ISL Depth Charts: Aussie Return Will Provide Boost For London Roar

The London Roar have confirmed a list of 28 swimmers that will represent the club to open the International Swimming League’s third season in Naples, Italy, with team staff noting that a few other athletes could potentially join the club later on.

The 28 swimmers are as follows:

Women

  1. Freya Anderson
  2. Minna Atherton
  3. Alia Atkinson
  4. Ilaria Bianchi
  5. Kim Busch
  6. Laura Lahtinen
  7. Jenna Laukkanen
  8. Annie Lazor
  9. Emma McKeon
  10. Andi Murez
  11. Sydney Pickrem
  12. Katie Shanahan
  13. Kira Toussaint
  14. Marie Wattel

Men

  1. Dylan Carter
  2. Kyle Chalmers
  3. Christian Diener
  4. Luke Greenbank
  5. Guilherme Guido
  6. Duncan Scott
  7. Kenzo Simons
  8. Samuel Williamson
  9. Zac Incerti
  10. Edward Mildred
  11. Vini Lanza
  12. Teppei Morimoto
  13. Ross Murdoch
  14. Katsumi Nakamura

With each club only permitted to enter 28 swimmers per match, London simply won’t have any roster decisions to be made in terms of leaving swimmers on the bench until any reserves join the squad.

The Roar won’t compete until Match 3, September 2-3, which is one week after the season-opening match August 26-27.

London Roar Season 3 Schedule

  • Match 3: September 2-3 (ENS, IRO, NYB)
  • Match 6: September 11-12 (CAC, TOK, AQC)
  • Match 8: September 18-19 (ENS, LAC, TOK)
  • Match 9: September 23-24 (ENS, TOR, DCT)

2021 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.

STRENGTHS

The most obvious strength for the Roar this season—other than the presence of Emma McKeon, who is coming off a historical Olympic campaign—comes in women’s backstroke, where they’re finally able to combine their top performer from Season 1, Minna Atherton, and their top option from Season 2, Kira Toussaint.

Atherton set the league on fire in 2019, becoming the first swimmer to set a world record in the ISL in the women’s 100 back, and she was a force over all three distances. Now, we can’t assume she’ll pick up right where she left off 19 months ago, but if she’s anywhere close the Aussie will be a huge asset for London.

Toussaint essentially assumed Atherton’s role in Season 2 as the Australian swimmers were kept out due to local travel restrictions. Toussaint picked up several female backstroke wins during the season in Budapest, including sweeping the 50 and 100 back during London’s semi-final match, and she can also put up some solid points in the 200.

Breaststroke is also a surefire strength on the women’s side, with 100-meter world record holder Alia Atkinson being joined by 200 Olympic bronze medalist Annie LazorJenna Laukkanen can also put together a strong 50 or 100, and Canadian Sydney Pickrem is a top performer in the 200 as well.

Sprint fly is in good hands with Emma McKeon and Marie Wattel, and the same goes for sprint freestyle, with Freya AndersonKim Busch and Andi Murez offering solid relay depth.

The men also have a strong sprint free corps, led by the return of Kyle Chalmers and rising Dutch dynamo Kenzo Simons. Chalmers, coming off an individual silver medal at the Olympics in the 100 free, was among the top male performers in Season 1, and Simons is an outstanding pure sprinter, including a 20-mid flat-start 50 freestyle.

Similar to McKeon on the women’s side, Duncan Scott is a high-end versatile option for the team, though he may be called upon to patch up some areas of weakness rather than lean on some of his strengths. But, he does add an ace-in-the-hole pick for the 400 free relay, and is arguably the best 200 freestyler the world has to offer, between LCM and SCM.

Katsumi Nakamura, Zac IncertiVini Lanza and Dylan Carter offer above average depth to contribute free splits on relays as well.

If Tom Dean were to appear at some point during the season, even if only in the playoffs, that would give London another deadly option that can score big points in free and IM.

Backstroke is also a strength for the men—maybe not to the extent of the women, but they’re still strong. Guilherme Guido is a stud in the 50/100, and Christian Diener and Dylan Carter are additional options.

Diener will be joined by Olympic bronze medalist Luke Greenbank to make up a strong duo in the 200 back.

CONTINGENT STRENGTHS

While women’s sprint free was already mentioned as a straight-up strength, it would be brought to another level if Cate Campbellwho is listed on the club roster but not in the opening lineup, were to appear at some point.

McKeon and the rest can handle the load, but Campbell would push them over the top and make the Roar tough to beat in relays.

Men’s butterfly has a big contingency: Teppei Morimoto. Morimoto swam a time of 1:55.82 in the LCM 200 butterfly at the Japanese Olympic Trials earlier this year, but he doesn’t seem to have many official swims on record, though his ISL profile says he’s been 23.26/50.44/1:50.51 in the SCM fly events.

If Morimoto is anywhere near those times he’ll be extremely valuable, as the club loses Marius Kusch this season. Vini Lanza will be a top option on fly as well, and Dylan Carter can jump in the 50 or 100 at any point and be solid.

An under-the-radar move from London in the offseason was picking up Aussie breaststroker Samuel Williamson, who holds bests of 26.4/57.0/2:07.4. He and Ross Murdoch will be manning the breast events for the time being, and they may well be pretty decent. But if Adam Peaty and/or Kirill Prigoda join the club, who are both listed on the roster, they’ll be better off. Especially if an injury were to occur to either Murdoch or Williamson, because without Peaty or Prigoda, Duncan Scott is probably their next breaststroke option.

WEAKNESSES

The weaknesses on the men’s and women’s sides are essentially the same: the 400s.

The women only really have Sydney Pickrem as a option in both the women’s 200 and 400 individual medley, and will have to rely on British youngster Katie Shanahan.

The Roar appear to be turning to Freya Anderson, primarily a 100/200 swimmer, for the 400 free. Either Shanahan or Laura Lahtinen will be joining her, it seems.

For the men, last season the club had to rely on Vini Lanza to swim way outside of his comfort zone in the 400 free. That may well be the case again this year, with Duncan Scott likely also swimming there. Brit Edward Mildred may have to step up there as well.

The 400 IM is essentially the same story: Scott has been sub-4:00 in each of the first two ISL seasons, so London might even pick up some first-place points in the event. But the second spot is a grey area, with Mildred likely filling in a big hole there despite holding a 4:23 PB.

OUTLOOK

London has been among the top four clubs and qualified for the Grand Final in each of the first two ISL seasons. Despite some big losses, the return of swimmers such as McKeon, Atherton and Chalmers is huge for them, and should keep them in the league’s upper echelon.

The Roar’s few weaknesses are a bit glaring, but if they can mitigate the damage there, the team should have no problem cruising through the season with their current group.

If some (or all) of Campbell, Peaty and Dean were to return for the playoffs, a third straight appearance in the finals is imminent and they’ll vie for a top position. Without them, it’s still hard to see any of the bottom-six clubs from last season leapfrogging them given their talent pool, but that hinges on a lot of swimmers performing up to their recent levels.

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Sub13
3 months ago

Forgive my ignorance, but are the Aussies confirmed to be participating? Emma and Kyle just got out of two weeks quarantine. Seems odd they would be flying overseas again in a week.

Gheko
Reply to  Sub13
3 months ago

Yes according to his instragram Kyle is on a 10 day break in Adelaide.

Admin
Reply to  Sub13
3 months ago

This is a list sent by London of swimmers they expect for the regular season. As usual, information provided about the ISL is incomplete or murky. Cali was the only team that shared whether those swimmers would be available for the whole regular season or just partial. Tokyo is refusing to share, and we’re still waiting for a response from Aqua.

So, I guess it’s just going to be a surprise when we all turn on the TV this weekend.

Last edited 3 months ago by Braden Keith
CY~
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

Have they even released broadcast details outside of watching in Italy?

Admin
Reply to  CY~
3 months ago

No. It’s supposedly going to be on some CBS platform in the US, but details aren’t yet set, and we don’t know which one(s).

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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