As the world turns its eyes to the likes of Zlatan Imbrahimovic and Gianluigi Buffon this afternoon as they lace up their boots on the French turf in Euro2016, SwimWords turns its attention to the pool and two of the biggest swimming stars in Europe. Just like the previous articles, these two supreme athletes will compete against each other with their swimming credentials like the well-known game ‘top trumps’. Let the fun begin…
Group E: ITALY vs SWEDEN, KO: 2:00pm GMT, Friday 17th June
Suiting up for the Italians is:
- Athlete: Federica Pellegrini
- Born: 1988
- Height: 1.77cm
- Best Senior Result: Gold 200 Freestyle, Olympics Games, Beijing, 2008
Suiting up for the Swedish is:
- Athlete: Sarah Soestroem
- Born: 1993
- Height: 1.86cm
- Best Senior Result: Gold 50 and 100 Butterfly, World Championships, Kazan, 2015
By selecting Federica Pellegrini as their representative, the Italians are not messing around here. Pellegrini has been at the top of the sport for the past 12 years and shows no signs of slowing down in 2016. The current 200 metre freestyle World Record holder, had her crowning moment winning the gold medal in the same event in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, adding to her silver from Athens2004 (when she was only 16!). In 2009, she was the first female to break the 4-minute barrier in the longer 400 freestyle, taking the Gold at the World Championships in Rome. After a quieter couple of years and a gap year when she turned her hand to backstroke, Pellegrini has shown her old scintillating form in 2016, winning the European Championships last month in the 200 freestyle. She took the gold with a trademark final 50 metres (28.89 secs), where she caught up and went past the field to defend her European title for the fourth time. The Italian football team are famous for their experience and defensive capability at the back, and time and time again Pellegrini shows she is no different. In 2015, she won another silver in the 200 freestyle in Kazan, becoming the first female in history to medal in the same event at six consecutive World Championships; highlighting her prowess and experience at the major championships.
Standing tall at 6 ft 1 inch is Swedish swimming’s sprint sensation Sarah Sjoestroem. A lady who is versatile enough to be the very best in Europe in multiple butterfly and freestyle sprint events. Arguably the form swimmer in Europe, Sjoestroem ranks one in the 50 butterfly, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle (interesting just ahead of Pellegrini in the latter). She backed these rankings up by winning three golds in London last month at the European Championships, narrowingly missing out on her own 100 metres butterfly World Record she clocked in Kazan in 2015. Although Sarah has won gold medals at the World Championships, she hasn’t yet been able to reach the podium at the Olympic Games (4th in London2012) and will be looking to make this right in Brazil this year. Sjoestroem’s raw speed and power on the butterfly events is something to behold, and her no breath 24.43 50 metres butterfly World Record can quite easily be described as one of the most impressive and dominant world records in the book as she smashed the previous time by a whopping 0.64 seconds. It is no surprise that the Swedish football team also hold this explosive threat in their attack.
As you can quite easily see from the above credentials, a ‘top trump’ playing card wouldn’t fit all of the successful career moments for these ladies on one face, so predicting a winning score between the two of them is hard to do. On one hand we have one of the leading current swimmers on the planet in a number events, and on the other we have an all-time great in her event. We have a swimmer who has shown speed like no other against a swimmer who seems to be able to touch first no matter how far back the deficit. A Swedish representative who seems to have endless ability, against an Italian who has conquered on the biggest of stages. Who will it be…?
SwimWords Euro16 Score:
ITALY 2 : 2 SWEDEN
Unfortunately, SwimWords had to sit on the fence on this one. Too much firepower from both countries to pick a winner. Are we right or do you think there should be an outright winner?
Check out our other swimmer match-ups and how our other score predictions have gone in the links below.