Sarah Sjostrom Pops Sub-57 Effort in 100 Butterfly at Stockholm Open; Lukas Martens Continues Roll


Sarah Sjostrom Pops Sub-57 Effort in 100 Butterfly; Lukas Martens Continues Roll in 200 Freestyle

A clash of countrywomen highlighted competition on the second night of finals at the Stockholm Open, as Swedish superstars Sarah Sjostrom and Louise Hansson dueled in the 100-meter butterfly. Ultimately, it was Sjostrom, the 2016 Olympic champion, who emerged victorious, but not without Hansson producing a major challenge.

Sjostrom and Hansson basically engaged in a match race, with Sjostrom taking the victory in 56.70, followed by Hansson in 56.89. Sjostrom built a 26.65 to 27.01 advantage over the first 50 meters and while Hansson narrowed the gap over the second lap, she couldn’t quite run down the world-record holder in the event.

Of her events, the 100 butterfly is the one that has come around slowest since Sjostrom suffered a broken elbow in early 2021. The fact that she is breaking the 57-second barrier at this point in the season is a good sign for the championship season ahead. Sjostrom was seventh in the event at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last summer, where Hansson was fifth. Hansson came back later in the session in Stockholm to win the 100 backstroke in 59.83.

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One day after popping the top time in the world this year in the 400 freestyle, Germany’s Lukas Martens went back to work in the 200 freestyle and claimed another victory. This time, Martens was timed in 1:45.44, which allowed him to finish ahead of Austria’s Felix Aubock (1:46.14) and Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys (1:46.43).

Martens was 1:46.69 at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which was good for 17th and didn’t get him out of the preliminaries. In Stockholm, he was more than a second quicker after surging to an immediate lead and producing splits of 25.05, 52.00 and 1:18.74.

Two of the best distance freestylers in the world battled in the men’s 1500 freestyle, where Germany’s Florian Wellbrock came out on top of the Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk. Wellbrock took the lead early, only to have Romanchuk cut into his deficit during the last half of the race. At the wall, it was Wellbrock who grabbed the win in 14:53.66, the silver medal going to Romanchuk in 14:54.10. At the Olympics, the Ukrainian won silver to Bobby Finke of the United States while Wellbrock won bronze.

At one time an untouchable force in the event, Katinka Hosszu got under the 4:40 threshold in the 400 individual medley, as she won the event in 4:39.19. Hosszu was fifth in the 400 IM in Tokyo and it will be interesting to see if the world-record holder can rekindle some of her past form to contend for a medal at a home World Championships this summer.

A quality battle developed in the women’s 50 breaststroke as Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko got to the wall first in 30.45, followed by 2012 Olympic 100 breaststroke champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania, who was timed in 30.57. Sophie Hansson followed in third place in 30.85.

Erik Persson was the winner of the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.65 and first place in the 100 butterfly went to Estonia’s Daniel Zaitsev (52.23). Romania’s Robert Glinta went 24.49 to win the 50 backstroke.


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