka Hosszu had the spotlight on her during the first day of finals at the Bergen Swim Festival in Norway due to a commentary suggesting she was doping, it was Sarah Sjostrom who stole the show.

After cruising through yesterday’s prelims, Sjostrom turned on the gas in tonight’s finals, starting with a blistering 1:54.77 in the 200 freestyle. That’s the first time the 21-year-old Swede has broken 1:55 in the event, and breaks her national record of 1:55.23 from March 2012. She nearly took Femke Heemskerk’s place as the fastest in the world in the event, though Heemskerk’s 1:54.68 remains the standard bearer. Hosszu couldn’t match Sjostrom’s blistering 55.99 in the first 100, settling for second with a respectable 1:56.90, about a second off her best of the season. Sweden’s Cecile Johannessen also broke two minutes with a 1:59.42 for third.

Sjostrom also won both of the elimination-style 50-meter races tonight, starting with the 50 free. After a 25.72 in the first round to place second behind Johannessen’s 25.45, Sjostrom eased back a bit in round two with a leading time of 26.03 to Hosszu’s 26.37. But Sjostrom motored through the three-woman final, posting a 24.64 to not only win the event but move up the world rankings from 10th to eighth. Hosszu was second in the final with a 25.50, while Johannessen knew she had the third-place prize money in hand and cruised to third with a 30.45.

Sjostrom led the first round of the 50 butterfly finals with a 27.22, but her 27.11 in round two was second behind the 27.10 of Denmark’s Emilie Beckman. But Sjostrom, the world record holder in the event with a 24.43, won the final handily with a 25.35. It’s a bit off her world-leading time of 24.69, but it was a country mile ahead of the 27.40 by Hosszu for second and Beckman’s 27.75 to finish third.

Mie Neilsen also denied Hosszu a victory in the 100 backstroke with a 59.36, the sole-sub-1:00 swim of the final and just a couple of tenths slower than Neilsen’s season best. The Dane was out in 29.08 to keep Hosszu at bay, who was second with a 1:00.59. Well back in third was Ekaterina Avramova of Bulgaria with a 1:02.46.

Hosszu appeared to do just what was needed to win the 200 butterfly with a 2:11.84, well off her 2:08.00 that stands eighth in the world from the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte two weeks ago. Nearly three seconds back was Barbora Zavadova of the Czech Republic with a 2:14.35, and Denmark’s Christina Munkholm took third with a 2:15.67.

Though pointing more toward a fourth consecutive world title in the 200 breaststroke, Daniel Gyurta showed some mid-season speed with a 1:00.42 in the 100 breast. Notably, Gyurta was leading after 50 meters, but still used his renowned closing speed to hold off Tomas Klobucnik of Slovakia and his 1:00.57. Marco Koch of Germany, also set to be a major 200 breast contender at worlds after winning silver in 2013, was third with a 1:00.58 with a 31.39 second 50 meters.

A week after nearly breaking the legendary Krisztina Egerszgei’s 200 back Hungarian record with a 2:06.81, Hosszu couldn’t get close to that today. She had no problem winning in Bergen, however, posting a 2:09.78 to take down Simona Baumrtova and her 2:10.69. Sarah Bro was a distant third with a 2:17.15.

Viktor Bromer of Denmark, who stands fourth in the global 200 butterfly rankings with a 1:55.39, was a second slower than that in winning the event in Norway with a 1:56.35. He lengthened his lead over Sweden’s Simon Sjodin in the second 100 meters, with Sjodin relegated to second with a 1:58.22. Jan Sefl of the Czech Republic took third with a 1:58.54.

Sweden’s Jennie Johansson swam her fastest 100 breast of the season with a 1:07.29 to win in Norway, but as it’s just two hundredths of a second faster than her previous best, she remains ranked 12th in the world. Louise Dalgaard broke 1:10 with a 1:09.44 for second, while Silje Mikkelborg was third with a 1:10.90.

The men’s 200 freestyle featured a close race, with the top four posting times under 1:51. Isak Eliasson of Sweden won with a 1:50.24, just barely over the 1:50.25 by Denmark’s Daniel Skaaning, who had been leading through 150 meters. Henrik Christiansen of Norway was also in the hunt, finishing third with a 1:50.69 and teammate Markus Lie fourth in 1:50.98.

Three men broke away from the pack in the men’s 200 backstroke and provided the crowd with an exciting race to the finish. Norway’s Lavrans Solli and Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta were leading at 100 meters, with Solli splitting 1:00.77 and Gyurta right behind with a 1:00.88. Solli turned on another gear in the third 50 to begin pulling away, and held that advantage to win with a 2:03.24. Carlsson came roaring back to pass Gyurta and take second with a 2:03.83 to Gyurta’s 2:03.87.

Solli took the men’s 100 back with a 54.85, well ahead of the 56.41 by Magnus Jakupsson of the Faroe Islands and the 56.51 by Mattias Carlsson of Sweden.

Turkey’s Kemal Gurdal got a win in the 50 free elimination battle, taking the final round with a 24.48. Eliasson was right behind with a 24.58, while Iskender Baslakov of xxx was third with a 24.83. The men’s 50 fly three-man final featured a winning time of 25.81 by Sefl, followed by a 25.85 from Niksja Stojkovski and a 26.31 from Alexander Nystrom.

Results, Bergen Swim Festival


  1. avatar

    I guess here is the next swimmer Casey Barett could write about. She is strongly built, swims consistently good very often and also early in the season, and she excels in different strokes: 100 fly, 100 back, 100 free, 50 free, 200 free as well…. and she is not from the US.