The DC Trident will retain breakout ISL star Zach Apple, with no major surprises in their top five picks.
Apple was the #21 overall regular-season scorer in the league last year. He was a force in the sprint freestyles, ending up as the second-ranked 100 freestyler in the ISL for the season. (The #1 swimmer, Caeleb Dressel, was not announced in Cali’s first 5).
DC retained three U.S. Olympians: Apple, Zach Harting and Jay Litherland. Harting is a 200 fly specialist who made his first Olympic team last week. Litherland didn’t compete last season, but was the league’s #120 scorer for DC in 2019. He gains some value with the new scoring system, which offers extra points at the 100-meter checkpoint of the 400 IM, Litherland’s best event.
Notable names not yet retained: Jacob Pebley (#74 in regular-season points last year), Abrahm DeVine (#101), Tommy Cope (#120), Bailey Andison (#131), Zane Grothe (#146) or 2020 opt-outs Cody Miller, Brianna Throssell, Leah Neale and Tristan Hollard.
There are five more rounds of retention, so those athletes could be retained later, or could be withdrawing from the season after appearing on the original registration list.
DRAFT/PLAYER RETENTION RULES
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:
- 5 pre-selected athletes to retain
- 4 athletes announced in round 1 of retention
- 3 athletes announced in round 2 of retention
- 2 athletes announced in round 3 of retention
- 1 athlete announced in round 4 of retention
- 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.