Chalmers and Belmonte Out, Scott and O’Connor In for London Roar at Euro Derby


  • Saturday, November 23 – Sunday, November 24, 2019
  • 5:00-7:00 PM Local Time (12:00 noon – 2:00 PM, U.S. Eastern Time)
  • London Aquatics Centre – London, England
  • Short Course Meters (SCM) format
  • European franchises: Aqua Centurions, Energy Standard, Iron, London Roar
  • Viewers Guide

The London Roar will be a little short-handed at the European Derby stop of the International Swimming League (ISL) this weekend, though they’re still the favorites to take home the title.

London will host the derby at the London Aquatics Centre that was previously used for the Olympic Games in front of a sold-out crowd. Racing will be held Saturday, November 23rd and Sunday, November 24th starting at 5:00 PM local time (noon U.S. Eastern time).

London will have just 12 men and 11 women on their team for the derby, short of the maximum 14 men and 14 women allowed (including 2 of each gender who are relay-only swimmers). While most of the team’s big stars will be in tow, fewer athletes will put more pressure and allow less flexibility in lineups, especially on the women’s side. Each team has 52 “swims” to fill per gender, meaning that on average, London’s women’s swimmers will have to race almost 5 events each.

Of the team’s 8 missing swimmers for the derby meet, 5 are Australian – which follows a pattern we saw in the U.S. Derby as well, where several Australians are missing. While no reason was given for their absence, this weekend is the Swimming Australia annual awards ceremony.

Among the missing swimmers are the defending Olympic champion in the 100 free Kyle ChalmersCam McEvoy, and Elijah Winnington on the men’s side. On the women’s side, the team will be without Australians Jess Hansen and Taylor McKeown. The other missing swimmers are Spanish Olympic champion Mireia Belmonte, who has only raced in one meet for London this season, in Budapest; Britain’s Holly Hibbott; and Brazil’s Bruno Fratus (though Fratus was only ever committed to 1 meet anyway).

Based on MVP scoring (which only gives a 50% multiplier for Skins races and divides relay points equally among all participants), they lose the #2 swimmer from Budapest Chalmers, who was a surprise winner of the skins race there.

There are some big names included on that list of absences, like McEvoy and Belmonte, but on an individual level none were massive contributors in Budapest. It’s the loss of depth, though, that will hurt the Roar: in total, that group combined for 98.5 points in Budapest, where Fratus and Hibbott both didn’t race.

The Roar, however, will also get some reinforcements in the form of the ISL debuts for Duncan Scott and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor. Scott, who at last summer’s World Championships was the individual bronze medalist in the 200 free, should help soften the blow from the loss of Chalmers. At last weekend’s British University & Colleges Championships (BUCS) he showed off his range with 15 races in 48 hours, including a record-setting 200 fly. Long known as a world-class freestyler, Scott has really developed into a well-rounded swimmer over the last year who should contribute mightily in the ISL format.

His butterfly skills should be a boost especially – in Budapest, the Roar had the 8th-place finisher in the 100 fly (James Guy) and 200 fly (Vini Lanza) on the men’s side.

Scott’s Lifetime Bests:

50 free 22.62 21.53
100 free 47.87 46.64
200 free 1:44.91 1:42.47
400 free 3:56.02 3:40.40
50 fly 24.43 23.84
100 fly 52.25 51.36
200 fly 1:56.60 1:54.43
200 IM 1:56.65 1:53.82
400 IM 4:20.39 4:06.00

O’Connor likewise adds versatility for the Roar. She’ll soften the blow from the loss of Belmonte, who after a lot of recent health issues really didn’t live up to the potential that she might’ve had in this format earlier in her career. O’Connor is the two-time defending Commonwealth Games champion in the 200 IM, and she was 7th in that event at the 2019 World Championships.

In full form, O’Connor is MVP caliber, though she’s unlikely to challenge for a skins title, which does make MVP an uphill climb.

O’Connor’s Lifetime Bests:

50 free 25.28 24.72
100 free 53.81 52.98
20 free 1:55.82 1:53.82
100 back 1:02.35 1:05.83
50 breast 31.24 30.42
100 breast 1:06.34 1:05.07
200 breast 2:27.37 2:28.42
50 fly 26.45 25.49
100 fly 57.45 55.93
200 fly 2:15.08 2:13.85
200 IM 2:06.88 2:05.13
400 IM 4:44.17 4:46.98

Between them, the pair holds 14 British National Records, and so if nothing else, they should bring some cheers from the home crowd.

The team will also be boosted by the return of Matthew Wilson to the lineup. Another Australian, Wilson raced in the season-opener in Lewisville before missing the Budapest meet as the debut of Adam Peaty gave the Roar a glut of breaststrokers. In Lewisville, he was 6th in the 100 breast, 4th in the 200 IM, 4th in the 50 breast, and won the 200 breast – his specialty where this summer he tied the long course World Record.

It’s not clear where he fits in to the team at this meet, aside from spelling Peaty from the 200 breast (he was 3rd in that race in Budapest). But, with 3 breaststrokers, that puts even more pressure upon the Roar’s thin lineup, meaning that we’ll likely see at least one of those breaststrokers forced into an unexpected spot this weekend.

Returning for the Roar in London will be, among others, Adam Peaty, the World Record holder who won both the 50 and 100 breaststrokes in Budapest; and Emma McKeon, who has turned into one of the surprises of this series. McKeon ranked 4th in MVP scoring in Budapest and has 6 individual event wins to her credit in 3 meets.

By way of winning each of their first 2 meets, the Roar should, along with Energy Standard, have no problem advancing to the Las Vegas finale in December. All they need to do is not finish last, and they’ve secured a spot in the championship meet. Even if they did, it would have to be last place by a massive margin for them to be eliminated.

London Roar Roster, 2019 ISL – European Derby

James Guy Minna Atherton
Adam Peaty Holly Barratt
Duncan Scott Emma McKeon
Alex Graham Cate Campbell
Matt Wilson Bronte Campbell
Peter Bernek Sydney Pickrem
Christian Diener
Jeanette Otteson
Kiril Prigoda
Siobhan Marie-O’Connor
Finlay Knox Sarah Vasey
Vini Lanza Marie Wattel
Yuri Kisil Boglarka Kapas
Guido Guilherme

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Sooooo keen to see Scott in action


By the way, Scott broke PBs in 50 free, 200 fly and 400 IM last weekend. He’s now 21.53, 1:54.43 and 4:06 flat in those events.


Not sure why Emma McKeon is one of the surprises . She has been very versatile for a few years now.


Maybe they’re surprised by how many events she’s winning? I think she’s just often underrated.


Yes, she has 17 World Championship medals….not the way to fly under the radar unnoticed!


I know, but since it’s sport and there’s a “winner takes all” mentality, people pay more attention to gold medal haulers in individual events, especially those who dominate the competition. McKeon is vital for the Aussie relays and gets on individual podiums a lot too but she hasn’t gotten an individual gold yet at Worlds/Olympics level and that’s probably partly why she doesn’t get as much of the spotlight as I think she deserves.


Thats true….like Jenny Thompson never won an individual Olympic gold either…but was often MVP!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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