Sarah Sjöström had her international breakthrough in 2008. She was 14 at the time. The first time I saw her swim was the 100 meter butterfly final in Rome 2009. She broke the world record and won the gold medal. That was ten years ago.
Sjöströms development as an athlete and individual has continued since her breakthrough. I believe that there are many individuals that have the physical potential of being great athletes. Some never start with sports. Some never find their right sport where they can flourish. Some do find their right sport but don’t have the willpower, thirst for victories, the discipline and perseverance to become more than just a good athlete.
Sarah Sjöström has all that it takes to be the best of the best. She is doing the hard work and is repeatedly challenging herself. Even if she doesn’t take a gold medal in every event that she participates in, she is, in the long run despite some backlashes, the best female swimmer in the world. I am going to give some facts to back that up.
If we combine the world records for long course and short course Sjöström is currently the world record holder of four long course events and two short course events:
50 freestyle (LC)
100 freestyle (LC)
50 butterfly (LC)
100 butterfly (LC)
200 freestyle (SC)
100 butterfly (SC)
No one, man or woman, holds more individual world records than Sjöström. Katinka Hosszú holds the same amount. They have six each. Sarah Sjöström is the only swimmer in the world to hold four world records in long course. Hosszú has two in long course and four in short course.
Sjöström is not just the best but she is sometimes so superior that no one else is close to challenge her. She has swum the 15 fastest races ever on 50 butterfly. Her world record is 24.43 and no one but her as ever been under 25 seconds.
In the FINA World Championships 2019 Sjöström competed in 50 free, 100 free and 200 free. She got a medal in every final. She is the only woman ever to have received a medal in all three freestyle events at the same meet. Pieter van den Hoogenband was the first person to accomplish this and Sjöström is now the second. He is the only male swimmer to have done this and she is the only female swimmer to have done this.
There are some really good and legendary swimmers that have won gold and other medals at the world championships. Among the female swimmers Yuliya Efimova and Katinka Hosszú stands out with 15 medals each. Sarah Sjöström is the only woman in the world that have 16 World Championship medals. That makes her the best woman ever.
Sarah Sjöström has been appointed the best female swimmer of the meet two times in a row. In the World Championships 2017 she won three gold medals and one silver medal. That made her the best swimmer at that meet. In the World Championships 2019 she won one gold medal, two silver medals and two bronze medals. That made her the best female swimmer of that meet with a good distance to the second best.
Right now, when I am writing this, Sjöström is 25 years old. She is still challenging herself and there is still a possibility for her to develop her swimming and her mental capacity some more. That is what makes me admire her. Even if she doesn’t win any more medals or break any more world records she has already proven herself to be the best female swimmer in the world, ever.
What makes her so great to you?