It was before the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi in December that Sarah Sjöström chose to give up the 100-meter butterfly.

- This program does not fit 100 meters butterfly as it collides with 50 meters freestyle.

50 meter freestyle is still my main sport right now so I do not want to risk anything there, Sjöström told SVT before the championship.

And the plan is to continue to remove 100 butterflies in future championships - the branch where Sjöström, among other things, won an Olympic gold and four World Cup and European Championship golds in the long distance.

- It feels good, I have slowly stepped down.

Then I won European Championship gold in 100 butterfly 2021 so the capacity to swim well is there.

But when it comes to the Olympics and the World Cup in the long distance, it is always more difficult.

I have started to realize that I can not compete in more than five disciplines each championship.

Therefore, I want to reduce the number of disciplines I line up in, says Sjöström to SVT Sport.

"Natural to shift focus"

At the World Short Course Championships, Sweden won four team race medals.

That is one of the reasons behind Sjöström's decision.

- We are starting to get really good team caps as well and I want to be able to invest there.

I get to choose what I want to prioritize and 50 free is my main branch now and then we will see if I show up on 100 butterfly every now and then, she says.

Another reason is that the 28-year-old won everything that can be won, several times over, on 100 butterfly.

- It comes quite naturally with age.

I have ridden 100 butterflies so many times and won the European Championships, the World Cup, the Olympics and broken world records in long distance and short distance.

I have done everything you can at that distance several times.

It becomes natural to shift focus and it becomes more fun in terms of training.

When you have belonged to the world elite for almost 15 years on a branch, you feel that it is time to aim for something else.

It was natural to go over to 50 free.

How do you see the future, how far ahead do you look?

- I always take one year at a time and have done so for the past five years.

I will continue to do so and then we'll see what happens.

CLIP: Sjöström about tough 2021: "Another type of challenge" (19 January 2022)

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Sjöström about tough 2021: "Another type of challenge" Photo: Bildbyrån

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