The latest release of full match replays from season 1 of the International Swimming League is of the College Park, Maryland stop that featured the 4 American teams in a U.S. “derby” event.
During the inaugural ISL season, teams raced their first two meets by “groups” composed of two teams from each continent (the US and Europe). Then, all four teams split off into their respective “derbies.”
The term, not entirely familiar to American audiences, is used in European sports to describe a matchup of geographical rivals. For example, Manchester City vs. Manchester United in the English Premier League would constitute a derby.
The American Derby, held at the University of Maryland, didn’t carry a lot of significance in the team race, given that the Cali Condors and LA Current had essentially locked-in their spots in the Las Vegas finale. There was a hot battle for 3rd place at the meet between DC Trident and NY Breakers, with both teams trying to prove that they weren’t the league’s bottom performers of season 1.
The battle for 1st place was, at least, competitive, with LA Current holding off Cali Condors for the meet win by just 5.5 points, and the Trident fighting back the breakers by 7.5 points for 3rd place. The latter result prompted the Trident to chant “3rd is 1st! 3rd is 1st!” at the meet’s conclusion.
While many of the stars of the American teams skipped the meet (Nathan Adrian, Katie Ledecky, and Ryan Murphy, for example), there still was enough star power in the pool to bring fireworks. Caeleb Dressel of the Cali Condors was the meet MVP with 61.5 points, beating out the LA Current’s Beryl Gastaldello, who had 51.5 points, for that honor.
Michael Andrew of the New York Breakers, who came into the season with huge expectations that largely fell flat through the first two meets, finally got into a rhythm in the ISL format. With quick turnarounds and high race volume, Andrew’s USRPT training style was expected to produce big results. In DC, it finally did, to the tune of a 5th-place finish in the MVP standings, in spite of little help from his team’s relays (he actually lost points when one of their relays didn’t hit the minimum time standard).
That included his first win of the season, when he tied with Matt Grevers atop the 50 backstroke.
Other Major Storylines from the American Derby:
- Ian Finnerty had a breakout meet, sweeping the breaststroke titles and setting new American Records in both the 50 and 100 meter breaststrokes.
- Finnerty’s teammate Lilly King continued her unbeaten streak in the ISL, which at season’s end would result in a surprise $15,000 bonus from the league.
- 7 US Open Records were broken at the meet. Most of the short course meters US Open Records were broken throughout the season, given that the US so rarely hosts short course meters meets. Records set in College Park:
- Final Team Scores:
- LA Current – 495
- Cali Condors – 489.5
- DC Trident – 322.5
- NY Breakers – 315