The International Swimming League (ISL) has released further clarification on the rules and restrictions swimmers will be subject to if they opt to be either a ‘PRO’ or ‘Semi-PRO’ in its upcoming fourth season.
On Feb. 7, the ISL announced that athletes would be given the ‘pro’ or ‘semi-pro’ option in Season 4, with a variety of requirements and benefits attached to both.
In the time since, FINA has announced a new 2022 World Championship meet in Budapest, with some of the dates conflicting with the ISL’s regular-season schedule. As a result, the ISL has made a few amendments to the ‘pro’ and ‘semi-pro’ distinctions.
As previously announced, the ISL’s ‘pro’ category offers swimmers a salary and requires them to be committed to racing for their club for the entirety of the season while restricting them from competing in certain commercial competitions that aren’t designated by the league as ‘Tier-1.’
- Tier-1 Competitions: World Championships, World University Games, Commonwealth Games, European Championships, Asian Games, South American Games, National Team Trials
One very notable change the ISL has made in light of the Worlds announcement is that ‘pro’ swimmers can now race in commercial, non-Tier 1 competitions provided they can prove to the ISL they’re required to attend the event as part of the preparation program of their national federation.
An example of this would be swimmers racing with their national federation at the Sette Colli Trophy or Mare Nostrum Tour as prep for Worlds or European Championships. The ISL reserves the right to determine which meets fall within those guidelines.
The league also notes that the restriction on competing in outside commercial events for the ‘pro’ athletes only exists during the season, so they’re free to compete anywhere prior to June 1.
‘Pro’ swimmers were previously only allowed to miss one match (not including injury/illness) during the regular season and none during the playoffs. Now, the league has changed it so the one match missed can take place during either the regular season or playoffs (but not the Grand Final).
The ISL has also added a “100% super-bonus” for ‘pro’ swimmers that don’t compete at the World Championships, on top of their original salary. Swimmers who do attend Worlds won’t see any changes to their compensation.
The rules for the ‘semi-pro’ option remain unchanged from the earlier announcement. Swimmers can miss up to three matches during the regular season and one during the playoffs, and face no restrictions in regards to racing in outside commercial competitions (save for the date restrictions, see below).
However, they will not receive a base salary, but will be eligible for all of the same racing bonuses and prize money that the ‘pro’ is.
The ISL has provided specific dates where ‘semi-pro’ swimmers can race in external competitions. If a swimmer’s club qualifies for the Grand Final, they’ll be eligible to race in outside competitions on the following dates:
- July 4-August 19, 2022
- October 8-21, 2022
- December 5-26, 2022
If the swimmer’s club makes the playoffs but misses the final, only the first two dates apply. If their club misses the playoffs, only the first date applies.