2020 ISL Match 10 – Day 1 Live Recap


We’ll get to see the Aqua Centurions, Cali Condors, LA Current and London Roar battle here in Budapest in the final regular-season match, with a semifinal bid on the line for the Aqua Centurions. They and the Toronto Titans are the bottom two teams of the squads able to make the semi-finals, so every point counts for the Italy-based bunch in this match #10.

Expected to help the AQC is Olympic icon Federica Pellegrini, the team captain who was ineligible to compete thus far after having tested positive for coronavirus.  She is ready to roll, however, putting her racing cap on in the hopes of providing her squad the surge it needs on a weak women’s side thus far.

With match #9 running concurrently, all teams but DC Trident and NY Breakers are racing today and tomorrow, with the former’s ISL season having concluded with the squad mathematically precluded from moving on.



  • 1 & 2 – LA Current (LAC)
  • 3 & 4 – London Roar (LON)
  • 5 & 6 – Cali Condors (CAC)
  • 7 & 8 – Aqua Centurions (AQC)

Recap: Retta Race, Analysis: Jared Anderson


LA’s Gastaldello has only swum this event twice in her ISL career, but she’s won it both times. She opened up a lead of two tenths on Cali’s Dahlia early, and held off Dahlia by just .01 for the win.

Gastaldello improves her season-best by a tenth, but remains #4 in the league this year. Meanwhile Dahlia had a breakthrough swim, going four-tenths faster than she did last week to move to #5 in the league heading into the postseason.

LA had two of the top three finishers. Both Aqua Centurions were jackpotted at the bottom, and Black missed the cutoff time. So Aqua will officially start the meet with a score of -1 points – that might be the first time we’ve seen a team go negative in cumulative points for a meet.


Call it revenge for week 1: Dressel beats Shields in their first head-to-head since week 1, when Shields upset Dressel. Dressel’s 49.02 is a season-best, taking three tenths off his previous best. But he remains behind Shields in the league ranks, and Shields holds the ISL record at 48.94.

This was Shields’ first loss in the 100 fly this year – he was previously 4-for-4 on the season.
Cali’s Cieslak has been very solid in this event lately. He was .01 off his season-best, which sits 4th in the league right now.

London struggled a bit, with Guy taking last and getting jackpotted. In the very early goings today, Cali and LA sit tied for the team lead, with London 14 points back.


That’s a third-straight 200 back win for Nelson, who is rapidly heating up for the Condors. Her 2:02.51 was well off her season-best, which sits #3 in league ranks for the year. She still led a 1-2 for Cali, though, with do-everything star Hali Flickinger second.

Once again, it was a tough event for London, which wound up 6th and 8th with Willmott getting jackpotted. Aqua Centurion Federica Pellegrini made her 2020 ISL debut here, taking 5th. She missed most of the season after a positive COVID test and a lengthy quarantine in Italy.


Another unbeaten streak falls: Kawecki hadn’t lost this race yet in 2020, including a win over Murphy in week 1. But Murphy got his revenge here, going a tenth faster than he did in week 1 while Kawecki was two tenths slower. Murphy really showed his speed, building a lead of 1.3 seconds at the halfway mark and essentially ending the race there.

Those two still remain #1 and #2 in the league ranks for the year, though neither was close to a season-best. Murphy’s win by just under two tenths of a second came with huge jackpot ramifications. The Current backstroker jackpotted half the field for 19 total points. And Cali’s Szaranek missed the cutoff time, so LA will rush out to a seven-point team lead here.

Roar’s Greenbank was less than a second off of his own season-best of 1:49.97, the British Record he set in an earlier match. The Loughborough-trained swimmer already made his mark with a bronze in the LCM version of this event in Gwangju last year but has now been consistently showing his mettle in the short course arena as well.


Today has very much been marked by the end of some impressive win streaks. There’s no streak in the ISL more impressive than Lilly King‘s run of 34 consecutive victories across two seasons. But it comes to an end here, with London’s Annie Lazor running down King and besting her by .14 in this 200 breast.

Lazor and King are actually training partners out of Indiana University. King had won the 200 breast in 7 straight meets, stretching back to last year. She pulled her usual strategy of going out extremely fast, and held a lead of more than a second at the 50. But Lazor immediately started reeling her in, cutting down the lead by half a second in the second 50. Lazor took over the lead at the 150-wall, and though King fought back hard and actually outsplit Lazor by four-tenths in the final 50, it wasn’t enough to keep the streak alive.

That’s a season-best for Lazor, cutting eight tenths off her previous best. She moves up to #3 in the league for the year, while King will maintain her standing as the #1 swimmer in the league – she’s been as fast as 2:15.8 already this year.

That blow to Cali has the Current leading by four, with London 17 back of Cali.


It was a relatively sleepy men’s 200 breast, with no one in this field cracking the top five in league ranks for the year. In fact, of the league’s top five, four swam in the earlier match today and one (league leader Marco Koch) is on bye.
LA has strung together three straight wins, with Licon taking this one by a tenth over London’s Prigoda. Licon has been extremely consistent this year, with all four of his 200 breaststrokes coming in between 2:03.9 and 2:04.2.
LA has boosted its lead to 12 points over Cali, and Cali is up 15 on London.

London’s big breaststroking star Adam Peaty is sitting out this match, giving Irishman Darragh Greene his debut opportunity. Although he finished 7th, he still chipped 2 points into the London kitty, with his time just .13 outside of his own lifetime best and Irish national record.


  1. LA Current – 79
  2. Cali Condors – 67
  3. London Roar – 52
  4. Aqua Centurions – 22


Here’s a streak that stays alive: London has not lost this women’s free relay yet in 2020. They only lost twice in 2019, and that was to Energy Standard in meets where London split its relays for overall points.

Energy Standard has never lost this relay, and added yet another win in the early match today. Those two are likely to face off, either in the semifinals or in the league final.

Freya Anderson split 51.7 for London, continuing to dominate as a new 2020 roster addition for the Roar. The Roar had all four splits under 52.5 in a great swim, though they were a second off their league-leading season-best. London’s B-relay wound up last with a 2-point jackpot deduction added back to the Roar ‘A’.

Cali improved its season-best in a good sign for their postseason prospects. Olivia Smoliga led off in 51.9 for the Condors, and they sit #4 in the league ranks this year. LA appeared to split up their relays a little, not using Beryl Gastaldello and putting Abbey Weitzeil (52.8 split) on the B relay. Anastasia Gorbenko was 51.6 on her split, though.

The Aqua Centurions missed their season-best despite adding Federica Pellegrini this week. She split just 53.8, the slowest of the four legs for Aqua. LA leads team points by 12, with Cali second and London 17 back in third.


That’s an improvement of a tenth for Caeleb Dressel, who appears to be heating up as the season goes on. He overtakes Florent Manaudou for the league’s top time, and is now two tenths off of the ISL record (and world record) he set last year. 

Dressel steals four jackpots in a much-needed boost for Cali.

LA’s Gkolomeev improved his own Greek record, moving up to #3 in the league this year behind Dressel and Manaudou.

Meanwhile, Szabo was a tick off his own season-best, which sits in a tie for 5th in the league.

Dressel’s jackpot allows Cali to surge to a five-point lead over LA. The Condors’ two entrants finished just one spot apiece ahead of their respective Current rivals, but with Dressel’s jackpot, they’ll outscore LA by 17 points here.


LA strikes back, though, with a jackpot win of its own. Weitzeil re-breaks her own American record with a 23.45.

Weitzeil was just bumped out of the top five in league ranks after the early match today, but she rockets all the way back up to #3 overall, displacing Ranomi Kromowidjojo. That’s a big, big swim for LA heading into the postseason.

It was a 1-2, with Gastaldello taking second. She was just about right on her season-best, which gets bumped just outside the top five in the league with Weitzeil’s rise.

Cali’s Smoliga came right off that relay for third here in a nice swim. But the Current will retake the lead by seven points. London has all but fallen out of it, sitting a whopping 46 points behind Cali for second place at the moment.

Aqua Centurions earn zero points in this race, while London’s Anna Hopkin was a somewhat surprising non-factor, although she did improve her previous individual time of 25.13 from match #2. This reflects her roller coaster of an ISL season thus far.

MEN’S  200 IM

The men’s 200 IM has been all over the place this year. League leader Andreas Vazaios was just starting to look like a clear-cut postseason favorite after his big win last week. But Vazaios slid to third here behind teammate Lanza. And both were almost a second off of Kosuke Hagino’s 1:52.8 win from earlier today.

Still, it’s a much-needed 1-3 finish for London, though they still trail Cali by 35 for second place. Cali struggled hard here, going 6th and 7th. LA is charging hard, pushing out to an 11-point lead.

Aqua’s Heintz improved his season-best by a few hundredths here – he sits 4th in the league for the season behind third-place Lanza.


  1. LA Current – 137
  2. Cali Condors – 126
  3. London Roar – 91
  4. Aqua Centurions – 48


That’s the first 200 IM win this season for Nelson, the standout NCAA IMer who jumped into this event last week. Nelson was almost two seconds faster today, moving to #5 in the league ranks.

Her improvement is important for Cali, which just lost Melanie Margalis for the season. Margalis is the league record-holder in the 200 and 400 IM and the #5 overall scorer for Cali. With her out, the road to a league finale win got much, much harder for the Condors, and they’ll almost certainly need to rely on Nelson in a big way to fill this 200 IM, and maybe the 100 IM as well.

LA did go 3-4 and avoided the jackpot line. So Nelson’s triple-jackpot only steals from Aqua and from her own teammate Fertel. That’s going to keep LA in the lead by seven points over Cali.


Before the season we noted how strong the Aqua Centurion men are in the breaststrokes. They came through with a big 1-3 finish here, a bright spot for the Italian-based team, who are set for elimination after today’s match.

Martinenghi was 25.89, two-hundredths off his season-best. He still sits third in league ranks and will be one of the higher-ranked swimmers to miss the postseason. LA’s Felipe Silva was 26.08, on the cusp of a sub-26 swim. And Scozzoli went 26.39 for Aqua.

Cali saw a solid improvement from Nic Fink, who missed much of the season with an injury. Fink was just 27.5 in his debut last week, but went seven tenths faster this time around and moved up three spots from last week. Fink returning to form is a key piece of the intrigue in this year’s postseason.

London again swam without star Adam Peaty here. He’s taking the week off, allowing Darragh Greene a shot to compete. But Greene was just outside the jackpot line and won’t score for London here.


Another Lilly King win streak comes to a close. King had won thirteen straight 50 breaststrokes, including all three rounds of skin races in weeks 1 and 3. Last week, she barely eked out a win over teammate Molly Hannis, but this time around Hannis finally finished the job.

The upset doesn’t change anything from a team points standpoint. Hannis and King were 1-2 for Cali like they’ve been so many times in ISL history – albeit in a different order – and Hannis stole three jackpots.

Most notable would be a jackpot of LA’s Annie Lazor, who upset King in the 200 breast earlier. That means Cali will score 22 points here and LA will finish with -2, as they were 7th and 8th with both swimmers missing the cutoff time. That puts Cali into the team lead by 14.


  1. Cali Condors – 167
  2. LA Current – 153
  3. London Roar – 113
  4. Aqua Centurions – 77


Dressel continues to be a force. He split a blazing 45.2 here, running down the Aqua Centurions and giving Cali a men’s relay win. That was a half-second better than Cali’s previous season-best, and they overtake LA for the #2 time in the league this year.

Maybe more notable is that the Aqua Centurions lost this relay for the first time all year in what is expected to be their last time contesting this relay for 2020. Aqua was eight tenths off of their season-best and ISL record. Marcelo Chierighini was 46.0 on the anchor leg, though he couldn’t hold off Dressel.

LA was three tenths off of their season-best, getting a 46.2 from flyer Tom Shields.

London was mostly just deep here, with their top relay losing to the other three teams and their B relay beating all the other Bs. Mikhail Vekovishchev was 46.0 on his anchor leg.


Last week, Toussaint beat Smoliga and ended what was a yearlong unbeaten run for Smoliga. But Smoliga got her revenge today, going 25.85 to win by a half-second. In fact, Smoliga was .04 faster than last week, but Toussaint was actually six tenths slower, and that was the difference-maker.

World record-holder Etiene Medeiros of the Aqua Centurions was third.

With King struggling a little (at least by her standards) in the breaststrokes, maybe backstroke will be an interesting skins option for Cali if they’re able to win the medley. Although with Hannis and King still going 1-2 in the 50 breast, it’d be hard to pass that up.

LA made a late lineup change. They pulled star Beryl Gastaldello out of this race, and coach Dave Marsh indicated that the move was to rest up Gastaldello for a big run at stealing the medley relay from Cali later on.


It’s another clutch win for Murphy, who has been a difference-maker for LA. Murphy improved his season-best by .05 and took over the #1 time in the league this year at 22.75.

Today’s meet featured four of the top five in the league coming in. Former league leader Diener was third for London, and league record-holder Guido was second.

Murphy pulled three jackpots and LA will cut Cali’s lead down to 32. The Current are generally very strong in the relays, though, so we could see those points swing in a hurry with two medley relays to end the session tonight.


Cali has won this race twice: once with Margalis and once with Flickinger. But with Margalis leaving the ISL bubble, it’ll be Flickinger’s event to take over. She performed well in that role today, going 3:59.78 for the win. That’s a drop of a tenth from her season-best. She’s #4 in the league for the season, and one of the three ahead of her is Margalis, who is now absent.

Aqua Centurion Dumont pushed Flickinger the whole way and wound up second. She’ll finish the regular season ranked #5 in the league in this event after going 4:00.05 for a new Belgian national record.

That helps push Cali’s lead to 47 points over LA. London has climbed to within 30 of LA in the battle for second. That might have some seeding ramifications: if LA is third, they likely tie with Iron for 4th in the standings. If the Current can be 1st or 2nd, they’ll finish ahead of Iron and we’ll probably see Energy vs London in one semi and Cali vs LA in the other semi.


It’s a good finish for the Aqua Centurions, who pushed for wins in both 400 frees. Mykhailo Romanchuk went a career-best 3:38.93 for the win. That moves him up to #3 in the league so far this year.

LA wound up second and sixth. With Cali’s Peribonio getting jackpotted, the Current will make up six points on Cali, but still trail by 41. London remains 30 behind LA for second, and Aqua is 52 behind London.


While Cali has seen a number of win streaks come to a close today, this medley relay streak will survive as one of the only two-year win streaks remaining in the ISL. Cali bettered its season-best by six tenths and beat Energy Standard’s winning time from earlier today, though they remain two tenths behind Energy’s league-leading time for the year.

Cali outlasted London, though, and moved past London in the league ranks for the season.

The Condors got a 1:03.03 from Lilly King on breaststroke, a field-best 56.2 from backstroker Olivia Smoliga, and a 51.4 anchor out of Erika Brown. Kelsi Dahlia‘s 56.3 on fly was almost the field’s best split.

Cali needed that big anchor from Brown, as London was charging. Freya Anderson split 50.7 on a torrid freestyle leg for London. And Alia Atkinson was 1:03.7 on fly.

LA got the field’s best fly split from Beryl Gastaldello (56.2), who sat out the 50 back earlier to go after this relay. But LA couldn’t pace the top two teams, though the Current did improve their season-best by two tenths. Abbey Weitzeil anchored in 51.2 as LA has about half of a stellar medley relay.


The LA Current dominated this relay, remaining undefeated for the 2020 season. They were three tenths off a season-best and will get to pick the skins tomorrow. Backstroke has to be a favorite – it uses one of LA’s strongest swimmers in RyanMurphy and keeps Caeleb Dressel on the bench for Cali.

LA had the field’s best backstroke split from Murphy at 49.8. They also led all fly splits at 48.9 – Shields crushed Dressel’s split by six tenths. Maxime Rooney was 46.0 on the anchor with Felipa Silva going 56.5 on breast.

The Aqua Centurions were second in a second-straight men’s relay today. Alessandro Miressi had a field-best 45.9 split on free, and Aqua had the best breaststroke split with a 56.1 from Nicolo Martinenghi.

London was third and fifth, lacking a standout leg but showing depth across the two relays. Mikhail Vekovishchev was 49.3 on the fly leg of the B team, and Duncan Scott anchored the A in 46.8.

Cali was 4th, with Dressel’s 49.5 not the difference-maker the team needed from him. Kacper Majchrzak split 46.1 on a great free leg, though.

Heading into tomorrow, Cali will lead LA by 47 for first place. London is 26 back of LA for second place, with Aqua an even 70 behind London in fourth.



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2 years ago

Somewhere in Bloomington, Indiana, Guerra is crying in a Jiffy Treet.

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

On the plus side, at least he knows when to shut up.

Sam B
2 years ago

Budapest went into lockdown today I wonder if it will affect them, – even though the ISL teams are in a bubble between the Island the swimming pool

Corn Pop
Reply to  Sam B
2 years ago

Yes I noted yesterday that Hungary was tracking similar t o US . On Nov 7 deaths may even been at a higher rate. Swimmers will be at high rate of exposure travelling home also because the rest of Europe is worse.

2 years ago

At least you are providing times. I watched ISL yesterday and it is unwatchable. The points popping up are meaningless.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  meeeee
2 years ago

Yes & no actually, they de-emphasize times for sure, but points are not meaningless either

Reply to  meeeee
2 years ago

I’d gotten used to it. But then Rowdy started to throw around split times left and right and now it bothers me again.
If you make it a formate where times don’t count, why is your commentator emphazisizing them?

Reply to  FSt
1 year ago

You could also ask why they have records or penalty times.

2 years ago

It’s just not fair that Dressel is such a beast swimmer God OP only to have less than average breaststrokers in the Cali Condors relays. I mean…58 on top level relay? In Short course meters?!?! When every other team have guys splitting 55, 56…. come on. You should not be allowed to swim in the relay, same lane, same team as Dressel.

Sean S
Reply to  GrameziPT
2 years ago

That’s on Lezak to do a better job building his team. Anyone who has been paying attention could tell you sticking with only American breaststrokers on the men’s side would be an issue, especially for how sprint based the ISL is.

Reply to  Sean S
2 years ago

It’s kind of hard to make everyone happy with how they select teams. Making an “nba draft style” would make it more fair, but that could have some cons also. Having a draft day would also be very entertaining instead of announcing team members on social media.

Reply to  Sean S
2 years ago

Imagine complaining about Lezak’s building of the team when they’re 1st in the standings.

Reply to  GrameziPT
2 years ago

I know I’m going to get blow back for this but if the ISL has shown us anything it is the USA breaststroke is waaaaaaay behind the rest of the world.

2 years ago

Maybe losing a couple will only light that fire a little larger in Lilly. Scared for her competitors muahaha

Reply to  CanSwim13
2 years ago

“Now she made it personal… it’s all I needed” MJ

2 years ago

Anderson 50.74 and keeps improving. Also Castiglioni swam 1.03.48, the second fastest breaststroke split but her team ended up last so it went unnoticed.

Last edited 2 years ago by iceman
Sapnu puas
2 years ago

Ok come thru miss Freya with that 50.74 split. Whew. Also does anyone know why Guy and Dean are a bit off? Is it just because bit rubbish in short course orrrr

Reply to  Sapnu puas
2 years ago

Guy was pretty strong last year, maybe the covid isolation and lack of training during lockdown

Reply to  Sapnu puas
2 years ago

There was a positive Covid test in their squad a few weeks before ISL. They had to isolate for 2 weeks and couldn’t train and missed the first weekend if you remember? I imagine this may have had some impact.

Sapnu puas
Reply to  Lola
2 years ago

Oh that’s true! Explains why Hibbot has been slightly off too! Although…how good is Anderson then?!

Reply to  Sapnu puas
2 years ago

Our lord and savior Dean is simply “off” with Pfizer curing COVID-19. Show some appreciation.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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