2021 ISL Match 9 Preview: Energy vs London vs Toronto–A Glimpse of the Final?

2021 INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE – SEASON 3, MATCH 9

  • Thursday, September 23 – Friday, September 24
  • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Local Time)
  • Piscina Felice Scandone, Naples, Italy
  • Short Course Meters (25m – SCM) Format
  • ISL Season 3 Schedules, Start Times, & More
  • Teams Competing: Energy Standard, London Roar, Toronto Titans, DC Trident
  • Omega Live Results

The Toronto Titans have proven themselves a formidable team this season, besting the LA Current to win Match 5, their first team win in franchise history, and then coming within 60 points of the reigning league champions the Cali Condors in Match 7, placing 2nd. Clearly, in Match 9, the Titans are not going to get 4th; however, will they place 2nd, or even 1st? Energy Standard and London Roar appear the two strongest teams in the league this year–London is the only team to beat the Condors, while Energy is undefeated. Thus far, Energy Standard is the only team to beat London, but Toronto is strong where Energy struggles, and we haven’t even mentioned the DC Trident. There is no doubt the DC Trident is getting 4th in this match, but it’s worth noting that they will hit Energy Standard hard in the IMs and middle-distance freestyles. Or at least, that’s what it looks like on paper.

So, what do we take from this? Given the records of the four teams competing in Match 9, we might have ourselves a preview of the league final, just swap DC for the Cali Condors. We certainly can’t rule out the LA Current, but the Toronto Titans are coming on strong in season 3 and could surpass or tie them for a spot in the finals–but we’re getting ahead of ourselves, certainly Eindhoven will give us a better understanding of these projections (though a tie-breaker would be money on television).

Butterfly

There’s no doubt that Energy Standard has the most depth in butterfly with Chad le Clos, Anastasiya Shkurkai, and Maddie Banic as their biggest fly stars, and Kregor Zirk, Helena Bach Rosendahl, Mary-Sophie Harvey, and Andrey Zhilkin making for solid support crew. Before giving le Clos the wins in all three fly races on the men’s side, remember that he has to take down Toronto’s Marius Kusch in the 50 and 100, as well as on-fire Alberto Razzetti, also from the Titans, in the 200. Le Clos has been pretty solid in the 100 and 200 flys this season but has struggled in the 50. Gregori Pekarski and Max Litchfield round out Toronto’s male butterflyers. Louise Hansson has been a superstar for Toronto this season, though her most recent races in Match 7 were a bit off what we saw a couple weeks prior. Hansson is joined by Laura Stephens in the 100 butterfly, and Michelle Coleman for the 50 fly.

The London Roar bring in top-end talent Emma McKeon, Marie Wattel, Vini Lanza, and Teppei Morimoto, any of whom can win their individual event(s), as well as Ilaria Bianchi and Laura Lahtinen who serve as pretty strong depth swimmers in London’s fly group.

The DC Trident probably won’t win any of the butterfly events this weekend, though Zach Harting could challenge in the men’s 200 fly and Linnea Mack could challenge in the women’s 50 fly. Andreas Vazaios, Camden Murphy, Aleksandr Shchegolev, Velimir Stjepanovic, Klaudia Nazieblo, and Szuszanna Jakabos round out DC’s fly group. Vazaios and Jackabos, however, are extremely versatile and might serve DC better in the IMs.

Edge: Energy Standard (men), London Roar (women)

Backstroke

The backstroke in Match 9 will feature some of the biggest names in the sport and potentially some epic races. On the men’s side, Energy Standard brings in superstars Evgeny Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov, while London has Guilherme Guido, Luke Greenbank and Christian Diener. Guido has been on fire this season, and Greenbank and Diener are also hitting their stride and swam very well in Match 8. Kolesnikov, meanwhile, is often called upon for freestyle and Travis Mahoney is used in his place, which creates a small gap in Energy Standard’s roster.

Toronto, meanwhile, answers with Shane Ryan, Max Litchfield, and Cole Pratt, while DC hits back with Jacob Pebley, Mark Nikolaev, and Andreas Vazaios. Pebley very well could win the 200 for DC, while Ryan could take either the 50 or 100 for Toronto. Depth problem for these two teams in men’s backstroke.

It’s difficult to say whether London or Toronto has a better female duo in backstroke. London has Minna Atherton and Kira Toussaint, the World Record holders in the 100 backstroke and the 50 backstroke, respectively, while Toronto has Kylie Masse and Lisa Bratton. Though Atherton and Toussaint have the better lifetime bests, Masse and Bratton have looked really good this season. Atherton and Toussaint swim all three backstroke races while Bratton usually sticks to the 100 and 200, leaving Michelle Coleman to fill in on the 50. For this reason only we might say London has a tiny edge of Toronto in women’s backstroke.

Ali DeLoof and Linnea Mack represent the DC Trident’s best shots at getting points on the board in backstroke, though they favor the 50 and 100, leaving the 200 vulnerable. Energy Standard’s Mary-Sophie Harvey swam great in Match 8 and could shake up the top-3 this week, if she carries that form over into Match 9. Simona Kubova, Anastasiya Shkurdai and Viktoriya Gunes will need to be on top of their game this weekend if they are to bring Energy Standard any substantial points in women’s backstroke though.

Edge: London Roar (women & men)

Breaststroke

Energy Standard has the strongest breaststroke crew, thanks largely to Ilya Shymanovich, Felipe Lima, and Charlie Swanson on the men’s side, Evgenia Chikunova, Benedetta Pilato, and Jessica Vall. Pilato was a huge factor in season 2 but has yet to find her form in season 3. Chikunova has been very good this season though, but isn’t necessarily a favorite in any race. Shymanovich, on the other hand, is the heavy favorite in all three breaststroke races on the men’s side.

The London Roar presents the greatest threat to Energy Standard in women’s breaststroke with Annie Lazor, Alia Atkinson, and Jenna Laukkanen. London is not nearly as strong in men’s breaststroke and really needs strong performances from Ross Murdoch and Sam Williamson in order to get any points on the board.

The Toronto Titans can best be described as “solid” in breaststroke, bringing in Fabian Schwingenschlogl, Anton McKee, Kelsey Wog, Dominika Sztandera, and Tess Cieplucha. We wouldn’t expect any of these swimmers to win a race in Match 9, however, but if they can avoid being jackpotted, that would be good enough.

DC Trident is in about the same boat as Toronto in terms of breaststroke. Cody Miller, Felipe Franca Silva, and Tommy Cope are all probably fast enough to avoid a jackpot from Shymanovich, but it would be a huge upset if any of them won a race. Similarly, Maria Temnikova and Tatiana Belonogoff are reliable for some points, and either could be a top-3 finisher, with Temnikova favoring the 200 and Belonogoff the 50 and 100.

Edge: London Roar (women), Energy Standard (men)

Freestyle

Energy Standard has the most depth in freestyle, though we hesitate to call them a heavy favorite in this discipline. Ben Proud, Kliment Kolesnikov, Clement Mignon, Chad le Clos, and Evgeny Rylov are all highly-capable sprinters, while Kregor Zirk and Marco de Tullio carry Energy Standard in the 200 and 400. Siobhan Haughey, Sarah Sjostrom, Fanny Teijonsalo, Maddie Banic, and Anastasia Shkurdai are Energy’s best female sprinters, while Helena Bach Rosendahl, Mary-Sophie Harvey, and Haughey (again) are Energy’s best female middle-distance swimmers. If not for the London Roar, Energy Standard would be the heavy favorites in almost all freestyle races this season–Zirk and de Tullio haven’t been stellar thus far in the 200 and 400, but Energy has all the bases covered otherwise.

The London Roar brings in superstars Duncan Scott, Kyle Chalmers, and Emma McKeon, all of whom could win multiple freestyle races in Match 9. It would not be too surprising to see Chalmers and McKeon win the 50 and 100 and Scott the 200 and 400. Dylan Carter, Kenzo Simons, Marie Wattel, Freya Anderson, Kim Busch, Katsumi Nakamura, Zac Incerti, and Edward Mildred are the London support crew in freestyle and buoy its relays significantly. Incerti and Mildred have an opportunity to exploit Energy Standard’s middle-distance gap, if they’re not overpowered by either Toronto or DC

The Toronto Titans have strong sprinters on both the men’s and women’s side with Blake Pieroni, Shane Ryan, Brent Hayden, Yuri Kisil, Michelle Coleman, Louise Hansson, and Kasia Wasick. Middle-distance swimmers Luc Kroon, Max Litchfield, Julia Hassler, and Kaersten Meitz round out Toronto’s freestyle group, making the Titans one of the most well-rounded teams in freestyle.

Middle-distance star Leah Neale is probably the DC Trident’s best chance for a win in any freestyle race in Match 9, with that opportunity coming in the 400. Zane Grothe and Aleksandr Shchegolev are also strong middle-distance swimmers, though major underdogs for an individual victory. Zach Apple and Ryan Hoffer are DC’s best sprinters, though neither has really been “on” this season. Bella Hindley, Ting Wen Quah, Joanna Evans, and Velimir Stjepanovich round out DC’s freestyle crew

Edge: Energy Standard (women), London Roar (men)

IM

The Toronto Titans have a very formidable IM crew with Alberto Razzetti, Finlay Knox, Max Litchfield, Cole Pratt, Tess Cieplucha, Kayla Sanchez, Louise Hansson, and Laura Stephens. Razzetti has been swimming extremely well, as have Knox, Sanchez, and Hansson, and could get big points for Toronto.

Energy Standard’s Mary-Sophie Harvey and Viktoriya Gunes have been swimming well, though Charlie Swanson, Maxim Stupin, and Travis Mahoney need to up their game on the men’s side in order to earn Energy Standard any significant points in the IMs.

The London Roar has a superstar in Duncan Scott, while Vini Lanza and Christian Diener also likely bets for at least a few points in any IM race. Sydney Pickrem and Katie Shanahan have improved over the course of the season and could shake things up with Energy and Toronto.

The DC Trident is pretty solid in the IMs, thanks to Bailey Andison, Andreas Vazaios, and Jay Litherland, with Szuszanna Jakabos and Klaudia Nazieblo providing support. Andison could win the 400 IM, though it’s unlikely DC wins any other IM event in Match 9.

Edge: Toronto Titan (men), Energy Standard (women)

Relays

Generally speaking, it’s hard to bet against Energy Standard in the men’s medley relay. In this competition, Match 9, we give them the upper-hand. The women’s medley relay will be a toss-up between Energy and the Toronto Titans, and based on what we’ve seen this season, the Titans have the edge.

For the men’s freestyle relay, this will be a hard-fought battle between London Roar and Energy Standard, though London Roar has the edge with Chalmers and Scott. Conversely, it’s hard to bet against Haughey and Sjostrom for Energy’s women’s 400 free relay.

As for the mixed medley relay, Energy Standard destroyed the ISL Record in that race in Match 8, and it’s hard to bet against their line-up, though if anyone can take them on, it’s London Roar–but not at this stage, not without Adam Peaty. In which case, give it up for Energy Standard.

Edge: London Roar (women’s & men’s)

Projected Team Standings

Though both London Roar and the Toronto Titans have managed to keep it close with Energy Standard in previous matches this season, the fact is, neither team has beaten Energy Standard in 2021, and we don’t see that happening here.

  1. Energy Standard
  2. London Roar
  3. Toronto Titans
  4. DC Trident

In This Story

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monteswim
1 month ago

DC is stronger than LA?

JP input is too short
Reply to  monteswim
1 month ago

Without Murphy, Gkolomeev, McLaughlin, and now Madi Wilson, it’s probably close.

Hswimmer
Reply to  JP input is too short
1 month ago

Weitzeil needs to be on again

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Hswimmer
1 month ago

LAC really need Beryl Gastaldello to be on it again as she was in the previous two ISL seasons

Tony
1 month ago

The Cali Condors ultimately will repeat as ISL champions with Energy Standard in 2nd and London Roar in 3rd.

Tony
Reply to  Tony
1 month ago

6 naysayers already. I guess you need reminding about London’s *narrow* win on Day 2 of Match 6 — no Dressel in the 100 free, 50 fly, 100 IM, 4×100 mixed medley relay and 50 men’s skins (free — determined by Day 1)..

Wanna Sprite?
Reply to  Tony
1 month ago

Right!!? Like a semi rested dressel will get 30 points in the next 100 IM alone

Kelly
Reply to  Tony
1 month ago

yes! If dressel just swam the skins they would have beaten london.

Chris
Reply to  Tony
1 month ago

I think you’re probably right on Cali given the value that Dressell and King will get in jackpot points even against the top teams.

However, I do think London are only a male breastroker away from bettering Energy – ideally that’s Peaty but Prigoda would suffice.

Tyson
Reply to  Chris
1 month ago

That really was the difference between ES and LR in match 8. 20 points or whatever it was, have peaty there and they would have won

Eric the eel > Phelps
1 month ago

DC FIRST

Rafael
Reply to  Eric the eel > Phelps
1 month ago

Eric, stop staying upside-down..

GowdyRaines
1 month ago

Is Manaudou not swimming? Sorry if I missed something on that. But he swam relay only in Match 8 right? Should be a huge bonus in the sprint department for ENS if he’s in.

Swimmer.thingz
Reply to  GowdyRaines
1 month ago

Idk why you got downvoted lol

GowdyRaines
Reply to  Swimmer.thingz
1 month ago

Who knows 🤷🏼‍♀️ it’s been hard to keep track of which stars are sitting out what meets.

mara
1 month ago

it’s pretty bad for the show when you can easily predict the finals/winner so early in advance

Daeleb Creseel
1 month ago

Chalmers swimming relay fly leg

Troyy
1 month ago

Energy and Condors are obviously the top 2 teams. Roar only beat Condors (and only barely) because they were missing Dressel.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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