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:
- Freya Anderson
- Minna Atherton
- Alia Atkinson
- Ilaria Bianchi
- Kim Busch
- Laura Lahtinen
- Jenna Laukkanen
- Annie Lazor
- Emma McKeon
- Andi Murez
- Sydney Pickrem
- Katie Shanahan
- Kira Toussaint
- Marie Wattel
- Dylan Carter
- Kyle Chalmers
- Christian Diener
- Luke Greenbank
- Guilherme Guido
- Duncan Scott
- Kenzo Simons
- Samuel Williamson
- Zac Incerti
- Edward Mildred
- Vini Lanza
- Teppei Morimoto
- Ross Murdoch
- 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.
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 Lazor. Jenna Laukkanen can also put together a strong 50 or 100, and Canadian Sydney Pickrem is a top performer in the 200 as well.
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.
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.
While women’s sprint free was already mentioned as a straight-up strength, it would be brought to another level if Cate Campbell, who 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.
The weaknesses on the men’s and women’s sides are essentially the same: the 400s.
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.
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.