An Inventory Of The 10 ISL Squads’ Unique Hand Symbols

With the regular season of the International Swimming League (ISL) having wrapped up this week, we can reflect back on the 10 high-octane matches which took place in Budapest, Hungary.

We were treated to breakout performances by emerging aces such as Emre Sakci of Iron and Anastasia Gorbenko of LA Current, while the veterans like Caeleb Dressel and Abbey Weitzeil also earned the spotlight.

But in addition to the pool racing that is unique to the ISL, fans have the ability to view matches in real-time, live and up close. We get a detailed picture of team walkouts, post-race high-fives and general squad camaraderie crisper. The real-time, mid-skins coaching of which we were privy is also a special element to this ISL season 2.

Building into the team atmosphere is the fact that each squad dons its own warmups, gear, and caps. However, most took the idea of team spirit to the next level with specific pre-race and post-race hand signals.

Much akin to what we see in NCAA competitions, such as NC State swimmers make shifting their hands into a wolf or University of Louisville shaping their fingers into an ‘L’, these professional swimmers got creative with their own symbolic gestures to make sure viewers know which team they represent during ISL season 2.

Below are the pre-and post-race rituals seen in Budapest thus far this season.


NY Breakers

With a mascot of a rhino, it’s easy to see a horn-in-the-making with the NY Breakers swimmers.

photo: Mine Kasapoglu


photo: Mine Kasapoglu


London Roar

London Roar’s logo is represented by two, face-to-face lions, which explains the fearsome-looking clawed paws we see on-deck.

photo: Mine Kasapoglu


DC Trident

In a slightly more literal hand gesture, we see the DC Trident form an actual, well, trident to show the world what’s up.

Courtesy of Mine Kasapoglu for ISL With permission


Courtesy of Mine Kasapoglu for ISL With permission


With the aforementioned Emre Sakci making his presence known in the breaststroke skins we saw him beat his bicep more than once in tribute to Iron.

Courtesy of Mine Kasapoglu for ISL With permission

Tokyo Frog Kings

In an ISL first, the Tokyo Frog Kings actually brought their own in-the-flesh mascot in the form of a wide-eyed frog. The cute stuffed animal appeared harmless and benign in the crowd, but when the squad channeled its energy into their swims the Frog Kings aggressively hopped into the semi-finals.

photo: Mine Kasapoglu


photo: Mine Kasapoglu

Toronto Titans

Not too much abstract interpretation with this one, as the Toronto Titans went with the classic big letter ‘T’ made with their arms perpendicular. Simple, yet effective.

Anton McKee (photo: Mike Lewis)


photo: Mine Kasapoglu


Energy Standard

Scanning photos of Energy Standard brought a mixed bag of on-deck routines. There doesn’t seem to be one official team cheer per se, but the swimmers did seem excited enough to defend their ISL season 1 title.

photo: Mine Kasapoglu


photo: Mine Kasapoglu

LA Current

LA Current touts the tag line ‘Stay Wavy’ but seeing a mini-arm wave was not the in cards when reviewing the mass of ISL photos taken thus far. Instead, might we suggest Dylan Carter’s aspiring model headshot pose as a possible post-race ‘thing’ for semifinals?


Dylan Carter LA Current International Swim League (photo: Mike Lewis)

Aqua Centurions

The Aqua Centurions were more of a traditional waving-type team paired with charismatic smiles and killer baby blue team colors.

Leonardo de Deus (photo: Mike Lewis)


(photo: Mike Lewis)


Cali Condors

Perhaps the most recognizable due to its leading man of Caeleb Dressel, the winged hands is hard to miss and easy to attribute to the Cali Condors team of all-stars ready to make a run at the ISL season 2 title.


Caeleb Dressel Courtesy of Iuri Federici LaPresse

Caeleb Dressel
Courtesy of Iuri Federici LaPresse


Lilly King and Molly Hannis (photo: Mike Lewis)

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2 months ago

I will admit a cringe a little when I see some of them.

Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

lol same particularly the “dors”

2 months ago

Once again the Frog Kings come out on top in out-of-pool matters.

That mascot is absolutely adorable!

2 months ago

This was a cute article!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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