The International Swimming League has released the official schedule for the regular season of racing for its 3rd season. The regular season will take place in Naples, Italy beginning on August 26, 2021, and will last for just over a month.
Season 3 will feature the same 10 teams that took part in season 2 of the league: the 8 original teams from the first season, along with the Toronto Titans and Tokyo Frog Kings which were introduced last year.
Each team will compete in 4 matches between August 26 and September 26 and 6 highest-ranked teams from the regular season will automatically advance to the playoff phase. The 4 lowest-ranked teams after September 6 will take part in Match 11 on September 29-30 and the top 2 finishers there will also advance to the playoffs.
Regular Season Schedule:
Some important things to note about the schedule include:
- The top 2 finishers from season 2 Cali Condors and Energy Standard won’t face each other during the regular season.
- The league’s 2 newest teams, Toronto Titans and Tokyo Frog Kings won’t race in any of the same meets during the regular season.
- Tokyo Frog Kings and DC Trident won’t face each other during the regular season.
- Energy Standard and London Roar, the top two non-American teams from last season, will go up against each other at back-to-back matches (Match 8 & 9).
- Among the higlights of the season will be Match 8 from September 18-19, which will feature Energy Standard, London Roar, LA Current, and Tokyo Frog Kings – the #2, #3, #4, and #5 teams from last year. Energy, London, and LA are expected to be in the top 4 again this season, while Tokyo has seen a significant dropoff.
Strength of Schedule
The table below shows how many times each team will face each opponent this season, ordered by final rank in the 2020 season.
Other than the top 2 teams, Energy and Cali, not facing each other, the schedule does appear to be much more balanced this season than it was last season, where, for example, Energy Standard had a schedule on paper that seemed softer than other teams.
This year they’ll face last year’s #3 team London in 3 of their 4 regular season meets.
Tokyo faces a particularly difficult schedule: they face last season’s top 4 teams 7 times, which is more than any other team in the league. That’s going to be difficult with them losing many of their star swimmers from last season, and with multiple draft gaffes leaving them on an uphill battle already. They do get to see New York Breakers and Aqua Centurions twice each, though. Those are two teams expected to be at-or-near the bottom of the final league table.
|Cali||Energy Standard||London Roar||LA Current||Tokyo Frog Kings||IRON||Toronto Titans||New York Breakers||DC Trident||
|Tokyo Frog Kings||2||1||2||2||0||0||2||0||2|
|New York Breakers||2||1||1||1||2||2||1||0||1|
Team Byes By Week
- Week 1 (August 26-29): London Roar, Iron
- Week 2 (September 2-5): Toronto Titans, Tokyo Frog Kings
- Week 3 (September 9-12): Energy Standard, New York Breakers
- Week 4 (September 16-19): Aqua Centurions, DC Trident
- Week 5 (September 23-26): Cali Condors, LA Current
After Match 11, the top 8 teams in the league will advance to the 3-week playoff phase set to take place in November 2021. Each team will compete in 6 matches during the playoff phase and from there, the 4 highest ranked teams will move on to the Grand Final. The Grand Final will occur in December 2021.
The ISL recently completed its first-ever draft during which each team was permitted to retain up to 15 swimmers from their roster. After that, 1 additional swimmer was selected for each team via a fan vote, 1 ‘ISL rookie’ was drafted to each team, and then 8-10 swimmers were drafted to each team. Following the draft, the league entered into a 30-day free-agency period in order to sign additional athletes to fill out their rosters. Check out each team’s roster ahead of the free-agency period here.
Season 3’s schedule is the most robust lineup we have seen yet for the league. During season 1, there were only 7 matches during the “regular season”, followed by the Grand Final in Las Vegas where Energy Standard came away as victors. Then in season 2, we saw a 10-match regular season, followed by 2 semi-final matches and a Grand Final. As a reminder, here’s how season 2 played out:
|6||TOKYO KING FROGS||10|
|3||TOKYO KING FROGS||380.5|