ISL Group A Match 1
- Saturday, October 5th – Sunday, October 6th
- 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST
- Indianapolis, IN
- Indiana University Natatorium (IUPUI)
- Short Course Meters (SCM)
- Group A: Cali Condors, DC Trident, Energy Standard, Aqua Centurions
- Live Stream (USA): ESPN3
- Live Stream (Canada): CBC
- Live Television (Australia): Channel 7
- Live Television (Latin America): Claro Sports
- Live Television (Brazil): TV Globo
- Live Television (Europe): Eurosport
- ISL Technical Handbook
- Buy Tickets
- Season Schedule
Where to watch by region
- United States: ESPN3
- Europe and Asia-Pacific: Eurosport
- Australia: 7plus
- New Zealand: Spark
- Canada: CBC
- Latin America: Claro Sport
- Brazil: TV Globo
- Caribbean: FlowSports
- Israel: Sports 1
- Middle East/North Africa: Bein Sport
When to watch by region
- Local Indianapolis time (Eastern) – 2:00 p.m.
- Los Angeles, Ca. (Pacific) – 11:00 a.m.
- London – 7:00 p.m.
- Tokyo – 3:00 a.m.
- Sydney – 4:00 a.m.
The first competition of the new International Swimming League (ISL) will begin Saturday at the legendary Indiana University Natatorium (IUPUI) in Indianapolis, IN. The meet will consist of two two-hour sessions, beginning at 2:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, and finishing at 4:00 pm.
Though each ISL team’s roster contains around 28 athletes, only 14 per team will be used in competition. In addition to not yet knowing who is swimming this weekend, we will not know which races athletes are swimming until 90 minutes prior to the beginning of the event.
This weekend will feature ‘Group A’ teams Cali Condors, DC Trident, Energy Standard, and the Aqua Centurions. Each team boasts World Record holders and Olympic gold medalists: the Cali Condors have Caeleb Dressel and Lilly King; DC Trident meanwhile has Katie Ledecky, Cody Miller, and not-yet-retired Natalie Coughlin, who makes her return to swimming following a disappointing 2016 Olympic Trials. Energy Standard holds a collection of international stars including Sarah Sjostrom, Chad le Clos, Penny Oleksiak, and Anton Chupkov. The Rome-based Aqua Centurions are led by World Record holder Federica Pelligrini and Hungarian veteran Laszlo Cseh.
Though we shouldn’t necessarily expect to see all of these mega-stars in the pool this weekend, the fact that we could see them competing against one another on teams that transcend nationality and Olympic affiliation is enough to make any swim fan who has conjured up their own fantasy swim team giddy with anticipation.
The competition will move fast: there are only eight individual events and three relays per session, making for a total of 19 heats on day 1 and 23 heats on day 2, which concludes with a 50 freestyle “skins” race. The 50 freestyle skins race on day two will feature a knock-out style three heats, beginning with 8 swimmers, then progressing to four, and ultimately two swimmers in a final head-to-head 50 freestyle showdown. Another unique feature of the skins race is that the top-4 finishers will receive double to triple the points they would otherwise for an individual event placing, which also multiplies the prize money for their efforts in the two or three 50s they race back-to-back.
The mixed 4 x 50 medley relay will only be contested if a tie-breaker between two teams is needed in order to settle final team standings at the end of the competition.
Distance events such as the 1500 freestyle and the 4 x 200 freestyle relay have been excluded from the ISL event lineup, which will hone in on events that are 400 meters and shorter, including the 50s of all four strokes. Relays have been limited to 4 x 100 meter events, with the exception of the possible 4 x 50 medley relay. This, coupled with the fact that swimmers must beat a set of benchmark times in order to avoid a penalty docking of points, will make for a fast-paced competition.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s event schedule. Each session is broken into three blocks, each of which ends in a relay event, which is then followed by a break, though the exact length of the breaks has not been specified.
|WOMEN’S EVENT #||DAY 1||MEN’S EVENT #|
4×100 Free Relay
|4×100 Medley Relay||12|
|4×100 Free Relay||19|
|WOMEN’S EVENT #||DAY 2||MEN’S EVENT #|
4×100 Medley Relay
|33||4×100 Mixed Free Relay||33|
|36||50 Free Skins||37|
|38||4×50 Mixed Medley (if tiebreak needed)||38|
Scoring & Points Breakdown
Scoring for each event will be as follows:
|INDIVIDUAL EVENT||RELAY EVENT||SKINS RACE|
Relays count for double, and skins races effectively triple if you make it to the third round; if eliminated in the second round, an athlete earns double points, but if knocked out in the first round, the point totals are the same as a normal race.
Event Selection & Coaching Strategy
As coaches are only permitted to utilize 28 athletes (14 male and 14 female) per competition, they must judiciously decide which athletes to put in which events. While coaches will no doubt seek to put swimmers in their best races, we should also expect to see plenty of swimmers in “off-events” throughout the season as well, depending on the team’s needs.
If a swimmer is having a particularly bad day, a coach may choose to withdraw them from one of the events they’re scheduled to swim in favor of another race where they stand a greater chance of an individual or team victory, if they are badly needed on a relay.
Like most meets, ISL competitions will feature heats of 8 swimmers, composed of two representatives from each team. For relays, two squads per team will compete. Dogging it in favor of saving up for other races will not go unpunished in the ISL; as the league is oriented around a team-centric approach to competition and minimum time standards are in place to motivate athletes to perform at a high level throughout the session, it follows that swimmers and teams will be penalized with point deductions for no-showing races, being disqualified, or swimming slower than the minimum standard in their races.
Due to this unique feature of the league’s scoring system, coaches and swimmers must be prudent in deciding if and when an athlete will skip one event in favor of saving up for another.
For example, if a swimmer does not appear (DNS) for an individual event, they will be docked 4 points; if they are disqualified from an individual event, they will be deducted 2 points. Relays are subject to the same formula, albeit double the points as relays count for double. The 50 freestyle skins race, on the other hand, penalizes athletes that DNS by -4, -8, or -12 points, depending on which round they forego, or -2, -4, or -6 if disqualified in the 50 skins race, dependent on the round they’re in at the time of the DQ.
Prize money points, which are calculated differently than the team points earned in an individual, relay, and skins races, are what determines how much money an athlete makes in a competition. If you’re interested in tallying up how much money swimmers are earning as the meet unfolds, keep in mind that only the top 4 finishers come away with any money. Relays count as double points, but each athlete gets 25% of the total points. A simplified table of prize money points is below:
|INDIVIDUAL EVENT||RELAY EVENT||SKINS RACE|
Each “prize money point” correlates to a dollar amount: $300 per point in the regular season and $1,000 per point in the final.