International Swimming League Naples: 100 Free Depth Carries the Day


If you’re going to ‘game’ recruiting of the International Swimming League, you focus on one event: the 100 free.

That’s what’s worked for Energy Standard in its two wins so far this season, and it’s the major storyline of the Naples event.

100 Free Depth Dominates

Here’s a look at Energy Standard’s placing in all 100 free-related races:

  • Women’s 100 Free: 1st/2nd (16 points)
  • Men’s 100 Free: 2nd/3rd (13 points)
  • Women’s Free Relay: 1st/6th (24 points)
  • Men’s Free Relay: 1st/4th (28 points)
  • Mixed Free Relay: 1st/5th (26 points)

In each of those five events, Energy Standard scored more than any other team in Naples.

Digging into the specifics even more, Energy Standard actually won the mixed free relay by two seconds – without using any of their four individual 100 freestylers. Sarah Sjostrom and Femke Heemskerk went 1-2 in the 100 free, but Kayla Sanchez and Penny Oleksiak swam the relay, putting up the best times of any women on that relay. Meanwhile Chad le Clos and Evgeny Rylov went 2-3 in the men’s 100 free, but Sergey Shevtsov and Ivan Girev took the two relay spots.

That kept Sjostrom and Heemskerk fresh for the skins race, which effectively flipped the meet for Energy Standard. With the relays worth double points (and the 100 free making up 3 of the five relays and the anchor leg of the other two relays), that 100 free depth is by far the most important factor in the league.

And assuming your top 100 freestylers are at least decent 50 freestylers, the advantage in the triple-points skins race means that sprint freestylers are probably even more overvalued in the ISL format than they are in the NCAA format, which already weighs sprint free much, much more than any other stroke.

Top Contenders Individually

The top four finishers in MVP standings are top-level 100 freestylers: Caeleb Dressel, Sjostrom, le Clos and Olivia Smoliga. Siobhan Haughey, Florent Manaudou, Kelsi Dahlia and Kayla Sanchez are also high-level 100 freestylers in the top 10 in MVP points from Naples. Getting swimmers who can excel at the 100 free while also finishing highly in the 50s and 100s of other strokes (which all of that bunch can do) is the key to breaking the ISL format. So far, Energy Standard has clearly exploited that, with their multi-stroke specialists like le Clos, Sjostrom, Kolesnikov and Rylov.

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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