Chase Kalisz and Leah Smith Expected to Make ISL Debuts in Maryland

Olympic medalists Chase Kalisz and Leah Smith are scheduled to make their International Swimming League debuts this weekend for the LA Current during the US Derby meet at the University of Maryland. Racing will begin at 2PM Eastern Time on Saturday, November 16th, and continue at the same time on Sunday.

Kalisz (unexplained) and Smith (aggravated neck) both missed the team’s opening stops in Lewisville, Texas and Budapest in October, but both are on the roster that the LA Current sent to SwimSwam on Monday ahead of the team’s final regular season meet this weekend in Maryland. Kalisz, an IMer, was the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the 400 IM and the 2017 World Champion in both the 200 and 400 IM. He took a step back in 2019, winning just 1 medal, in the 200 IM, at the World Championships, but will still be one of the top 2 IMers at the US Derby.

His biggest competition in those races will come from the DC Trident, which boast both Abrahm Devine and 2019 Worlds silver medalist in the 400 IM Jay Litherland on their roster. In Naples, Litherland won the 400 IM, and the Trident m got a little bit of a surprise victory when Andreas Vazaios tied for the win in the 200 IM.

Kalisz is also one of the most versatile swimmers in the world at distances 200 meters or more, and could conceivably fill-in spots for the Current in the 200 fly, 200 back, or 200 breast with a chance for top 3 points. Of those races, the team’s biggest need is probably the 200 back this week, though they’re in pretty good shape overall.

On the women’s side, the addition of Smith to the roster fills a big weakness for the Current. They went 4-8 with Katie McLaughlin and Anastasia Gorbenko racing the event in Budapest, and 2-8 in the 400 IM with Bailey Andison and Katie McLaughlin in the race at the same meet. Smith should net out at least an extra 7 or 8 points for the Current in those events in DC.

Andison, who was a last-minute addition for the Current but came up big in Budapest when she pushed Katinka Hosszu to the wire in the 400 IM, will race again in DC, even as the team gets IMer Ella Eastin back.

The Current will see a lot of big names return to the lineup after they took a thin roster to Europe for meet 2. A few notable absences in Budapest slid them behind the hosts Iron at that meet into 3rd, place, though that 3rd-place finish was still enough to all-but-guarantee them a spot in the final in Las Vegas.

The biggest absence from the roster is 3-time Olympic gold medalist and World Record holding backstroke Ryan Murphy, who scored 22 individual points and swam on 2 relays for the Current in Budapest. The Current announced late last week that they would add Irish backstroker and sprint freestyler Shane Ryan, who has had some really good performances in short course over the last few weeks to their roster. Ryan will couple with Matt Grevers for the Current backstrokers.

The team will also be without Murphy’s fellow Cal Bear Nathan Adrian as they’re again only going to have 13 swimmers in DC – 1 less than the minimum. The team’s other Cal post-grads, Tom Shields, Josh Prenot, and Andrew Seliskar, are scheduled to compete.

Key Swimmers Missing:

While those absences are significant, they probably still leave the Current in 2nd place in the meet – behind the Cali Condors, but ahead of the DC Trident (who are also expected to be missing a few big name) and the New York Breakers.

LA Current Roster, US Derby Meet, University of Maryland

Men Women
Chase Kalisz Bailey Andison
Dylan Carter Kathleen Baker
Michael Chadwick Amy Bilquist
Jack Conger Ella Eastin
Matt Grevers Beryl Gastaldello
Ryan Held Margo Geer
Will Licon
Felipe Lima Annie Lazor
Shane Ryan Linnea Mack
Blake Pieroni Katie Mclaughlin
Josh Prenot Farida Osman
Andrew Seliskar Leah Smith
Tom Shields Kendyl Stewart
Aly Tetzloff


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3 years ago

I was beginning to think, Kalicz had retired

3 years ago

where can we get tickets?

3 years ago

It was bad. Not subpar.

Reply to  Heyitsme
3 years ago

No, it was just subpar. He still medalled in the 200 IM. “Just” a bronze, but still a medal. Yes, that’s not up the level where he has been used to performing. But it wasn’t bad.

Reply to  N P
3 years ago

Sounds bad to me. Didn’t even final in the 400 which is his best event…

Reply to  Heyitsme
3 years ago

For his standards, especially since Rio it was subpar, probably just needed some time away to recharge the batteries, he’s probably been grinding since the last Olympics and hit a wall

3 years ago

Is Kalisz worse in SCM than LCM?

Reply to  Troyy
3 years ago


Reply to  Superfan
3 years ago

Why the downvote? Superfan accurately answered a legitimate question.

Reply to  swimgeek
3 years ago

Thanks swimgeek!

Reply to  swimgeek
3 years ago

Well, it was a yes or no question, so the answer was weird. But also, do we know Kalisz’s best times in SCM? Has he ever trained for, or shaved and tapered for a SCM meet? How do you even compare?

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Thanks, Braden. Exactly. That 3:33.42 scy is really really fast. Arguably more impressive than his 4:05.9 LCM. It’s close anyway.

3 years ago

So anyone who has been to one of these meets – how long do they run? 2 hours, 4 hours, or longer? What’s the difference between the tiers of tickets? Can you get a reserved seat? Or is seating first come first choice? The ISL website does a poor job of preparing spectators for what to expect

Reply to  Wahooswimfan
3 years ago

they run exactly 2 hours. But this is a “Derby” meet so it might be different.

Reply to  Wahooswimfan
3 years ago

Hopefully you got tickets already. They’re sold on out the websiite.

Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Watching Chase swim short course and tired will be about as fascinating as watching paint dry.

Joel Lin
3 years ago

University of Maryland building a world class natatorium, then dropping varsity men’s & women’s swimming is the most Maryland thing ever if we’re playing it on the level.

Reply to  Joel Lin
3 years ago

Well said. And then joining the Big 10 with a big infusion of TV money to the Athletic Dept — and not bringing back swimming. Moreover, swimming is huge in the DC area — and UMD is the only power-5 school in the DC Metro area. But no swim team. Sad!

3 years ago

Really interested to see how Chase will do. What we saw from him in the lead up to 2017 Trials and Worlds was super impressive, lots of 200 flys and breasts at the Pro Swim series which ultimately culminated in one hell of a championship meet, whereas 2019 was a bit of a down year. Hope he bounces back strong and we see 4:05 and 1:55 Chase again

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

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