ISL First 5: Aqua Centurions Go Breaststroke-Heavy With 4 of First 5 Picks

After a year lost to injuries and pandemic withdrawals, the Italy-based Aqua Centurions are doubling down on their clear strength: breaststroke.

Under new management after a last-place finish in 2020, the Aqua Centurions retained breaststrokers with four of their first five picks.

That includes skin race semifinalists Martina Carraro and Arianna Castiglioni on the women’s side and stars Nicolo Martinenghi and Fabio Scozzoli on the men’s side. The other retained swimmer is Federica Pellegrini, who was a surprise late addition to the ISL registration list.

The scoring numbers don’t look great for this group: Martinenghi was the top scorer of the bunch, finishing at #48 league-wide for the 2020 regular season. Carraro was #70, Scozzoli #107, Castiglioni #155 and Pellegrini #250. But Pellegrini only swam one meet, with her season delayed by a COVID-19 diagnosis. The Aqua Centurions really found their footing late, with Martinenghi scoring his season-high 33.5 points in the final regular season match.

The Aqua Centurions first five does not include team MVP Szebasztian Szabo, though. Szabo was a fly/free sprint powerhouse, and the only Aqua Centurion to make a skins final. He was the #8 overall scorer leaguewide. He could be retained in a future round, but as we’ve noted in this series, it’s not clear yet whether some of the big names missing from retained player lists will be withdrawing from the ISL season or not.

Other key names not yet retained: Alessandro Miressi (#57), Valentine Dumont (#91), Matteo Rivolta (#107), league newcomer Thomas Ceccon, and 2020 opt-outs Vladislav Grinev, Elena di Liddo, and Simone Sabbioni.


First, a quick refresher on personnel rules, as announced by the league:

Each team can retain up to 16 swimmers from their 2020 rosters across six different rounds of retention:

  1. 5 pre-selected athletes to retain
  2. 4 athletes announced in round 1 of retention
  3. 3 athletes announced in round 2 of retention
  4. 2 athletes announced in round 3 of retention
  5. 1 athlete announced in round 4 of retention
  6. 1 athlete voted on by fans (this round of retention comes after the first round of the ISL draft, though)

After that, players not retained will fall to the ISL Draft Pool, where the Aqua Centurions and DC Trident will each have a first-round pick. The Draft Pool will include unretained players, but also ISL rookies, like NCAA graduates and other new ISL additions.

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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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