We love sports: A poolside chat with swimmer Sarah Sjöström


SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM, the world record holder in butterfly, has a chat with IRMA by the pool. Meet the Swedish swimmer who specializes in sprint freestyle and butterfly and get inspired to do the sport you love. In our WE LOVE SPORTS series, Sarah shares her tips for training, motivation and how to handle the weaknesses of the human body and talks about what she loves.

IRMA: What motivates you and gives you energy?
SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM: I just enjoy being an athlete. Then it’s no problem to stay motivated and keep improving myself. The speed and technique just comes naturally.

IRMA: Can you give us a quick insight into your training schedule?
SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM: Monday to Saturday I do a morning swim, Tuesday and Thursday also an afternoon swim. Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon it’s gym, Pilates or climbing. I never count how many hours I train. It always depends on what kind of session I’m doing. But usually it’s 8 swim session and 3 “dryland” sessions.

IRMA: Is there a longer period when you really don’t have to train?
SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM: After the big competitions, like World or European championships, I have 3-4 weeks off. But I still do train a bit anyway, just not so much swimming then. And I don’t have a training plan during that time. I just do whatever I feel like.

IRMA: Do you have to stick to a special food diet for a better output in terms of your fitness?
SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM: There is no special diet. But during my hard training periods I try to make sure I eat enough protein and carbs to recover better. I don’t count calories, I have just learned how much I need. I also try to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between meals at the same time every day. During competitions, I have protein/energy bars and after competitions and trainings protein and carb shakes or bars help me regain my energy.

IRMA: How do you handle the weaknesses of the human body, like when you feel weak, experience pain or in the case of injury?
SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM: I actually just started with Pilates, which feels great for my body and I try to do naprapat (a form of alternative medicine) at least once a week.

IRMA: What do you do when you want to treat yourself?
SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM: I eat pizza or chocolate (or both).

IRMA: How do you protect your skin and hair from the continuous encounter with water and chlorine? Do you have certain beauty rituals, certain products you never enter the swimming pool?
SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM: I have to put on face cream every time I get out of the pool, especially if I’m training in the sun (training camps with a outdoor pool) or during the winter in Sweden. 
I’m not using shampoo and conditioner much, and I’m not brushing my hair after every session. My hair gets used to the water and chlorine if I’m not using too many products . Then my hair gets stronger and much better quality.

IRMA: Can you name some products that are important for you: beauty products, favourite goggles, bathing suit, sportswear for Pilates sessions for example, any kind of music, etc…
SARAH FREDRIKA SJÖSTRÖM: My absolute favorite: the Swedix goggles (and Swedish goggles) from Arena. In summer I really like to wear the Arena beachwear in my leisure time. In between the races and after hard training sessions I wear compression apparel from Arena. It helps to recover really fast. I also like H&M sportswear, it’s quite comfortable.
And I really like Zara Larsson! Her music gets better every year!