2020 INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE: MATCH 2
- Sunday, October 18: 6 PM – 8 PM Local Time (12 noon – 2 PM U.S. Eastern, 1 AM- 3 AM J+1 Japan)
- Monday, October 19: 4 PM – 6 PM Local Time (10 AM – 12 PM U.S. Eastern, 11 PM – 1 AM Japan Time)
- Duna Arena – Budapest, Hungary
- Short Course Meters (SCM) Format
- 2020 ISL Scoring Format
- 2020 ISL Prize Money and Bonuses
- How To Watch
- Full results
- Teams: London Roar, DC Trident, Aqua Centurions, Iron
The International Swimming League’s second 2020 match wrapped up today, and we’re learning a great deal about the teams and format for 2020:
1. Szabo Is A Top Free Agency Acquisition
Aqua Centurion Szebaztian Szabo is proving to be one of the most impactful free agents in the league this year. A standout for Iron last year (and the #51 swimmer in season MVP points), Szabo joined the Italian-based franchise this year, and ended this meet ranked #9 in the entire league in MVP points. Szabo was the third-biggest scorer of match #2, winning the 100 fly (49.93) and 50 fly (22.00), taking second in the 50 free (21.06), and third in the 100 free (46.63).
Szabo also led off a free relay in 46.83, split 49.7 fly on a medley relay that nearly won, and split 46.4 on a mixed free relay. Szabo could also see his scoring surge if butterfly is ever chosen for a skins race.
2. Relay Jackpots Are Rare – And Less-impactful
The relays count double in the ISL format. But we’re finding out that they’re less valuable with the new jackpot rules. We saw no relay jackpots in the first match given the large jackpot margins, typically ten seconds or more. In the second match, we did see a jackpot in the women’s 4×100 free relay… but it was London jackpotting themselves with no impact on team points. London also jackpotted the DC Trident in that race, but stealing just four points isn’t the kind of game-changer we see when an individual jackpots four or more other swimmers.
3. London Gaining Backstroke Reputation
In the NCAA, years of production have entrenched certain schools as “breaststroke factories” or “distance powerhouses.” We’re starting to see that form in the fledgling ISL with the London Roar’s backstrokers. Last year, Guilherme Guido and Minna Atherton were among the biggest breakout stars of the format. Atherton is out this season along with most Australians, but London picked up right where they left off, even without Atherton.
The Roar won 6 of 8 backstroke races, including both skin events. That yielded 218.5 total points, more than a third of London’s total team points:
|Women – 99 points||Men – 119.5 points|
|50 Back||2nd/3rd – 13 points||1st/2nd – 26 points|
|100 Back||1st/2nd – 26 points||1st/3rd – 18 points|
|200 Back||2nd/4th – 12 points||1st/3rd – 18 points|
|50 Back Skins||1st/3rd – 48 points||1st/2nd – 57.5 points|
4. Teamwork might be the new Skins strategy?
With jackpot rules in place, each round of the skins now carries scoring value. For teams with two top-level entrants, that could lead to a new strategy: one swimmer going all-out to pile up early jackpots while the other saves energy for the final.
London might have provided the blueprint in the men’s 50 back skin race. Guilherme Guido led the first two rounds with times much faster than he needed to survive the cuts. But he also piled up 6 jackpot points in the opening round. And if that early speed ultimately wore Guido out too much to make the final or to contend in the final, his teammate Christian Diener mostly cruised the first two rounds, doing only what he had to to make the cuts. He ultimately won the final round by a wide margin. Here’s a look at their times and scores by round:
|Round 1||22.88 – 15 points||
23.30 – 5.5 points
|Round 2||23.96 – 9 points||24.10 – 7 points|
|Round 3||26.03 – 7 points||
25.19 – 14 points
Diener clearly held back in the opening rounds – he was 22.76 in the individual 50 back. But because Guido was trailblazing out front to secure the jackpot points, Diener was able to keep his 50s from dropping off too dramatically by round. Guido, meanwhile, went faster in the opening skin round than he did in the individual 50 back yesterday (22.90). But his time dropped off dramatically in the final – that synergy of strategy might be the ticket, but only for teams with two really good entrants.
For the future, the only teams we see with entrants good enough to mimic that strategy:
- Cali Condor women, 50 BR (King & Hannis)
- Iron women, 50 FL (Kromowidjojo & Henique)
- Energy Standard women, 50 FR (Sjostrom & Blume/Heemskerk)
- Energy Standard men, 50 FR (Manaudou & Proud)
- Energy Standard men, 50 FL (le Clos & Proud/Manaudou)
- Energy Standard men, 50 BK (Manaudou & Kolesnikov/Rylov/Grevers)
- LA Current men, 50 BK (Murphy & Waddell)
- London Roar men, 50 BR (Peaty & Prigoda)
5. We all overlooked the Apple iSprints
American sprinters always have to live in the shadow of Caeleb Dressel. But with Dressel competing in the other group, Zach Apple showed just how fast he’s rising as a sprinter. Apple has been a Team USA standout in long course for awhile, and he was a gamechanger for the DC Trident this weekend. Apple hit times of 21.10 in the 50 free (third place), 45.74 in the 100 free (1st) and 1:42.94 in the 200 free (2nd) along with a relay leadoff of 45.98 in free and relay splits of 45.1 and 45.4 in free.
Here’s a look at where Apple’s individual swims rank across the ISL season so far:
- Manaudou (ENS) – 20.63
- Dressel (CAC) – 20.85
- Lobanovszkij (IRO) – 20.92
- Szabo (AQC) – 21.06
- Ress (CAC) – 21.08
- Apple (DCT) / Gkolomeev (LAC) – 21.10
- Miressi (AQC) – 21.26
- Apple (DCT) – 45.74
- Dressel (CAC) – 45.87
- Miressi (AQC) – 46.03
- Manaudou (ENS) – 46.04
- Ress (CAC) – 46.61
- Scheffer (LAC) – 1:42.55
- Scott (LON) – 1:42.74
- Apple (DCT) – 1:42.94
- Rapsys (ENS) – 1:43.15
- Correia (AQC) – 1:43.28
6. Mixed Free Relay & 400 IM Do Not Mix
The event lineup changed enough from last season that we’re still figuring out exactly where the stress points are for versatile swimmers. One clear observation from today: the mixed free relay and 400 IM are not a workable combination.
There is a session break right after the mixed free relay and before the 400 IMs. But it’s a tough double, especially for the women, who swim their 400 IM right after the break. Today, London tried to use Sydney Pickrem on both and the Aqua Centurions did the same with Valentine Dumont.
Pickrem split 55.1 on a relay that ended up in last place and could have been four seconds slower without getting jackpotted out of points. She went on to go 4:37.31 for 5th in the 400 IM. In three showings last year, Pickrem was 4:26, 4:27 and 4:33 – the faster two times would have won the IM today and even the slowest would have moved her up a spot.
Dumont struggled to 8th place in 4:49.07. She didn’t just get jackpotted – she was 8 seconds away from even the jackpot margin and missed the cutoff time badly. So not only did her one point get jackpotted away, Dumont also lost a point for missing the cutoff. She was actually pretty good on the relay (53.3 split on the third-place relay), so the Aqua Centurions are probably better off keeping her on the relay and finding someone else to swim the IM.
7. Is the 100 IM set up for breaststrokers?
Another lineup wrinkle we’re seeing is in the 100 IM. The new ISL event this season comes in a session that already features individual events in freestyle (the 100 free), butterfly (200 fly) and backstroke (100 back). That’s led a number of teams to swim breaststrokers in the 100 IM, as breaststroke is the only stroke without an individual event in that session.
London’s Alia Atkinson took second in that IM. Iron’s Jenna Laukkanen was third, and other breaststrokers Bailey Andison (5th), Miranda Tucker (6th) and Arianna Castiglioni (7th) dotted the field for the women, while Fabio Scozzoli (5th) joined in for the men.
We didn’t see as much of that in match 1, but it might be a wrinkle that teams can start to exploit as the season goes on.