INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE 2020: LONDON ROAR
- 2019 finish: 2nd
- 2019 MVP: Emma McKeon (192 MVP points)
|1||Sydney Pickrem||Guilherme Guido|
|2||Annie Lazor||Duncan Scott|
|3||Marie Wattel||Adam Peaty|
|4||Alia Atkinson||Kirill Prigoda|
|5||Holly Hibbott||Christian Diener|
|6||Siobhan-Marie O’Connor||Vini Lanza|
|7||Kira Toussaint||James Guy|
|8||Freya Anderson||Andreas Vazaios|
|9||Anna Hopkin||Marius Kusch|
|10||Mariia Kameneva||Tom Dean|
|11||Aimee Willmott||Luke Greenbank|
|12||Kathleen Dawson||Mikhail Vekovishchev|
|13||Harriet West||Amaury Leveaux|
|14||Emily Large||Darragh Greene|
2020 Depth Charts
Our depth charts are equal parts research and prognostication. While most of our ordering is based around best times on record, we’ve also done some guesswork based on time conversions from short course yards and/or long course meters, or in cases where athletes don’t have recent results in a specific event. These depth charts are intended to show the top options for each event, even if the specific event lineup may prevent a top swimmer from entering all of the events where they rank in the top two.
Potential skin races are shown in blue, and the events with relay considerations in red.
If London dominates at one thing, it has to be breaststroke. For both men and women, the Roar have a stockpile of elite breaststroke talents. Adam Peaty is the headliner, an elite 50/100 breaststroker with the ability to sweep both of those events all season if he’s on his game. But London’s real coup last year was getting Kirill Prigoda, arguably the #2 sprint breaststroker on the market. Like Cali in the women’s breaststroke, London could funnel a relay win into a skin 1-2 based on the new rules that allow the team that wins the medley relay to pick the stroke for the skin race.
London is also great on the women’s side. Alia Atkinson joins as a free agent from Iron, and is one of the top sprint breaststrokers in the league. Annie Lazor is outstanding depth.
Shockingly enough, London lost Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell, and Emma McKeon for the regular season, and women’s sprints are still a strength. London prioritized sprint depth in the offseason, going gout and getting Anna Hopkin from the NCAA, Freya Anderson from the Aqua Centurions, and Mariia Kameneva from the ranks of the unsigned. Now, Kameneva (23.5) and Hopkin (23.7) look like the top 50 freestylers and Anderson (51.4/1:52.7) the top 100/200 type with chances to score big.
The men aren’t able to recover quite as well from the losses of Kyle Chalmers and Katsumi Nakamura for the regular season, but Duncan Scott remains a top-level competitor in the 50-through-200. James Guy remains as one of the league’s better 400 freestylers, even if Elijah Winnington and Alex Graham are out for the season.
Men’s backstroke should be great. Guilherme Guido was one of the underrated signings last year, and scored big all season long. Losing Minna Atherton is a setback, but adding Kira Toussaint from Iron replaces Atherton’s spot in the sprints, at least.
The roster losses leave London thin in women’s butterfly, though. McKeon may have been the team’s best 100/200 flyer, and Holly Barratt was the top 50 flyer with Cate Campbell also in the mix. Marie Wattel is a solid 50/100 type that keeps this weakness from being too debilitating, though.
Losing that many sprint freestylers hurts the relays immensely, though. Based on original rosters, London had an incredible ten women with career-bests under 53.0 in the 100 free. They’ve lost nearly half that group. The men’s side has also cleared out some, with only four active swimmers under 47.5, compared to seven on their original roster.
Free: Scott is a great skin entrant for the men, with a perfect mix of speed and endurance – though he’ll struggle in the opening round against really sprint-heavy fields. Kameneva should be a big signing for the women, but London’s days of stacking the later rounds are probably gone with the Australians.
Back: Guido had the four fastest 50 backstrokes in the ISL last season. Toussaint has the ability to go 25-high. She only swam one ISL meet last year, but did take second to Atherton in the 50 back.
Breast: Atkinson won all three of her 50 breaststrokes last season and is maybe the foremost challenger to Cali’s Lilly King/Molly Hannis pairing. Peaty is unparalleled in long course sprint breaststroke, and though he’s not quite as dominating in short course, he and Prigoda are still one of the top combos in the league.
Fly: Wattel is a good flyer who should at least make the later rounds. Kusch is solid, but will need the right field composition to advance. Fly probably isn’t the top choice for London on either side.
It’s certainly not as bleak as it could be for London, given the huge names that withdrew late in the game. The Roar still have a fighting chance to make the postseason, and the mass Aussie exodus really just demoted London’s elite roster depth to pretty OK roster depth.
It’s worth speculating as to whether London could give Energy Standard another run in the postseason, if the Australians are able to rejoin the roster. Still, there’s also a legitimate fear that London could miss the postseason without the Campbells, McKeon and Chalmers to float the relays. London did get the worse end of the regular-season schedule draw. They don’t have to face Energy Standard at all, but do swim the two best U.S. franchises (Cali and LA) twice. They also swim Tokyo twice, and the expansion Frog Kings look like postseason contenders.
The biggest blow to London might be that losing their stars will severely cut down on their potential for jackpot points. Their best shot to make the postseason is the hope that jackpot steals are rare this season, and that swimmers like Guido or Atkinson can take advantage of some weak fields for jackpot bonuses. If the Dressels and Morozovs of the world are racking up jackpots, it’s going to make London’s road that much tougher.
Still, we like this roster to contend. There’s a ton of talent coming back from last year, and the team really didn’t lose much to free agency. Time will tell whether London can have a few more Atherton/Guido-style breakouts in 2020 to surge into the postseason.