ISL First 5: NY Breakers Surprise, Retain Marco Koch But Not Michael Andrew

The New York Breakers will retain Marco Koch for 2021, but not Team MVP Michael Andrew in their first five picks.

Koch, a jackpot-master in the 200 breaststroke last year, did not originally appear on the list of protected athletes from which New York could choose to retain. But the team announced their first five retained swimmers today, including Koch among them. It’s not clear when teams were allowed to add names to their protection pools, but this confirms that the pools were not locked when they were announced earlier this month.

The other big surprise is that Andrew is not one of the first five names retained. Andrew was the #26 overall regular-season scorer last year, scoring a point more than Koch (#29 league-wide). The two were easily the top two scorers for the Breakers.

There are still future rounds of retention that could include swimmers not named today. But an absence could also suggest that a swimmer is not competing in the coming ISL season. We’ve reached out to Andrew for more information.

Outside of Andrew, the Breakers retained their top four available scorers from last year: Koch, Abbie Wood (#36), Joe Litchfield (#38), Arina Surkova (#55). #40 overall scorer Kasia Wasick did not appear on the team’s protection list and will likely join the draft pool.

Other key names not yet retained: Felix Auboeck (#115), Svetlana Chimrova (#131), Emily Escobedo (#144) and Alicia Tchorz (#151).


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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1 year ago

Can someone explain the drafting rules? Why is it broken down into rounds? Especially if other teams can’t snipe players not chosen. Why not just announce your top 15 picks?

Reply to  SBOmega
1 year ago

Your analysis is correct. The 5-10 breakdown of the 15 is just for show. I think in their minds, the 5 were going to be the biggest stars, were going to capture some eyeballs after the Olympic Trials and going into the Games.

Either the teams have not followed those instructions…or we’ll find out next week that a lot of big names aren’t planning to compete. We’ve heard from a few who are not, but it sounds like there might be some behind the scenes negotiations going on still to try and find a price that would motivate those swimmers to compete – which could include perhaps not asking them to attend the full season.

Swimmer Steve
1 year ago

Breakers suck #godors

fly fly
1 year ago

MA can be later. First 5 probably should be ones that are dealt first so they won’t go to another team.

1 year ago

Maybe he is planning to go surfing instead. I don’t blame him he will need a break

Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

He’s actually a pretty good surfer for a 6’7 guy

Reply to  Penguin
1 year ago

i’ll make that decision…send video proof of it.

Reply to  Chris
1 year ago

Its all over his instagram. He’s not a pro and obviously it would be easy to bash him on his skills (just as everyone on this website could critique a casual swimmer).

I said he’s “pretty good” and I can make that decision just fine by myself, thank you. shaka shaka

Reply to  Penguin
1 year ago

He also grew up in Kansas lol so just picked it up

cynthia curran
Reply to  Penguin
1 year ago

Well, Duke K wasn’t as tall as Michael Andrew but was tall for his day and age. The boards were much heavier in Duke K time than today.

Mean Dean
1 year ago

MA is not celebrating Father’s Day next year

cynthia curran
Reply to  Mean Dean
1 year ago

I thought his parents co=own the New York breakers, but maybe Michael is taking time off or they sold their share of ownership in the New York breakers.

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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