– I do not think many had managed that, Sjöström continues.
After the final, the 27-year-old – who won four World Cup medals in the 100 meter freestyle and the Olympic medal in 2016 – did not curse those 16 hundredths.
Instead, she picked out what was good in tonight’s final.
– I am very happy that I managed to follow my plan. For my part, I could not have done anything different. If someone had made a bad start, it might have been enough for a medal, but I can not influence what others do, says Sarah Sjöström.
For less than six months ago, swimming star Sarah Sjöström underwent surgery after suffering an elbow fracture in connection with a slippery accident in a wintry Stockholm.
– It is not the case that I think about the injury, but if you have had a fracture in your elbow, you can not swim overnight in world record times, says Sarah Sjöström.
– It takes time to come back. Even though I’m already quite strong, I have to work with that strength for a while before it sits.
Last night, Sjöström stood on the starting podium in the Olympic arena in Tokyo to swim for the medals in the 100 meter freestyle.
In the trials, Sjöström had the fifth fastest time with 52.91. In the semifinals, things went a little faster according to plan. With a time of 52.82, she advanced to tonight’s final with the fourth best time.
In both experiments as the semifinal, Sjöström was tenths slower than several of the competitors after the first 50 meters, but thanks to very fast finishes, she climbed the results list.
In the final, history repeated itself. At the turn, Sjöström – who was last after the first 50 – seemed to be completely away from the battle for the medals, but once again she was responsible for a quick finish.
Sjöström was second fastest in the final length, but the sprint was not enough to catch up with the medalists. With a final time of 52.68, she finished fifth – 16 percent from a medal.
– I did not dare to go out hard with the others during the first length because then the second would have been really slow. I do not really have that speed yet, but this is as fast as I can go out now.
– At the same time, I am already at a much better level than I even dared to dream about before this Olympics.
Sarah Sjöström is silent for a short while before she says:
– The training I have done during the injury period has been different compared to the training I have done the last ten years, which in turn has provided inspiration and made it more fun to go to training.
– So maybe I’m better at this Olympics than I would have been without injury.
Emma McKeon from Australia won the gold ahead of Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey and Australia’s Cate Campbell.
With a victory time of 51.96, McKeon was the second woman ever to swim 100 meters freestyle for 52 seconds. The only one who has managed it before is the world record holder Sarah Sjöström.
– As expected, it was a very fast final, says Sarah Sjöström.
The 27-year-old has another individual medal chance left at the Olympics. Already at lunchtime Swedish time, she swims the trials of 50 meters freestyle.
– It will be exciting to see what I can do in 50 free. I’m incredibly fast in the last 50 of the hundred so it will be fun to see how fast I can swim when I just let go, do not have to make turns and do not have to save on anything, says Sarah Sjöström.
In the 50 meter freestyle, the start is extremely important, and Sjöström’s start has become slightly better for each Olympic race.
– In the 50 meter freestyle, I also usually dare to take in a little more from the podium, so then it can probably be an even better start there.
In today’s trial session, Sarah Sjöström will also swim the trials in the 4×100 meter medley.