Swimming World Olympic Predictions: Women’s 200 Free

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick


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By David Rieder

The women’s 200 free was billed as the event to watch at last summer’s World Championships. Expect the same in Rio. That’s because Sarah Sjostrom—ranked no. 1 in the world at 1:54.34 will be added to the mix: she figures to contest the event after sitting it out at both the 2012 Olympics and last year’s World Championships.

She will go up against world champion Katie Ledecky (#2, 1:54.43)—undefeated in her career in World Championship and Olympic finals—along with 2008 Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Federica Pellegrini (#3, 1:54.55), who set her 1:52.98 WR in 2009 in a high-tech suit. Australia’s Emma McKeon (#4, 1:54.83) and Bronte Barratt (#9, 1:55.95, and bronze medalist in London) plus USA’s Missy Franklin (#11, 1:56.18, and bronze medalist in Kazan) all figure to be factors in what should be a real battle just to make finals.


  • Sarah Sjostrom promised to swim the event despite having never done so at a major international meet. Will that lack of racing experience hurt her against the field?
  • Katie Ledecky has entered eight individual races at Olympics and World Championships in the past, and she has won all of them. But this won’t be a lock. What would it do for her confidence if she actually is beaten?
  • Who will set the early pace in the women’s 200 free, and will she be able to hang on? Femke Heemskerk tried at last summer’s Worlds, but she faded noticeably.

Gold: Katie Ledecky, USA
Silver: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden
Bronze: Federica Pellegrini, Italy

Check out our previews for every swimming event at the Olympic Games by downloading our Rio Preview Issue.


  1. avatar
    Marilyn McGinley

    I like your predictions!

  2. avatar

    Sarah did swim 200 Free in Shanghai 2011 and placed 4th.

    • avatar
      Patrick S

      She was fourth at the world championships both in 2011 & 2013. She also swam it at the olympics in 2012, where she didn´t make the final. I have no idea where the writer have gotten the idea from that she´s never swam this event at a major championships before. American wishful thinking?

      • avatar
        David Rieder

        Corrected. My bad there. Sjostrom sat out the 200 free in London and in Kazan—and then promptly swam the fastest time in the world leading off the relay the next night.