Cali Condors Win 9 Events, Energy Standard Leads Day One of ISL Grand Finale


  • Friday, December 20 – Saturday, December 21, 2019
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM Local Time (U.S. Pacific Time)
  • Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino – Las Vegas, NV
  • Short Course Meters (SCM) format
  • Top 4 qualifying franchises: Energy Standard, London Roar, LA Current, Cali Condors
  • Live Stream (ESPN3)
  • Day 1 complete results
  • Day 1 Recap


  1. Energy Standard 219
  2. Cali Condors 205.5
  3. London Roar 202
  4. LA Current 185.5


  1. Caeleb Dressel CAC – 52.0
  2. Nic Fink CAC – 41.0
  3. Sarah Sjostrom ENS – 37.0
  4. Lilly King CAC – 36.0
  5. Florent Manaudou ENS / Olivia Smoliga CAC – 32.0 (tie)
  6. Ryan Murphy LAC – 31.0
  7. Chad le Clos ENS / Duncan Scott LON – 29.0 (tie)
  8. Kyle Chalmers LON / Beryl Gastaldello LAC 28.0 (tie)

Heading into the final day, Energy Standard holds just a 13.5-point lead over the Cali Condors for the ISL trophy. Looking into the first half of the meet, the Cali Condors are exceeding pre-meet expectations, scoring 26.2 points more than anticipated. The London Roar, who was projected to potentially win the meet, scored 26.7 points less than predicted, putting them in third place.

Courtesy of Barry Revzin

Contributing to the Condors’ massive start to the Vegas final was their win totals, winning 9 of 19 events. The team was also home to the lone 3 double-event winners, with Caeleb Dressel winning his signature 100 fly/50 free along with Lilly King and Nic Fink sweeping all 4 breaststroke events (50/200 BR). Likewise, Melanie Margalis remained undefeated in the 400 IM while Kelsi Dahlia (100 fly) and Olivia Smoliga (50 back) emerged victorious in two of the most competitive events on the women’s side.

Unfortunately, as reflected in the team standings, those 9 event wins were not enough to put them into the lead. The Condors found themselves in either 7th or 8th place 13 times throughout the meet, which once again reiterates the importance of the second swimmer in each event.

The London Roar saw a similar fate with a rather underwhelming day one performance. Teenaged world record-holder Minna Atherton wound up experiencing her first two losses in the ISL, being out-shined by LA Current’s Kathleen Baker in the 200 event and Condor Smoliga in the 50 event.

In the same manner, Olympic champion Adam Peaty once again saw himself in a rare second-place finish in the 50 breast and teammate Cate Campbell just missed out on 9 points in the 50 free. Then, after witnessing four 8th-place finishes during the 200 back/50 free events, the Roar came back with a powerful 2-3 finish in the men’s 400 medley relay.

The squad went on to play musical chairs with the Condors for second place during the 200 free/50 back events. The lone individual winners for the team were Alex Graham and Guilherme Guido, who combined with the men’s 400 free relay win are still in trophy contention.

For Energy Standard’s campaign, after a quiet start it was “relay master” James Gibson who pulled off wins in the women’s and men’s 400 free relay events (reminder: it’s double points for relays). Those relay wins put Energy Standard in the lead, and continued to excel upwards with late-addition Daiya Seto‘s 400 IM world record, Sarah Sjostrom‘s tight 50 free win, and Charlotte Bonnet‘s crucial 200 free win.

The LA Current currently trail the top 3 teams by 16.5 points, meaning that while they are in 4th place currently, they still have a bit of redemption room to move up. The Current saw just two event wins, courtesy Olympic gold medalists Ryan Murphy and Baker on top of the 200 back events. Fortunately, most swims by the Current were in the middle of the pack, meaning they were not taking major point hits but not scoring at the top.

Courtesy of SwimSwam’s Barry Revzin, using scores from day one on top of projected scores on day two, the London Roar could still come out on top at the end of the finale, but it will be very close.

When calculating the possible scenarios of the Roar winning, they have a 59.7% of winning, with Energy Standard having a 37.5% chance and the Cali Condors a meager 2.8% probability. Unfortunately for the LA Current, they have a 96.6% chance of finishing in 4th-place, but of course that won’t stop the team from finishing strong.

Looking at the place distribution probabilities, Energy Standard has a 50/50 shot at finishing in second place or winning the finale. While the Condors’ numbers are lower for placing higher than third, it would be appropriate to say it is a three-team race considering the current team scores.

Avg Score              M      W      X
1. 442.1 - LON  |  205.1  212.3   24.7
2. 434.2 - ENS  |  209.3  201.9   22.9
3. 405.4 - CAC  |  176.5  212.1   16.8
4. 355.8 - LAC  |  190.8  155.4    9.6

Place distribution
1. LON (59.7%), ENS (37.5%), CAC (2.8%)
2. ENS (50.8%), LON (33.0%), CAC (15.9%), LAC (0.2%)
3. CAC (78.2%), ENS (11.4%), LON (7.1%), LAC (3.2%)
4. LAC (96.6%), CAC (3.0%), ENS (0.3%), LON (0.1%)

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1 year ago

I have a question to Mr. Revzin. What was the probability of today’s outcome calculated yesterday. If it was below 50% then what is the purpose of your current estimates. Things happen. Sometimes absolutely unexpected. That is what sport fan’s job is all about. Hope. Don’t spoil it. We are not betting here.

1 year ago

I’m not sure how meaningful the second day projection is for Roar given that some of their biggest scoring swimmers seem to be in lesser form than when they set the times the projection was based on.

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

The 2nd day projections take into account “what we learned about each team’s form on day 1.”

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Ah good. It’ll be interesting to see how it unfolds then.

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

From a narrative perspective, this really couldn’t shape up much better for ISL. A few World Records to keep the diehards interested, a Caeleb-Dressel-led team surging, lots of swimmers ‘off their best’ to validate this whole ‘times don’t matter’ manifesto, and after all of it…an actual battle shaping up for the title that looks destined to come down to the skins races.

1 year ago

Are you using the projections that are based on the swimmers’ best times across the ISL season? The reason that approach is showing a big discrepancy is that multiple key London Roar swimmers are swimming slower than at other meets, while multiple swimmers on other teams (especially Cali Condors) are throwing down their best times in the ISL so far.

Reply to  BairnOwl
1 year ago

Cali condors are peaking at the right time it seems

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro has had a huge passion for swimming since his first dive in the pool, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing, but still uses the sport as his go-to cardio. SwimSwam has become an outlet for him to continue showing his …

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