Sunday, 6 July 2014

When swimming takes your breath away

 Sarah Sjöström swam 50 meters without a breath and took the breath away from the swimming world.

Sjöströms 24.43 at the 50 meter butterfly Saturday is a moment that redefines what swimming is.

It was a moment in time where someone moves the borders for what you thought possible far beyond what you could imagine.

A moment in time that shows why we love sports in general, and swimming in particular. Amazing performances that take your breath away.

As Sarah Sjöström managed her first 50 meters without breathing she threw a gauntlet at the previous Swedish and World Record at 25,07. Her personal best by more than a second would be a sensation by itself, the other records makes it hard to comprehend.

"Its an improvement we normally get at the start of a swimming career. You do not improve your personal best by over a second at this level," said former Swedish national team coach Hans Chrunak - now working as a pundit at Swedish national broadcaster SVT.

Well, obviously - you do! Sjöströms PB before today? 25.52

Coach Carl Jenner was just as shocked and surprised as anyone else.

"I don't think people really understand how fast this is. It's like we've moved swimming 10-15 years into the future. I don't think anyone would have guessed that a girl could swim this fast now", Jenner told Swedish news agency TT.

But we're not in 2030 - we're in 2014. And Sarah Sjöström is a girl - a woman in fact.

With her performance she has forced us into thinking differently and in a new way about what's possible. By boys, and girls. By coaches and athletes.

Fact is that when I saw the race footage - even in super slow motion - I thought that this did not look that special. Until the time was flashing towards me: 24,43.

Thats because it's not wizardry or magic. Its entirely possible. 

Sarah Sjöström is fast becoming one of the swimming greats. More performances like this would surely put her up there. This year it's her and Katie Ledecky.

Sjöström has not only forced us in to thinking new and differently - she has to think differently herself.

Originally she was not intending to swim the 50 fly at the upcoming European Championships in Berlin, because it collides with the 100 freestyle. Nothing is set in stone however, and in her own words - after being asked if she could top this in Berlin:

"If I were to swim 24.7 at Europeans it would still reach quite far."


This comment is a translation of a post at Norwegian


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