International Swimming League Will Award $50,000 Prize for Season MVP

Championship week has arrived for the 2019 International Swimming League schedule, which means the finishing touches for the inaugural season-long MVP award will see its finishing touches.

In any individual meet, Cali Condors swimmer Caeleb Dressel has proven himself to be the most valuable swimmer this season. In his first meet in Naples, Italy he won the MVP honors by 10 points ahead of Energy Standard’s Sarah Sjostrom 57.5 points – 52 points. In his second meet, the U.S. Derby in College Park, Maryland, he cruised to the MVP honor by a 10-point margin ahead of LA Current swimmer Beryl Gastaldello, 61.5-51.5.

But, he missed his team’s first meet in Indianapolis, Indiana, which could turn into a very expensive absence.

That’s because Dressel would be a huge favorite for the season-long MVP award, if he had raced in all 3 meets. Instead, Sjostrom is a big favorite heading into Las Vegas this weekend, holding a 19.5-point lead over her teammate Chad le Clos as the highest scorer this season in MVP points.

The winner of the match MVP award in Las Vegas will receive a $10,000 prize, while the winner of the season-long MVP award will receive a $50,000 prize.

While Sjostrom’s lead in MVP scoring is significant, it is not insurmountable, primarily for one reason: points at the Las Vegas championship meet will count double toward the season-long MVP award. In essence, that means the deficits that everyone has to Sjostrom in this ranking can be viewed as ‘halved’ for the finale.

Scoring becomes a whole different battle in the finale, where only the top 4 teams, which are by far the deepest 4 teams, compete. In Las Vegas, a few tenths could result in a slide from 1st or 2nd to 5th or 6th in certain races.

For Dressel, for example, who dominated the US Derby meet, he’ll now have to face Florent Manaudou and Ben Proud in the 50 free, and Chad le Clos in the 100 fly, and the Energy Standard and London Roar relays, in addition to the LA Current relays that he had to face in Maryland.

Dressel will be the biggest inhibition to Sjostrom running away with this award. Not because he has a chance to make up the gap (which seems unlikely), but because he has at least 3 probable head-to-head matchups with Chad le Clos, who currently ranks 2nd in season-long MVP scoring. Le Clos would need a nearly-perfect meet to catch his teammate Sjostrom for season MVP, which would include a win in the 100 fly (he beat Dressel in that race in Naples), the 100 free (he was 2nd, almost a second behind Dressel, in Naples), and the 50 fly (he was 2nd behind Dressel in Naples). That’s in addition to any possible relay matchups.

In short: Sjostrom is the favorite to win the season MVP award, but is not a lock.

The meet begins on Friday, December 20th and wraps on Saturday, December 21st at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center. Both days will begin competition at 1:00 PM local time, or 3:00 PM U.S. Eastern time.

Top 8, Season MVP Award Standings

Rank Athlete Club Point Total Team in Vegas?
1 Sarah Sjostrom Energy Standard 151.5 Yes
2 Chad Le Clos Energy Standard 132.0 Yes
3 Emma McKeon London Roar 125.0 Yes
4 Vladimir Morozov Iron 121.5 No
5 Katinka Hosszu Iron 120.5 No
6 Caeleb Dressel Cali Condors 119.0 Yes
7 Olivia Smoliga Cali Condors 117.5 Yes
8 Tom Shields LA Current 107.5 Yes

Reminder of how MVP Scoring Works:

  • In most individual races, athletes receive points equivalent to the points scored for their team: 9 for 1st, 7 for 2nd, 6-5-4-3-2-1.
  • In skins races, where team scoring points are tripled, athletes receive half of their team-scored points. The winner will score 13.5 MVP points, the runner-up will score 10.5 MVP points, followed by 6-5-2-1.5-1-.5
  • In relay races, points scored for an athlete’s team are doubled relative to individual events. Those points are divided equally among the 4 members of the relay. So each member of a winning relay receives 4.5 points, followed by 3.5 points-3-2.5-2-1.5-1-.5
  • Penalties for missing time standards or disqualifications in individual races are applied to MVP scoring, as are penalties for missing time standards in relays. Penalties for disqualifications in relay races are not applied to MVP scoring.

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Sun Yangs Hammer
3 years ago

Sjostrom should take it provided Mr Piano stays out of the way and Remel or Chad don’t go off

Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
3 years ago


3 years ago

I think Sjostrom is going to be facing some pretty stiff competition which might knock her a few points off. I don’t think Dressel’s results change. It’s definitely possible he gets the season mvp. Probably not likely, but definitely possible

3 years ago


Scaling down by half, Sjostrom is ahead of le Clos by 9.75*, of McKeon by 13.25, and of Dressel by 16.25. Sjostrom’s lowest MVP score (44) is better than McKeon’s highest (43.5) so that’s not going to happen. And le Clos’s highest (44.5*) isn’t going to cut it either.

Dressel’s two results (57.5 and 61.5) clear Sjostrom’s worst by 13.5 and 17.5 respectively – so if Dressel matches his best and Sjostrom matches her worst (which isn’t exactly bad), then Dressel would win season MVP even on one fewer meet. Sjostrom’s best was 55.5 though, and it seems unlikely Dressel is going to score 72 (it would take winning skins, 5 individual events, AND 3 relays).

So it’s definitely… Read more »

Reply to  Barry
3 years ago

I think Dressel will do better than Sarah against the competition for individual events, but worse for relays as the Condor men’s relays aren’t that strong especially with the competition in Vegas.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Boomer
3 years ago

Really depends on the tapers, and who’s all-in for this. I suspect Sarah, Leclos, and Chalmers are all-in. Dressel, with big picture in mind and the Troy mindset, is likely to be short of all-in (kind of like his conference rests). That said, Dressel really thrives in these college meet atmospheres, and with the appropriate gallon of pre-workout (but not meldonium!), will probably be very fast. So basically, I just added nothing.

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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