2020 ISL Match 8 – Day 1 Live Recap


Although this match #8 is not an absolute ‘make or break’ meet for any of the participating teams in terms of making the ISL semi-finals, we will get to see 2 of the league’s undefeated teams spar in the Cali Condors and London Roar.

This match is running concurrently to match #7, which was underway earlier today, with results and analysis available here.

As such, we’ll get to see a semi-real-time comparison of times among the likes of match 7’s Florent Manaudou of Energy Standard against Caeleb Dressel of Cali Condors and Vlad Morozov of Tokyo Frog Kings in the 50m free here, for example. Or, Emri Sakci’s 50m breast European Record for Iron earlier and how Roar’s Adam Peaty answers that swim in this match 8 today.

Recap: Retta Race, Analysis: Jared Anderson


  • 1 & 2 – NY Breakers (NYB)
  • 3 & 4 – London Roar (LON)
  • 5 & 6 – Cali Condors (CAC)
  • 7 & 8 – Tokyo Frog Kings (TOK)



Dahlia hasn’t been quite as good this year as she was in the ISL last year, but she remains the league record-holder in the 100 fly and a dangerous butterflyer who might be heating up as the year goes on.

Dahlia mentioned that she’s been dealing with neck pain in her post-race interview, but it didn’t appear to hold her back today. She was 56.7 and 56.6 in Cali’s first two matches, but 56.1 here today. She’ll sit just outside the top 5 in the league so far this year.

It was a touchout of .01 for the win, and that accounted for a six-point swing between Cali and London with Dahlia getting one jackpot on London’s Large. Wattel also hit a season-best, taking a tenth off her time from last week.


Caeleb Dressel lost the season opener in this event, but he’s won his last two 100 fly swims and keeps getting faster. Today, Dressel was .02 faster than he was last week and won by three tenths. He improves his #2 standing in the league for the year, trailing only ISL record-holder Tom Shields.

Cali’s struggles have come with their men’s roster, pretty much every entry beyond Dressel. But Marcin Cieslak came through with a massive swim here, completing a 1-2 for Cali and going about a full second faster than he did in week 1.

London got a big haul in this event last week, but fell from 2-3 in week 3 to 3rd-6th this week. So far, it’s been all Cali, with two wins and a 13-point lead. Tokyo is actually sitting second, one point ahead of London with New York still very much in the mix too.


ISL rookie Nelson has now won two in a row in this race and has only lost once – a season-opener where she came within three tenths of Emily Seebohm. Nelson was about a second off her best time, but still won by more than a second here and kept the Condors unbeaten today.

Tokyo’s Sakai has been carrying a pretty heavy event load for the Frog Kings, and she comes up big here as Tokyo continues to hold off London for second. With only four teams qualifying for the final, Tokyo would currently be on the outs based on our Power Rankings. We have them 5th, but they could still pass up London or LA in the postseason to make the final.

After two pretty good weeks, New York is back to their week 1 standing: pretty overmatched in a really tough team field. They were 7th and 8th here, with both entrants getting jackpotted.


Kawecki is unbeaten in the 200 back so far this season, winning three races so far over tough backstroking fields. He blew out this field to keep Cali undefeated for the day. Kawecki, a 3-time world champion in this 2back event, is still #2 in the league, but moved to about a tenth behind ISL record-holder Ryan Murphy with a season-best today.

At 30 years of age, Tokyo’s Irie bested London’s Diener for second.

The men’s backstrokes are so deep in the league right now that finish order has been pretty unpredictable. The top three finishers here are all ranked within the top five in the league this season in the 200 back.

Cali did take 8th, though, and Stewart was jackpotted there while also missing the cutoff time. They still lead by 19 over Tokyo right now, as this week’s two matches have pretty much seen the league’s two best teams (Cali and Energy Standard) running away from their respective groups.

London is three points behind Tokyo for second, and the Breakers have fallen off. They’re 19 points behind London.


King improves to 26-for-26 in event wins over her ISL career – 28-for-28 if you count each round of the skins as a separate win. That’s a lifetime-best for King, who improves her ISL record by two tenths here.

The race was about as close as we’ve seen any competitor come to King this year. New York’s Escobedo has been second to King in two matches already this year (and was second to Kelsey Wog last week). She was a season-best 2:16.51, finishing only seven tenths behind King and passing up Wog for the #2 spot in the league so far this year. It was a great event for New York, with Renshaw taking 4th.

London’s Annie Lazor improves her season-best by a second and moves up to #4 in the league. This race was extremely loaded, with four the league’s top five performers this year all competing.


Raise your hand if you had New York as the team to break Cali’s even win streak to start this meet. Marco Koch has been the league’s best male 200 breaststroker this year, and he’ll finish the regular season a perfect 4-for-4 in this event. He wasn’t quite as good as his league-leading 2:00.5, but won by more than two seconds here.

This one was a disaster for the Cali men – they were 6th and 8th with both entrants getting jackpotted. Nic Fink made his 2020 debut coming back from an injury – there are high hopes on him to help cover Cali’s severe breaststroke weakness, but he struggled to 8th here. Cali lost double digit points to all three teams in this event, so even after winning the first five events in dominating fashion, they only lead Tokyo by 11 points heading into the women’s free relay.

London is two points back of Tokyo after taking 3rd and 5th. But their relays should be a clear strength today, and there are three more relays to come still today.


  • Cali Condors 67.0
  • Tokyo Frog Kings 56.0
  • London Roar 54.0
  • NYB 43.0


The London Roar have only lost this relay twice in ISL history, and that came when the team effectively split its relays to secure a 2nd/3rd finish rather than going for the win in some 2019 matches. They were a bit off their league-leading season-best but got a key 51.8 leadoff from Freya Anderson along with a 51.7 anchor from Anna Hopkin. Anderson is currently the #4 swimmer in the league in the 100 free, and her leadoff here was the best by almost half a second.

Cali improved their season-best by about eight tenths, and they trail only London, LA, and Energy Standard in the league ranks so far this year. Erika Brown was 51.9 for Cali on her leg, and Olivia Smoliga led off in 52.2.

Tokyo got a 52.0 leg from Natsumi Sakai, who was coming off of the 200 back not too long ago.

Cali has expanded its lead to 16 points here, and London surged by Tokyo for second. The Frog Kings are now two points behind London in third place.


20.65 is a slight improvement for Dressel, cutting .04 off of his previous season-best. He was 20.8 in the season-opener and 20.69 in week 2, so he’s shown steady improvement in this event across the season, though he remains a tenth behind league leader Florent Manaudou of Energy Standard.

New York’s Andrew has also improved across the year, from 21.4 in the opener to 21.2 the past two weeks to 21.18 today. He touched out Tokyo star Morozov by .02.

Morozov hasn’t quite found his stride yet this year, and taking third in the 50 here probably isn’t great for his hopes in a potential freestyle skins race with Dressel.

Tokyo did overtake London – they’re up six points in the battle for second.


That’s a massive win for Wasick, who was limited to relays only in the season opener but has gone unbeaten in three 50 free swims in meets since then. Wasick is the ISL’s 2020 leader at 23.30, and was a tick off that mark today. She’ll get next week off to rest up for a run at the ISL record of 23.29, assuming New York does make one of the league’s semifinals.

New York went 1-2 here in a giant points swing – with one jackpot of a Tokyo swimmer, New York has scraped to within two points of Tokyo for third place and just four points behind London for second. Cali, meanwhile, leads by 22 over London.

MEN’S  200 IM

Though Tokyo and New York were creeping up on London, the Roar roared back here with a 1st-3rd finish to not just move out ahead of those two but to come to within four points of Cali for the match lead. Andreas Vazaios improved his already-league-leading time by two tenths.

The league’s #2 coming into the match was Kosuke Hagino, and the Tokyo Frog King IMer improved his time, too. Hagino was a tenth faster than his best and remains #2 to Vazaios across the league this year.

There was quite a dropoff after the top two, but Scott was third in a big points swing for London. And Cali’s lack of depth on the men’s side continues to be a major issue: they wound up 7th and 8th here, getting jackpotted out of points again. That has made the battle for the team lead extremely close, despite Cali winning so many events early today.

Of note, 6th place finisher Lewis Clareburt of NYB had suffered a minor injury, which caused his non-participation in the previous meet. He surprised the world last year in Gwangju by taking the 400m IM bronze medal at the World Championships.


It was a battle of 2020 unbeatens here: Melanie Margalis has won this race five times in six career ISL meets, including both of Cali’s 2020 meets. Meanwhile, Yui Ohashi has won both of Tokyo’s meets so far this year in her ISL rookie season.

It was Margalis who came out on top, coming to within a tenth of her ISL record time after taking over the lead on the breaststroke leg. Ohashi wound up second, improving her season-best by a tenth.

This event featured the league’s top four performers coming into the meet. Abbie Wood remains #2 in the league ranks, but fell to Ohashi head-to-head here while missing her season-best by about eight tenths.

Meanwhile, Tokyo’s Teramura beat Sydney Pickrem and leapfrogged Pickrem for #4 in the ISL ranks. That means this race will end with the top five finishers also representing the five fastest performers in the entire ISL this season.
Cali battled back against London here, expanding the lead by five points to sit nine ahead of the Roar. Tokyo also closed on London, moving to within four in the battle for second place.


London struck back here, though, getting a win from one of its highest-profile stars. Adam Peaty hasn’t been quite as good in short course meters as he typically is in the Olympic distance long course meters, but he broke 26 for the first time here and picked up his second-straight win in the 50 breast. Peaty’s 25.98 will move him past Andrew for the #5 spot in the league so far this year.

Andrew was second, but a tenth off his season-best 26.0. Cali chose to use all-around sprinter Dressel here, but this has been one of the few events where he appears pretty mortal. Dressel was third here, and that offers London an opportunity to avoid Dressel in the skins if they win the men’s medley today – though they could also accomplish something similar by picking backstroke.

Cali is still struggling in breaststroke. Fink was a great ISL scorer last year, but he looks very limited coming back from injury with his second 8th-place finish of the day.

Tokyo also used versatile sprinter Vladimir Morozov here, but he was just 6th. That’s a bad sign for Tokyo, which really needs Morozov to be back to his MVP level from last year if the Frog Kings want to contend for a season finale berth.


This was arguably the marquee matchup of the entire week across the ISL. King is notoriously undefeated in every single race for her two-year ISL career, including 6-for-6 in the 50 breast. But London’s Atkinson was also undefeated for her career – she won three meets last year swimming for Iron, but never faced King head-to-head.

In the end, though, it wasn’t even Atkinson who gave King her toughest test. It was King’s own teammate Molly Hannis who battled King to the wire, taking second and finishing just .05 off of King’s winning time.

King was well off her league-leading 28.86, perhaps showing some training fatigue, or some residual fatigue from a season-best 200 breast earlier in the session. (King has noted that she wants to break the 200 breast world record, and so maybe that event is taking priority over the 50 for her, in the short term).

Hannis has also been faster this year at 29.0. Atkinson had to settle for third, four tenths off her season-best. She’ll see her unbeaten streak come to close here after five straight victories in the 50 breast in one season with Iron and one with London.

The event didn’t go very well for Tokyo, and they fall to 20 points behind London for second. Tokyo also lost to London last week, and their shot at revenge appears to be slipping some in the early goings in match #8. Cali leads London by 8 at the top, outscoring the Roar by ten here after London briefly took over the lead following Peaty’s 50 breast win.


  • Cali Condors (CAC) – 147.0
  • London Roar (LON) – 139.0
  • Tokyo Frog Kings (TOK) – 119.0
  • NY Breakers (NYB) – 110.0


That’s a huge and much-needed win for Cali, whose men’s roster has struggled outside of Dressel. His 45.9 anchor split was a huge difference-maker here, but it was actually the other three legs that really set Cali apart from London. Both relays were led by a 45.9 (Dressel for Cali and Mikhail Vekovishchev for London), but Cali had three 46s while London had three 47s rounding out the teams. A 46.9 leadoff from Kacper Majchrzak was key for Cali, along with a 46.2 from Justin Ress.

London did get a 47.0 from Duncan Scott and a 47.1 from Marius Kusch, both on the cusp of the 46s. London was about two tenths off its season-best, while Cali improved their season-best by .04. The Condors still sit #3 in the league this year in this relay.

With Vladimir Morozov coming off the 50 breast, Tokyo swam without him here and wound up third – just 0.4 behind London for second. Markus Thormeyer came through with a 46.4 anchor leg, trying to run down Scott for second.

With one session to go today, Cali leads London by 14. Tokyo has fallen to 26 behind London, with New York actually closing the gap on Tokyo late and sitting just 9 points back of third place.


  • Cali Condors (CAC) – 173.0
  • London Roar (LON) – 159.0
  • Tokyo Frog Kings (TOK) – 133.0
  • NY Breakers (NYB) – 124.0


London struck back with a big win here. Cali’s Smoliga was undefeated in the 50 back this year and has won 5-of-6 across her career including a skins win in week 2. But Toussaint was just a single hundredth of a second behind Smoliga in the all-time ISL ranks, and bested Smoliga by a tenth here for the win.

Toussaint was still .04 off her season-best, but at 25.79 was much faster than anyone but Smoliga has been in the ISL this season.

In a solid run for Tokyo, the Frog Kings went 3rd and 4th. They’ve struggled in the 50-meter races this season, but women’s backstroke appears to be one of their better options for the skins, which are still up in the air for tomorrow. Sakai has been everywhere today, and her 26.13 is a huge swim – she actually moves to #3 in the league so far this year behind only Smoliga and Toussaint.

Toussaint’s win is key for team points. London cuts Cali’s lead to just nine and a half points.


Just when London was starting to get some momentum, Cali pulled off a big point swing of their own with Stewart upsetting league-leader Diener for the 50 back win. Stewart wasn’t even Cali’s top 50 backstroker coming into the week. He’d finished behind Justin Ress in each of the first two weeks. But Stewart shaved .01 off his season-best time and got his hand on the wall first at the exact right moment for Cali.

London had two of the league’s top three performers this year in this event, including 2020 leader Diener and ISL record-holder (from 2019) Guido.

Stewart’s win has another dimension, too: it throws at least some doubt on whether London should pick the men’s backstrokes as the skins stroke if they win the medley relay, as they are expected to. London’s top priority has to be avoiding Caeleb Dressel, but this result might make them think about picking breaststroke over backstroke, still avoiding Dressel’s strengths but also moving away from a fast-rising Stewart.

London still matched Cali for team points here, and the lead remains at ten. Tokyo has slid to a pretty solid third. New York took a blow here as Andrew was disqualified due to flinching on the blocks, and the Breakers are 25.5 points behind Tokyo for third.


This one was set to be another battle of unbeaten. Melanie Margalis won this race in week 1 for Cali and led the league ranks coming into the week, but Tokyo’s Leah Smith had also won the event in both of her team’s matches this year.

Margalis did not enter the race for a second-straight meet, though – perhaps Cali is giving her a little bit of rest from her usual brutal event schedule heading into the postseason. That allowed Smith to remain perfect for the 2020 season. She’s shown steady improvement every week in this event, and her 3:59.70 today was her first swim under four minutes this season. Smith moves up to #3 in the ISL ranks for the season, passing up Cali’s Flickinger, who was second here.

Tokyo has been very good in the 400 frees, and this week was no exception. They outscored all teams here and made up ten points on London, though they still trail by 22.5 in the race for second. Cali sits 14.5 ahead of London in the lead.


New York’s Auboeck has been in the top three in this event in all three of the Breakers meets. This is his second ISL win. Auboeck remains #2 in the league ranks for the year with his 3:37.4 from earlier in the season.

In second place, Haas was much better for Cali than he was back in week 1. That meet, Haas finished dead last in 3:52.3, and the team chose to sit him out of the event in the following week. He was basically a completely different swimmer this time around, though, blasting a 3:39.51 for second place. That moves him to #5 in the league for the season and adds a big point-scoring ceiling to Cali in an event where we didn’t see many postseason scoring chances for them.

Tokyo’s Matsumoto will sit just outside the top five in the league this season. He came within two tenths of beating Haas and was within a second of Auboeck for the win.
Meanwhile London has really struggled in this event in 2020, and even adding Dean and Guy late hasn’t helped much. The Roar are now 21 points behind Cali, and will need to relay on the upcoming medley relays just to even things up, rather than to build a big lead heading into day 2 the way they’d hoped to.


Cali had never lost this race in six ISL meets, and facing their toughest challenge yet, they showed up to battle. Lilly King had a great 1:03.2 breaststroke split, besting London’s Atkinson by six tenths.

Meanwhile Kelsi Dahlia also chipped in a 55.7 fly (a half-second better than London’s Wattel) and Olivia Smoliga‘s leadoff of 56.1 was six tenths faster than London’s Toussaint, though it was still a ways off Smoliga’s season-best. All that added up to build Cali a huge lead – and they needed every single piece of it. That’s because London’s Freya

Anderson rocketed home in 51.1, outsplitting Cali’s Hinds by 1.6 seconds and bringing London to within just 0.2 seconds of knocking off Cali for the win. Cali improved its season-best by two tenths, but they were actually fortunate that London couldn’t match its season-best of 3:47.5 – that would have given London the win and snapped Cali’s unbeaten streak.

The Condor win probably means the team can pick breaststroke for the women’s skins – that is a big blow to any hopes London had left of catching Cali on day 2. On the other hand, London is very good in breaststroke too (Atkinson is the world record-holder), so Cali may choose to pick away from breaststroke, though there aren’t really any better options.

Further back in the field, Tokyo got a 56.1 fly split from Suzuka Hasegawa, which bodes pretty well for her unbeaten streak in the 200 fly tomorrow. That’s actually a tick slower than Hasegawa has split in Tokyo’s first two matches, though.

New York’s Kasia Wasick anchored in 51.5, continuing to be one of the league’s most dangerous sprinters so far this year.


It was a fairly sleepy end to the session time-wise, with three of the four teams missing their season-bests in this relay. But the race itself was a thriller.

Tokyo led by .01 on backstroke, with Ryosuke Irie (50.18) outswimming Guilherme Guido (50.19) in another bad omen for London’s usually-strong backstroke group. Adam Peaty brought the Roar back to the lead, but his 56.40 only outsplit Yasuhiro Koseki by .09. And even the flyers were extremely close, with Vini Lanza going 49.86 for London and Takeshi Kawamoto 49.81 for Tokyo.

It came down to the anchors, with Duncan Scott going 46.5 to best Vladimir Morozov (46.8). That’s a better swim for Scott than we saw in the free relay earlier and is a good sign for him heading into tomorrow.

London’s depth really showed through, as they were able to take 1st and 3rd without even splitting their best swimmers across the two relays. Mikhail Vekovishchev went 49.4 on fly from the B relay, outsplitting Lanza on the A. (Vekovishchev didn’t swim the individual 100 fly, but Lanza was 3rd there).

The only team with a new season-best time was Cali, which cut more than a second and a half. That’s a really impactful drop for Cali in the big picture – they move from 10th among 10 teams in the league to 6th in the league ranks. They key was some really solid swimming from Kacper Majchrzak, who split 46.3 on free. That was the field’s best anchor leg. Cali used Caeleb Dressel on fly, where he was 49.43 but actually outsplit by Vekovishchev by .01.

New York took a DQ on their second relay, and that’s a bad four-point penalty. Heading into tomorrow, Cali leads by 8.5 points over London. That’s a pretty narrow margin, and each team gets to pick one skin race: Cali the women’s and London the men’s. Cali should still probably be favored to win the meet overall, but it’s far from settled with a day to go.

Tokyo is 36.5 points back of London and would need a massive day 2 to make up that group. Meanwhile, New York sits 42.5 behind Tokyo.


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1 year ago

excited to see condors breaststroke improve! Let’s go Nic Fink!! #GoDors

Reply to  TAMI
1 year ago


Reply to  TAMI
1 year ago


tea rex
Reply to  TAMI
1 year ago
Last edited 1 year ago by tea rex
Reply to  TAMI
1 year ago

Must’ve been disappointing for you.

1 year ago

Anyone have a link?

Reply to  Oldbay
1 year ago

https://ustvgo.tv/cbs-sports-network/ seems to be acting up but is still working

Reply to  Bub
1 year ago

My hero

Reply to  Bub
1 year ago

It is starting to become a bit annoying, spazzing out every minute or so

1 year ago

Omega timing link is going to match 5 results, not match 8!

1 year ago

two things that are currently driving me crazy: the US presidential elections and the super faulty livestream of ISL right now haha

Reply to  TAMI
1 year ago

Macdonald trump is now suing isl to stop counting the points!!

1 year ago

I’m not sure why I haven’t noticed this before, but is it just me or does Kira do a somewhat unusual downward arm stroke under water before she comes up after her turns? It looks… strange. And not helpful at all.

Last edited 1 year ago by FSt
Reply to  FSt
1 year ago

She does a top arm breakout. Comes from her time with Kredich at Tennessee. It gives her a platform to slide to the surface on and creates momentum for her first stroke

Braden Keith(@braden)
Reply to  FSt
1 year ago

I believe you’re referring to this, which she picked up at Tennessee:


Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Fascinating. Thanks for the link!

1 year ago

Can we just make Mel Potus

Reply to  Pvdh
1 year ago

I wish. She’s the best.

Reply to  FSt
1 year ago

oh and i thought gold medal mel lol

1 year ago

Lanza first sub 50

1 year ago

Is Stewart okay?

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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