Cali Women, Energy Standard Men Select Breaststroke Skins For ISL Final

2020 INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE – FINAL

Breaststroke it is.

Following their victories in the 400 medley relays, the Cali Condor women and Energy Standard men have both selected breast as their stroke of choice for tomorrow’s skins events.

Breast The Right Pick For Cali?

The Cali women have gone undefeated in the medley relay all season, and have selected breaststroke all but one time, going with backstroke in Match 4.

That worked out well for them, with Olivia Smoliga and Beata Nelson going 1-2, but they clearly favored their duo of Lilly King and Molly Hannis to get the job done in the final. Nelson has also been branching off into the 50 fly and 100/200 IM as the season has unfolded, which may be another factor in the decision.

Despite that, the women’s breaststroke field is incredibly top-heavy here, with Energy Standard’s Benedetta Pilato and London’s Alia Atkinson coming close to beating King in the 50 breast on day one.

With the team race looking like a battle between Cali and Energy Standard, perhaps the Condors should’ve gone with backstroke, where Smoliga (25.74 this season) has a larger advantage over Energy Standard’s top option (Mary-Sophie Harvey hit a best of 26.19 today) than King does over Pilato.

The Condors opted to go with Sherridon Dressel in the 50 back here in the final, with the former Florida Gator placing fifth in 26.58. Smoliga was the only swimmer in the field sub-26 in 25.83. Nelson has been as fast as 26.55 in Match 4, while Erika Brown has raced the event three times, hitting a best of 26.62 in the semi-finals.

Energy Relying On Shymanovich

The Energy Standard men had a phenomenal performance in the 400 medley relay, putting up a time that’s faster than the world record in 3:18.28 (it won’t officially count due to the fact the team had swimmers from more than one country).

With that win, they opt for breaststroke skins, possibly pinning their hopes of a title defense on Ilya Shymanovich.

Shymanovich won the 50 breast over London’s Adam Peaty by .02 during the opening day of competition, clocking a new Belarusian National Record of 25.48, and has advanced to the final round in both of his skins appearances so far. However, he has yet to win, falling to Iron’s Emre Sakci in Match 7 and then succumbing to Peaty in the semi-finals.

Energy’s #2 man in the event is Felipe Lima, who placed sixth in the event in 26.01. Lima has been a tenth better this season, hitting his only sub-26 back in Match 6 (25.91).

With Caeleb Dressel looking like a near lock to win a freestyle or butterfly skins, it came down to either this event or back for Energy Standard. While their backstroke strength is immense, with Kliment Kolesnikov fresh off setting the world record in the 100 back and Evgeny Rylov a prime threat for this format (not to mention having world record holder Florent Manaudou in their back pocket), they’ve opted to rely on Shymanovich and Lima on breast.

The Condors have some hope, however, as Nic Fink wasn’t far off his American Record in the 50 breast in 25.87, and Dressel has shown he’s capable of advancing to the final round of breaststroke skins, having done so back in Match 4. However, Dressel will have his work cut out for him tomorrow — six men were faster than his personal best time of 26.08 in the individual 50 breast on day one.

The London Roar, despite looking like they’re destined for third in the team race, could spoil the party here with a formidable 1-2 punch in Peaty and Kirill Prigoda, who have been as fast as 25.48 and 25.87 this season, respectively.

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Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
10 months ago

This is kinda interesting.
I thought Cali will pick back for sure. Energy is not good at back. London is good at back but not a threat to the title.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
10 months ago

Uh – did we forget Kolesnikov who has a hot hand now?

Swimfan
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
10 months ago

He’s talking about women’s

BobbyJones
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
10 months ago

Pilato and Atkinson for the upset!!! …. hopefully!

Troyy
Reply to  BobbyJones
10 months ago

Maybe in R1 but I think they’ll add too much time each round to win.

camelboar
10 months ago

Condors could actually do pretty well in the men’s skins. Maybe Energy should have gone with back considering how good their guys have been so far in those events.

Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Reply to  camelboar
10 months ago

Looks like Cali and Energy are not really targeting at each other lol, otherwise they will both choose back.

Hannah
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
10 months ago

Cali is good at back. They have Coleman Stewart.

Eagleswim
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
10 months ago

I think Breast is their best shot of blocking Cali out of the top 4 for men’s…

DorsFanboy
Reply to  Eagleswim
10 months ago

fink was 3rd today and…….Dressel

whever
Reply to  Eagleswim
10 months ago

You forgot about Dressel 26.0 in the 3rd round of breast skins earlier this season?

Willswim
10 months ago

Dressel is angry at himself for not breaking 20 seconds in the 50 free today. He’ll use that anger to summon three straight 19.9s to win the breaststroke skins tomorrow. It will be amazing, years from now scholars who study swimming will call it “Farris like”.

Khachaturian
Reply to  Willswim
10 months ago

History in the making, Dressel goes so fast that the world record time turns into a negative number.

Swimdude
10 months ago

I would love Dressel in skins based on how good he looks, but as much as he seems to not get tired I feel like they need him on that mixed Free relay and I’m not sure if he can pull off the 100IM/100Free/50Fly/4free relay/ skins QUINTUPLE

gator
Reply to  Swimdude
10 months ago

breast skins is questionable…..

Joe
10 months ago

Would probably have picked back if I were Cali. Only Toussaint could challenge Smoliga, and she’s from London, not ENS who seem to be Cali’s closest challengers. In breast, it’s possible that Cali don’t get any swimmers into the final (Atkinson and Pilato). Backstroke seems like the safer choice, to bank on Smoliga outscoring ENS.

For the men it gets a bit interesting. For breast, Shymanovich is odds on to make the final 2, and with Peaty for Roar, it would hurt Cali. Worth noting that currently ENS are almost dead in the middle in terms of points between Cali and Roar, so if Roar have a strong Day 2, this could end up costing them 2nd place potentially.… Read more »

gator
Reply to  Joe
10 months ago

Murphy’s unbeatable in the 50, especially skins. Breast makes alot more sense.

Joe
Reply to  gator
10 months ago

That doesn’t matter though — it’s about maximising ENS advantage relative to Cali/London. LA looks to finish 4th in the final.

Besides, I wouldn’t call Murphy unbeatable in the skins. Kolesnikov just went 48.5 in the 100…

Drama King
Reply to  Joe
10 months ago

Risk with men backstroke skins is that getting out of the round 1. Even if you have Kolesnikov and Rylov , there is a high risk of both or one missing round 2. Murphy and Stewart were so good in day 1. Then you add Guido and Diener in to the mix, there is a high chance of one missing round 2.
In the other hand, Cali can add Ress to the skins race with bit of rest, then they will have another contender to get out of round 1.

Last edited 10 months ago by Drama King
BobbyJones
Reply to  Joe
10 months ago

Twist: Marshalll calls officials to look at Dolphinovich and gets DQed 😮

Drama King
Reply to  Joe
10 months ago

You guys are really underestimating Seebohm in backstroke. Seebohm hasn’t swam 50 back in last two matches.
In three rounds of skins, with her endurance, she’ll be a more threat to Smoliga than Toussaint who actually lost back skins to Kameneva early in the season. If Havey and Seebohm gets to the 2nd round it would be disastrous for Cali.
Best option is obviously Breastroke.
Cali have two punches there with King and Hannis. King is unbeatable in 3 rounds of skins.

sepguswim
Reply to  Drama King
10 months ago

I agree, Cali would rather go with a possible 1-2, it brings more points + of course you have Lilly King who is on form

Coach Mike 1952
10 months ago

Good article, thanks. Tomorrow is going to be something else! Glad FloMo is mentioned – he is no slouch in backstroke as the SCM WR holder. The chess match continues…

Last edited 10 months ago by Coach Mike 1952
Aquajosh
10 months ago

That’s a risky move for ENS. You’ve got the long course 50 back world record holder on your team in Kolesnikov, who has proven he’s having a great meet, you have the long course world champion in the 200 back in Rylov, who just beat Murphy again, AND you have the short course world record holder in Manaudou on your team. It’s an embarrassment of riches. LAC doesn’t have a shot at winning this meet. You lose a lot more by giving points to London and ENS. If Murphy wins skins, they might move from 4th to 3rd. But if Fink, (who won the 50 breast last season and looked great today) or Peaty wins or makes it to the… Read more »

MX4x50relay
10 months ago

The problem is i think ens could win the whole thing by shymanovich’s points in skins, where he shouldn’t even get the points from illegal butterfly kicks. Correct me if I’m wrong but the officials haven’t dqed at all unless it’s a false start

CanSwim13
Reply to  MX4x50relay
10 months ago

Kierra Smith was DQd in an earlier match for her elbows, but dont think there has been a DQ because of dolphin kicks in breaststroke

whever
Reply to  MX4x50relay
10 months ago

This is another disadvantage of choosing breast over back in skins. If Energy wins because of Shymanovich’s skins points, there will definitely be controversies following.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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