Sarah Sjostrom Training

This is How Fast Sarah Sjostrom Swims in Practice

Sarah Sjostrom Swim Training

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom is one of the top swimmers on the planet.

She discovered swimming later than most, not getting into the water until the age of 10. Her late entry to the sport didn’t slow her down, as within a few years she was winning titles at European championships, and shortly after, setting world records.

Sjostrom’s first time breaking the world record in the 100m butterfly—arguably her best event—came in 2009 as a 15-year old. Since then, she has broken it four more times, including at the Rio Olympics.

Sjostrom’s speed and dominance is matched by her versatility. Along with her 100m butterfly world records, she’s also broken marks in the 50m butterfly, and the 50, 100 and 200m freestyles.

Sarah Sjostrom Swim Practice

In Rio, Sjostrom joined a small club of swimmers—including Mark Spitz, Matt Biondi and Michael Klim—to win medals in the 100m (bronze), 200m free (silver) and the 100m butterfly (gold).

The workouts and sets below were done in preparation for the Rio Games.

Here are highlights from the workouts and sets, which were published by her coaches at NEC Stockholm, Carl Jenner and Andrei Vorontsov, Ph.D.

Sarah Sjostrom’s Training in the Lead-Up to the Rio Olympics

The swim practices below cover a broad spectrum. There is some aerobic maintenance work, a 200 race pace set, and one of Sjostrom’s workouts from when she was just a few days out from her dazzling performance in Rio.

Let’s go:

APRIL 27, 2016

Focus of the practice: 200 race pace, lactate

WARM-UP/PRE-SET

  • 200 drill freestyle + 4×50 IM + 100 backstroke + 2×50 Fly/BR (:10 rest between each)
  • 200 free @2:45 + 3×100 with paddles @1:30
  • 5×100 kick @1:50
  • 5×50 drill (:10 rest) + 3×50 as 15m fast, 35 cruise @:50
  • 3×50 drill (:10 rest) + 2×50 as 20m fast, 30 cruise @:50
  • 1×50 drill (:10 rest) + 1×50 as 25m fast, 25 cruise @:50

MAIN SET

  • 100 pace @1:30 (SS: 1:04.65)
  • 100 free @1:40
  • 2×100 pace @1:30 (SS: 1:04.42, 1:04.45)
  • 100 free @1:40
  • 100 pace (SS: 1:03.41)

300 recovery + Lactate measuring. Sjostrom had a lactate level of 9.3 and 8.1

  • 50 pace @:50 (SS: 28.51)
  • 50 free @:60
  • 2×50 pace @:50 (SS: 28.91, 29.72)
  • 50 free @:60
  • 50 pace (SS: 28.09)

Lactate measuring. Sjostrom produced a lactate level of 8.4

** Sjostrom (SS) swam butterfly for the pace portions of the set.

RECOVERY

10×50 swim

10×50 kick with fins

200 drill

Total volume: 5,200m

APRIL 28, 2016

Focus of the practice: Race pace tolerance. Find your speed, and hold on!

WARM-UP/PRE-SET

200 IM drill + 10×50 free with paddles @:45

200 IM @3:00 + 5×100 IM @1:30

12×50 kick @:60

8×50 drill @:10 rest

5x [25 kick underwater fast from a dive, 25 cruise]

200 drill

MAIN SET

5 rounds through…

  • 2×25 fast @:35
  • 50 fast @:60 (SS: 28.98, 28.88, 29.04, 28.89, 29.23)
  • 2×25 fast @:35
  • 50 fast (SS: 29.79, 28.11, 28.78, 28.72, 27.77)
  • 150 recovery

RECOVERY

3×200 pull @2:45

8×50 kick with fins @:50

200 drill

** Interestingly, Sjostrom’s slowest and fastest 50s were both on the final round (bold). Goes to show that even the fastest swimmers on the planet aren’t immune from a touch of Sammy Save-Up in training.

MAY 3, 2016

Focus of the practice: Aerobic maintenance

WARM-UP/PRE-SET

  • 200 backstroke + 12×50 free with paddles @:45 + 3×100 kick @2:00
  • 200 IM + 4×100 IM + 6×50 kick @:60
  • 3×50 drill + 50 at target race pace + 2 seconds
  • 3×50 drill + 50 at target race + 1 second
  • 3×50 drill + 50 go!
  • 200 drill

MAIN SET

3 rounds…

  • 3×100 freestyle descend 1-3 @1:30

Sjostrom’s target times were 1:06, 1:04, and 1:02, which she held almost perfectly.

  • 200 with paddles

Sjostrom’s target time was 2:05. She did: 2:04.80, 2:05.11, and 2:05.44

  • 200 recovery

RECOVERY

8×50 kick with fins @:50

3×100 as 35m fast underwater kick with fins, 65m swim easy

300 swim recovery

Total volume of the workout: 6,000m

AUGUST 1, 2016

Focus of the practice: Race day simulation. This session was completed four days before the start of the Olympics Games.

WARM-UP/PRE-SET

2x [200 swim @3:00 + 4×50 swim other than free @:50]

200 kick @3:45 + 3×100 kick @1:50

4×100 as 50 breaststroke, 50 free @1:40

6×50 drill @:10 rest

MAIN SET

3×100 swim from a dive

  • #1: 15m fast, 85m cruise
  • #2: 20m fast, 80m cruise
  • #3: 25m fast, 75m cruise

Broken 100m butterfly – 2×50 @:50

SS: 25.97, 27.31 (53.28)

Dive start

RECOVERY

800m swim

** Sjostrom’s gold medal and WR setting time in Rio would be 55.48.

More Stuff Like This:

Butterfly Sets: How to Dominate Your Next 100m Butterfly. Two awesome sets for developing a monster back-half on your 100m fly (equally applicable to other strokes as well). The sets were developed by Bob Bowman for Mr. Butterfly himself, Michael Phelps.

This is How Fast Katie Ledecky Swims in Practice. Here are two more mid-distance sets that Katie Ledecky performed in the months leading up to her world-shattering performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Good luck!

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.
Olivier is the author of the books YourSwimBook and Conquer the Pool. He writes all things high-performance swimming and is passionate about helping swimmers, swim coaches, and swim parents  master the pool. His articles were read over 4 million times last year and his work has                                  appeared on USA Swimming, SwimSwam, STACK, NBC Universal, and more. He’s also                                    kinda tall and can be found hitting noon-hour lap swims. You can learn more about                                       Olivier here.

Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

Olivier is the author of the books YourSwimBook and Conquer the Pool. He writes all things high-performance swimming and is passionate about helping swimmers, swim coaches, and swim parents master the pool.

His articles were read over 4 million times last year and his work has appeared on USA Swimming, SwimSwam, STACK, NBC Universal, and more.

He’s also kinda tall and can be found hitting noon-hour lap swims. You can learn more about Olivier here.

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