ISL First 5: No Murphy Yet For LA, Shields & Gastaldello Retained

The L.A. Current will bring back butterfly stars Beryl Gastaldello and Tom Shieldsbut haven’t yet retained world record-holding backstroker Ryan Murphy.

LA announced their first five retained swimmers on Instagram yesterday. They’ll include Shields, Gastaldello, Katie McLaughlin, Madi Wilson and Kristian Gkolomeev.

Gastaldello was the team’s MVP last year, finishing #2 across the entire league in regular-season scoring and just 30.5 points out of the league MVP award. LA had two of the top three MVP contenders, with Murphy finishing 3rd leaguewide in individual regular season points.

Murphy was not among the swimmers retained. There are still future rounds for teams to retain swimmers, but a key name like Murphy being absent from the first five could also suggest that Murphy is not planning to compete in the ISL this fall.

Shields finished #10 in regular-season scoring last year and just made his second U.S. Olympic team last week. Gkolomeev was the #87 scorer in the league, but brings 50 free speed that’s extra valuable in the high-scoring skins races. McLaughlin was the #235 regular-season scorer last year, but has had a great summer, including her first Olympic berth last week. Wilson did not compete last year, but was originally named to the Current’s roster. She was the #67 overall scorer in the 2019 season, competing for the New York Breakers.

Notable names still not yet retained: Murphy (#3 overall scorer in 2020 regular season), Abbey Weitzeil (#29), Anastasia Gorbenko (#43), Maxime Rooney (#82), Felipe Silva (#95), and 2020 opt-outs Ryan Held and Kathleen Baker.


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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Bo Hulten
1 year ago

Do we know exact dates/places for ISL 2021??

cynthia curran
1 year ago

Shields needs the money. I found out that the reason he almost killed himself two years ago was over money. Well, the high rent of the bay area would put pressure on someone to worry about money.

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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