2020 ISL Semifinal #2 – Day 1 Live Recap

2020 International Swimming League – Semifinal #2

Today’s earlier semifinal match saw the first two teams secure their Grande Finale spots: London Roar and Energy Standard. The teams gave a definitive win over Tokyo and NY Breakers, whose ISL 2020 season now comes to a close.

Energy finished in the top spot with 580.0 points and London was in 2nd with 517.5. Tokyo drifted a far 3rd finish with 380.5, and the Breakers ended their semifinal with 239.0.

Today marks the beginning of semifinal #2 and will undoubtedly give us some exciting racing today and tomorrow. 4 teams competing, 2 final spots available – stay tuned with SwimSwam to follow the coverage live.

Live Recap: Lydia Ferrari Kehoe, Race Analysis: Reid Carlson


Beryl Gastaldello sets a scorching new ISL record in this event, besting the 55.35 that was held jointly by Sarah Sjostrom and Kelsi Dahlia

She was out fast and hung on, edging past Louise Hansson who kept it close at the turn but did not match the back-end speed of Gastaldello.

No jackpot times here, so the battle for points and a berth in the final remains relatively even, though this is only the first race of what should shape up to be a heated semifinal competition.


Caeleb Dressel snatches back the league-leading time from Tom Shields here with 48.92, edging out Shield’s time from Match#5 of 48.94 by just 0.02 of a second. 

They were both out fast, though Shields had the edge over Dressel at the 50-meter turn. Dressel seems to have held back just slightly though, pouring it on in the final 25 meters to get to the finish just ahead of Shields.

Five men finished under 50 seconds in this heat, though Dressel still made away with all of the points that could potentially have gone to Toronto.

They’ll be disappointed with that result at both Toronto swimmers were jackpotted. 


The stellar women’s backstroke combo from Toronto of Lisa Bratton and Kylie Masse has been majorly upset here by a huge swim from Beata Nelson. Her fastest this season has been 2:01.31, so she’s just off that mark here to take the win for Cali. 

Nelson takes a total of 10 points with her jackpot time. Nelson’s jackpot, however, is not too disastrous for any of the other competitors as she only steals one point from Iron.

Hali Flickenger hits the wall 3rd, bringing Cali another 6 points. Toronto is redeemed slightly in this heat finishing 2nd and 4th.

Katinka Hosszuthe World Record holder in this event (1:59.23) fades to 6th place here with a time of 2:05.34 in a swim which looked less than comfortable for the Iron Lady. 

Nonetheless, in this semifinal every point stolen will be felt as the teams duke it out for a position among the top 4 teams as they build to the final.


Ryan Murphy blasts a 1:47.48, going out in near-American Record pace and bringing home a total of 19 points, hitting the jackpot and stealing points from half the field, including the two swimmers from Iron. Murphy also delivers the only 1:47 of the season with his time here, besting his own league record of 1:48.03. 

Murphy led the race the entire way, though Cali’s Radoslaw Kawecki finished in 1:48.5, which on its own is impressive.

Toronto kept its possible points finishing 3rd and 4th, importantly, though the early indication is that the two California teams are the top contenders for a spot in the ISL final.


Lilly King is back on top. She touches in 2:16.79 to take the win here for the Condors after she went 2:17.18 during the last match and had her winning streak snapped by London’s Annie Lazor

King was out fast in the 200 breast, over a second under World Record pace at 50 meters. By 100 meters King led by a body length, though Kelsey Wog took the lead at 150. Ultimately, King overtook Wog, pulling even again at the 175-meter turn and surging in the final 25 to hit the wall first.

Though King still made away with the victory, Wog’s 2nd-place finish, accompanied by Toronto teammate Jocelyn Ulyett, is huge for the Titans. King, however, steals the points from LA’s Olympic finalist in this race Kierra Smith, as well as Iron‘s Ida Hulkko.


Will Licon, reminiscent of his NCAA prowess, took this race out fast and narrowly held off Toronto’s Anton McKee. That’s Licon’s fastest time this season by over a second, as before today his best performance in this race was 2:03.92. 

The winning time itself, however, isn’t anywhere near Marco Koch‘s league-leading time of  2:00.58 – although the Breakers are out of this season now so we won’t get to see anymore performances from him. 

Once again, Toronto finishes 2nd and 3rd, a huge point swing in their favor. There were 3 other American breaststrokers in this heat, but they were handily overpowered by Licon.

What this means going into the 2021 US Olympic Trials we can only speculate, but it’s a good sign for the former Longhorn.


Cali took the win here by the smallest of margins, although the time really puts into perspective just how fast Energy Standard’s 4×100 free relay was yesterday. Cali wins in 3:28.52, just under 3 seconds slower than Energy’s unofficial World Record-besting time of 3:25.82

Olivia Smoliga was out fast nearly a full second ahead of the next fastest swimmer, Gorbenko of the LA Current. While Smoliga got the team off to a great start, Natalie Hinds held off a hard-charging Andi Murez who anchored the Current’s ‘A’ team.

Hinds held beautiful technique even in the final meters of the race to get the Condors the win. Cali’s ‘B’ team was not as impressive but they still brought in an important 6 points. 

Cali and LA actually come away with the same amount of points here (18), which goes to show just how important it is to have depth in each event, not just the fastest team/swimmer. 

Toronto’s two squads finished solidly in 3rd and 5th, though LA’s 2nd and 4th place finishes keep them in stronger contention for a spot in the final.

Iron take a hard hit here as they finish 7-8 and only come away with 6 points. 



Caeleb Dressel showed his class here with a time that’s just 0.04 seconds off his World Record from last year’s Grand Finale. He touches in 20.28, over half a second ahead of the rest of the field. 

His start and turn were powerful, as we’ve come to expect, and he comes away with 15 points total in this race.

A third-place finish from his teammate Justin Ress secures 21 points for the Condors, adding to their lead ahead of the Current. 

LA’s Kristian Gkolomeev finished in 20.80 – a new Greek National record for him. Iron held on for 4th and 5th, vital finishes for them, especially considering that Toronto earns zero points in this race.

Toronto loses all of its potential points in this race as both Chadwick and Govorov were victims of Dressel’s jackpot.


Ranomi Kromowidjojo delivers an important win here for Iron, who are trailing in 4th place on the points table. She is the World Record holder in this event, and is just .07 seconds behind Kasia Wasick of the New York Breakers, who has been 23.30 this season. The overall ISL best time is this event also belongs to Kromowidjojo at 23.29 from last year’s Budapest match.

Toronto take a massive hit here as Michelle Coleman is disqualified and so deducted 2 points. Her teammate, Anika Apostalon had her points jackpotted by Kromowidjojo and so they end up with -2 points for this event. 

MEN’S 200 IM

Iron had a breakthrough in this race with its 1st and 3rd-place finishes. Leonardo Santos got to the wall a full second ahead of LA’s Andrew Seliskar who appeared smooth, if not a little tired in this race. Santos also posted a new South American record in this event. 

The Cali Condors were for once relegated to near-bottom-of-the-field finishes with Gunnar Bentz and Mark Szaranek only finishing 6th and 7th, though with no points stolen in this heat its not a major loss for the Condors.

It’s interesting that Santos and Bentz were out with nearly identical splits at 50 meters, touching in 24.24 and 24.32, respectively. Santos, however, crushed the backstroke and freestyle legs.


Anastasiya Gorbenko brought it home strong giving LA a vital win in this race. Kelsey Wog‘s 2nd place finish was impressive, especially given that she also finished in a narrow 2nd place to Lilly King earlier in the session in the 200 breaststroke.

Cali loses points as Fertel was a victim of Gorbenko’s jackpot, but they won’t be too affected by the steal.


Emre Sakci didn’t get the World Record in the 50 breaststroke (25.25), but he was fast enough to hold of LA’s Felipe Silva.

Sakci comes away with a massive 24 points which Iron desperately needed. Silva’s turn was interesting in that it appeared he had already begun to lilt to the side before his hands made contact with the wall.

While Silva’s turn was legal it was reminiscent of the turn that got Lilly King disqualified in the 200 breaststroke at the World Championships in 2019.

Cali come away with no points here as both swimmers are jackpotted. 


Molly Hannis dealt Lilly King just her second-ever loss in her ISL career with a victory in the 50 breast. Her first came when King was out-touched by London’s Annie Lazor in the 200 breast during their final preseason match. 

Regardless, the Condors come away with 22 points versus only 4 that LA take home. Iron out-performed Toronto with an 11-point takeaway versus Toronto’s 0.



LA steal the win here by just 0.20 ahead of second-place Cali. Toronto take an all-important 3rd place finish here to secure 12 points for their team. Cali almost clawed back a win here with an eye-watering 44.91 from Caeleb Dressel (for context, the World Record is Amaury Leveaux’s 44.94). 

Maxime Rooney looked extremely in control in his lead-off leg, slamming a 46.26 to give LA a solid lead at 100 meters.

Shields and Gkolomeev, both of whom already vital point-scorers for LA in this session, posted solid splits of their own in the second and third legs of the relay. Gkolomeev’s 45.7 versus Marcin Cieslak‘s 47.4 was the key to defeating the Condors as Dressel closed in 44.91 and nearly caught LA’s anchor, Dylan Carter.

Beyond the Current and Condors, the most impressive swims in this heat go to Toronto’s Blake Pieroni and recently un-retired Brent Hayden, who along with Chadwick and Kisil earned the Titans 12 points and a 3rd-place finish.


Olivia Smoliga overtook Beryl Gastaldello to win the women’s 50 backstroke in a 25.75, falling just short of her best time and missing the new World Record set by Kira Toussaint yesterday (25.60).

Overall 12 points go to Cali thanks to Smoliga, plus another 5 thanks to Erika Brown. Iron come away with 9 points total off the back of Melanie Henique and Caroline Pilhatsch‘s efforts. They finished 3-6 respectively.


Ryan Murphy edges Coleman Stewart by 0.08 for the win in the 50 backstroke. Viewers will notice that Stewart has a mustache while Murphy is clean-shaven. This detail may account for the 0.08 margin that earned Murphy 12 points to Stewart’s 7.

Guilherme Basseto earns Iron 6 points while Robert Glinta – who has set new Romanian records in all three backstroke events during his ISL tenure this year – brings them another 4 for a total of 10 points. 

While Iron comes away with 8 total points in this heat, keeping the battle for 3rd in the overall team standings close.


Hali Flickinger sat high in the water throughout the entire 400 freestyle. Flickinger’s victory was not by a massive margin, but it doesn’t matter as she comes away with 9 points.

Her teammate Haley Anderson finishes 3rd earning Cali another 6 points. Anna Egorova swam a strong swim for the Toronto Titans, swimming a nearly identical race to Flickinger, though unable to finish with the same ferocity.


Townley Haas hung on to win the men’s 400 freestyle just ahead of LA’s Fernando Scheffer who nearly overtook Haas following an impressive final turn.

Though Haas swam with his characteristically smooth freestyle, his turns and streamlines were lacking a bit in this swim, so there’s room for improvement in those areas.

Eddie Wang of the Condors and Jacob Heidtmann of LA finish 3rd and 4th, respectively. Toronto and Iron‘s swimmers make up the last 4 finishers in this race. After the high of setting a new South American record in the 200IM earlier in the session, Leonardo Santos‘ swim here looked like it hurt.

Eddie’s wang time here also sets a new Taiwanese National record, besting his own previous mark of 3:42.85. 

He misses the cut-off time (touching in 3:57.86 – 10 seconds slower than the rest of the field) and is deducted one point because of it. 



Cali Condors will pick the women’s skins stroke for tomorrow after taking the win here ahead of LA Current. Olivia Smoliga posted the fastest time in the field here with a 56.11, giving Cali a slight edge over the Current after the backstroke leg. 

Handing off the Lilly King, the Condors extended their lead despite King putting up a somewhat pedestrian (for King) split of 1:04.2.

Current’s comeback largely came in the form of Abbey Weitzeil on the freestyle leg as she went a 51.22, the fastest time in the field by almost half a second. Dahlia was strong but Toronto’s Louise Hansson was the best butterflyer in the field with a 55.90 split.

Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu was off her usual level here, swimming 59.59 in the leadoff for Iron A, which is a full second slower than her best LCM time

Despite coming second, Current only take 16 points away from this race as their B team finished in last place, scoring 2 points. Cali extend their lead with a whopping 28 points here, aided by their 4th place finish.


Coleman Stewart and Ryan Murphy kept things interesting as they led off their respective teams in the men’s 4 x 100 medley relay, though Murphy edged Stewart 49.90 to 49.92.

Brazil’s Silva pulled LA slightly farther ahead on the breaststroke, but it was Tom Shields who was the most impressive swimmer in the heat. Shields blasted a massive 48.14 butterfly split for LA, meanwhile Dressel posted a 48.92 on his 100 fly, equaling his time from the individual race that kicked off the session.

Though undoubtedly a good swim for Dressel, Shields distanced himself from the Condors and gave Maxime Rooney a comfortable lead for the freestyle. Justin Ress, anchoring for the Condors, blasted a 45.3 on his freestyle leg, not quite catching Rooney but taking a massive chunk out of the gap created by Silva and Shields.

Interestingly, LA’s ‘B’ team which finished 5th featured breaststroke specialist Josh Prenot on the butterfly. Prenot did win USA Winter Nationals in 2017 in the 100-yard butterfly though, so it’s not unprecedented to see him there.

Blake Pieroni was also utilized on the fly leg for Toronto’s ‘A’ team which finished 4th, just 0.22 ahead of LA ‘B’. After their win, Current will now decide the stroke from tomorrow’s men skins race. 


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M d e
1 year ago

Has Katinka had a single good swim this season? Really concerning going into the Olympics.

1 year ago

Alright Jonty, start pulling your stars for tomorrow and let them rest next week. Cali is guarantee a spot at this point. Minimize the load and let the big boys rest.

1 year ago

ISL leading time 50
Free women is Kasia Wasick 23.30

Last edited 1 year ago by Suzzie2012
1 year ago

Unlike SF1 where Tokyo were still, notionally, in the qualification picture after day 1; the 2 spots from this SF look to be locked down with both Iron & Toronto lacking sufficient firepower in enough events to bridge the gap.

Still looks Adv Cali, however LAC are an improved outfit from last year and may well run this closer than some may suspect.

Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

Honestly as soon as the rosters were published, we knew that Cali, LA, Lon and ES will be the finalists.

Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

Hhmm, maybe the original lists but London lost some key players courtesy of Swim AUS “gentle persuasion” (some but not all of these holes have been well covered) and Tokyo looked to be somewhere thereabouts, particularly if one of the 4 finals teams from last year faltered/suffered unforseen illness/injury to key players.

1 year ago

Hate to say this, but Dressel lost them that 4×1 medley

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

I remember 2019 Worlds Medley silver medal Murphy tried to take the blame and say it was his fault and Dressel spoke up and said everybody needs to be better. A relay is 4 people not 1.

Reply to  Swimdude
1 year ago


Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  DorsFanboy
1 year ago

Swimming Dressel third “literally cost them the relay.”

Reply to  DorsFanboy
1 year ago

I find it odd how his relay takeovers are distinctly mediocre, when he is such a monster from a dead start.

Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

I think he uses his arms on a flat start better than anyone else in the world. Without the block to pull off I wonder if he just becomes average from a relay start

Honest Observer
Reply to  DorsFanboy
1 year ago

More accurate to say Shields won LAC the relay with his monster leg. Don’t forget, Dressel swam three events (to Shields’ two) before the medley relay, and he outswam Shields in two out of three of those (the 100 fly, plus he had a faster leg of the 4 x 100 free relay by over a second). Plus he wasn’t exactly loafing that 50 free.

Reply to  Honest Observer
1 year ago

You are completely right. It is fair to argue that Shields won the race for the current, but knowing Dressel I thought he would’ve outsplit shields given the form he’s in.

1 year ago

Shields’ 48.1 is the dirtiest swim of the entire weekend IMO.

What do we got on the fastest 100 SCM FL splits in history? I’m seeing Dressel’s 48.2 and Korotyshkin’s supersuited 48.3 as the next fastest

Reply to  BTH
1 year ago

Wouldn’t surprise me, people forget that before Dressel, and schooling to a lesser extent, Shields was the absolute peak of sc butterfly, his last years in college were nasty

Reply to  BTH
1 year ago


1 year ago

The nerd in me wants to see them take smoliga off relays to break backstroke world records. The Cali condors fan in me wants to see her on the relays so they can win 😅

1 year ago

If LA Current choose backstroke again I’ll be disappointed. I want a Dressel skins!