Cali, Energy Standard, London Roar, and LA Current Advance to 2021 ISL Finale

The field is set for next week’s International Swimming League finale in Eindhoven, Netherlands. For the 3rd time in the 3 ISL seasons, the field for the championship match will be the same: Cali Condors, Energy Standard, London Roar, and LA Current.

That will be the order, though seeding doesn’t really matter in the final – teams all enter that match with a clean slate in a single match, winner-takes-all format.

Final ISL Playoff Standings

Top 4 teams advance to next week’s final.

Pos. Team Playoff 1 Playoff 2 Playoff 3 Playoff 4 Playoff 5 Playoff 6 Total score Points
1 United States Cali Condors 534.5 474.5 532.5 1,541.5 11
2 France Energy Standard 522 583 561.5 1,666.5 11
3 United Kingdom London Roar 494.5 534.5 498.5 1,527.5 10
4 United States LA Current 506 438.5 415.5 1,360 8
5 Canada Toronto Titans 398.5 407 331 1,136.5 6
6 Italy Aqua Centurions 357 390 444.5 1,191.5 5
7 Hungary Team Iron 340 324.5 446 1,110.5 5
8 United States DC Trident 359.5 383 289.5 1,032 4

The two teams at the top of the heap are the Cali Condors and Energy Standard, who won the 2020 and 2019 titles, respectively.

The match will take place on December 3 and 4 at the same time as most matches have been this season: 7:00 PM (19:00) local time.

  • Time Central European Time – 19:00-21:00
  • Time US Pacific Time – 10:00-12:00
  • Time US Eastern Time – 13:00-15:00
  • Time Japanese Standard Time – 03:00-05:00

As SwimSwam’s Reid Carlson wrote on Saturday, the four teams involved in the finals this year, as in prior years, are the four teams that were scheduled to race at the December 2018 single-meet event that was eventually canceled over threats from FINA, the international governing body. The advantage that those teams had in the original wide-open recruiting cycle have not yet faded into parity in the league.

The top two teams, Cali Condors and Energy Standard, are the heavy favorites to win, though it’s hard to lay any particular odds until we get a better sense of who will and won’t be available to race for both teams next weekend.

The format of the final is the same as other meets in almost every way: the scoring is the same, the rules are the same, the roster limits are the same.

The only difference is that prize money goes way up.

Athletes on the winning team get $5,000 each, as compared to just $1,000 each in the Playoff round, and $800 in the regular season.

Team Finish Prize Money:

Grand Final
Rank Prize per Athlete Total
1st $5,000 $140,000
2nd $3,000 $84,000
3rd $2,000 $56,000
4th $1,000 $28,000
Total $1,075,200

The MVP of the Finals match will receive $20,000 (up from $10,000 in the Playoffs, and $8,000 in the regular season). Individual race prize money will increase too – double in the final what it was in previous matches:

ISL Per Race Prize Money, Grand Final (individual events)

  1. $4,800
  2. $3,200
  3. $1,600
  4. $800
  5. $400
  6. $200

ISL Per Race Prize Money, Grand Final (relay events)

  1. $9,600
  2. $6,400
  3. $3,200
  4. $1,600
  5. $800
  6. $400

Skins first and second rounds will pay the same as the above, while the winner of the final round skins will receive $9,600 (on top of what they earned in prior rounds) and the runner-up will receive $3,200 (on top of what they earned in prior rounds).

While the original lockdown measures in the Netherlands eliminating spectators at sporting events, aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, were set to expire on December 3, the government this week announced new stricter measures for a 3 week period. That means there won’t be any in-person spectators for either day of the finale.

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Sub13
10 months ago

So according to Twitter it’s been well known by those around Peaty for a while that he was never going to Eindhoven regardless of the Strictly outcome. No explanation of why he kept it under wraps and allowed London to put him on the roster when he knew he was never coming.

I convinced myself “there’s no way he would just screw people around like that on purpose and then not show up, any half decent person would just say from the outset they’re not going so as not to lead people on”. Well, I bet on Peaty being a decent person and I lost. Ugh.

commonwombat
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Unless LON, for some reason were already privy to this and decided to play along ? Whilst one could see a case at first on the score of “trying to bluff” the other teams; they certainly should’ve called “game over” once it it became obvious that he wouldn’t show ….. ie post Dancing. Not saying this has been the case but rather a plausible alternative scenario.

Troyyy
Reply to  commonwombat
10 months ago

Maybe Grigorishin requested that Roar keep Peaty on their roster so he can continue being a draw card despite never intending to compete.

Reminds me of when big tennis starts like Federer and Nadal only announced their withdrawal from a tournament at the last second presumably as a favour to the tournament director so they can continue using their name to maximise ticket sales. While they’ve never admitted this it’s pretty obvious when it happens.

Last edited 10 months ago by Troyyy
Sub13
Reply to  Troyyy
10 months ago

That’s even worse if that’s what happened. Someone has majorly stuffed up and shown poor integrity. It’s either Adam Peaty, London Roar management, ISL management or a combination of all three.

Forcing stars to pretend to be participating to keep interest is absolutely reprehensible. And also doesn’t make sense because Peaty hasn’t even mentioned ISL once. Why force his name on the roster and then have him not mention the league at all?

The whole situation is a mess.

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

If it was league management the awkwardness of their response on the most recent Roar podcast makes more sense because they likely knew it would look bad when he inevitably doesn’t show up in the final and people find out he was never gonna show up.

Sub13
Reply to  commonwombat
10 months ago

Someone with integrity would say “I am not participating in this event”. This is basically akin to a singer letting their name be used to sell festival tickets and then later revealing they never had any intention of appearing.

Verram
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Maybe peaty got paid on the side to stay quiet on the matter… money talks these days that’s what isl introduced

Corn Pop
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Leave Adam Alone !

Last edited 10 months ago by Corn Pop
CC2004
10 months ago

Even the draft needs a big improvement next season to balance the teams out , any projections for final based on times swam this season

Margalis Stan
10 months ago

Thank you, next. Even as a die-hard Cali fan, it’s getting a bit old…

Chas E
10 months ago

The prize money looks good- too bad the swimmers won’t ever get it.

Verram
10 months ago

Begs the question – are the other ISL teams just wasting their time fielding a team then ?

Sub13
Reply to  Verram
10 months ago

The issue of disparity between teams was discussed quite a bit here: https://swimswam.com/torontos-season-finale-reveals-the-rigidity-of-the-original-isl-formula/

But basically yes. If the same draft/retention system is used next year, it’s unlikely that the top 4 will change.

Verram
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

But I think even with the top four I’m sensing favouritism towards energy standard (europe) and cali condors (USA) against all other teams

Sub13
Reply to  Verram
10 months ago

Do you mean active ongoing favouritism toward them, or just the fact that they had all the top swimmers to begin with (and then stole some from bottom teams) and now the retention system lets them just retain their dominance without really doing anything?

Verram
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Yes all of that combined I don’t need to say anything further haha

Sub13
Reply to  Verram
10 months ago

I can’t say I’ve noticed active, current favouritism this season, but there is no question that they benefit massively from the status quo.

Oh actually Cali had the best regular season draw by far. They didn’t face the top team at all, and only faced the #3 team once. Every other team faced a top 3 team at least twice, and most were 3 or even 4 times.

Verram
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Yes that’s why I think part of the narrative is to always have energy standard and Cali condors in the finals !! Because that’s good for tv competition

Sub13
Reply to  Verram
10 months ago

Yeah I can see that. The league probably does already have the optimum setup for the finals in terms of drawing viewers.

Energy has very popular swimmers from across Europe plus Haughey who might draw an Asian audience.

Cali has most of the American stars.

London has most of the British and Australia stars to tap in to those audiences.

LA has a bunch of other stars that then creates competition between the US stars which US audiences would enjoy.

I doubt they’ll be in a hurry to change things because the league as it is probably has the broadest appeal. But it will get very stale having the same 4 teams in the final.

Verram
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Yes let’s just keep in mind that isl was created as a professional entertainment vehicle for swimming so it makes sense to want to have an exciting Duel style competition made for tv audience… and the other teams are merely making up numbers or may have one or two leftover stars

commonwombat
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

I do think this season’s draw was, at best, a very bad look for the credibility of the league but I’m not sure I can agree with the assertions that it’s still “the same four teams” then the rest.

This was clearly the case for the first 2 seasons but the status quo re finals line-up only just survived this year.

How I actually see the league:

  • whether we can actually nail down Grigorishin openly dealing ENS a superior hand; being an already existing training entity DID give them a head start at the foundation of the league.
  • CAC have probably been the most astute with regards to signing peak available US talent. They did have a
… Read more »

Troyyy
Reply to  commonwombat
10 months ago

TOR already had a more favourable draw than LON and LAC but they needed to come second or better in their first playoff match to have a chance (and not have all those injuries and withdrawals).

Sub13
Reply to  commonwombat
10 months ago

Toronto had the most favourable draw. They were 4th and got paired with 6th instead of 5th. If they had instead been paired with LA, which they should have been, I am certain LA beats them in every match.

I don’t think 10 teams is too many to be competitive. It’s just that they aren’t competitive. As Braden has mentioned previously, someone did the maths and even if NY had been given the first ten draft picks and correctly picked the ten highest scoring draftees, they still wouldn’t be close to beating Cali or Energy.

The only way the league becomes more competitive is by forcing some stars out of top teams onto bottom teams. Energy literally has the… Read more »

commonwombat
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Its not the number of teams; but rather the competitiveness/viability of those 10 existing teams. To date, the 2 weaker US flagged teams (but esp NYB) have never been competitive. Whilst less stark on the Euro/ROW side; I have some question marks over TOK/IRO & even LON (longer term).

Ideally you’d have other interested parties looking to put together new entities which would either expand the league or take the place of those who have proven unsuccessful. That ideal world, however, does not necessarily exist in reality and the question marks over ISL’s operations, let alone economic conditions, may well mitigate against that.

DO agree that a mechanism needs to be adopted to even out the spread of peak talent;… Read more »

yardfan
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

That draw was completely unfair and messed up.

swimapologist
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Something I think you should consider:

The league is run by a bunch of men from Eastern Europe and other places that historically haven’t really valued the input of women.

The four original teams, aka the four teams that win every year, are all run by men.

The four other teams were given female GMs as part of the early narratives of “equality”. With Tina Andrew out and Martin Truijens in, that’s not quite true anymore either.

The rules protect the status quo.

There are some pretty easy conclusions to draw here about the male GMs being much more influential in deciding how things should function in order to protect the teams led by men. I don’t think that Konstantin… Read more »

Corn Pop
Reply to  Verram
10 months ago

Yes but if they had had a Naomi – Simone moment & emoted themselves out of the comoetition entirely , they would be heroes.

If we kindly apply pre 2021 ideals , they TRIED.

jamesjabc
10 months ago

Ok should be a good match!

It’s interesting that, although the Roar beat Cali, Cali beat Energy and Energy beat the Roar, that Cali and Energy are still seen as the clear top 2. I guess without Peaty the Roar loses (and Energy gains) a ludicrous amount of jackpot points and the Roar struggles to be competitive in the MMR (and even the men’s medley relay to an extent).

As a Roar fan, I’m making the following recommendations to the team based on the playoffs.

  1. Get rid of the random events people swam for last match. No Duncan in 100 fly. And also obviously stick Emma back in her events.
  2. The roster needs one man to sit out, and
… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by jamesjabc
Sub13
Reply to  jamesjabc
10 months ago

Quite the interesting read! I pretty much agree with everything except Pickrem in the 200 breast. Yes she probably avoids a jackpot and gets a few more points, but there’s more risk in the freestyle relay.

Energy almost certainly wins the freestyle relay. Having our B team jackpotted could create a significant point swing towards Energy. However, a jackpot in the 200 breast just means a couple of extra points towards Cali. Given Energy are the favourites with Dressel being an unknown, I would rather King get the points.

If only Campbell was here we could have it both ways and have much stronger showings in the 50/100 free and all 3 women’s relays. But oh well.

ddd
10 months ago

Energy seems to be more advantageous than Cali in the finals. If Coleman Stewart can be tapered like the first season, I think Cali can win without any problems.

DDias
Reply to  ddd
10 months ago

I believe it will depend on how good others(Ryan Murphy, Guilherme Guido) will be too. In a final, we need to see the WHOLE picture. Kyle in his top 44s form will steal points from Dressel in 100free.No Dos Santos and Szabo to steal points from Dressel in 50 fly. Only shields will be a threat there. Could Sarah improve to give Dhalia a run in 100fly? It will be an interesting final.

Sub13
Reply to  DDias
10 months ago

Yes absolutely.

If every swimmer swam their ISL season best, Guido-Coleman-Murphy go 1-2-3 in the 50 back, Coleman-Guido-Rylov go 1-2-3 in the 100 back and Murphy-Diener-Rylov go 1-2-3 in the 200 back. That’s very different than results we’ve seen in recent matches.

Ultimately I would say more than half the races are up in the air and really just depend on who shows up on the day. If Kyle matches his best he could literally jackpot the field in the 100 free, but if he is slightly off and Caeleb recovers well he could potentially not even win.

Last edited 10 months ago by Sub13

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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