2020 ISL Match 5 – Day 1 Live Recap


This match 5 is set to be one of the most tightly contested among the top teams, with London Roar, Tokyo Frog Kings and LA Current all within our top 5 teams in the Week 2 Power Ranks.

But DC Trident is armed with the likes of Zach Apple, Jacob Pebley, Amy Bilquist to help rise up the ranks in Budapest over the next two days.

Recap: Retta Race, Analysis: Jared Anderson


  • DC Trident – Lanes 1 & 2
  • London Roar – Lanes 3 & 4
  • LA Current – 5 & 6
  • Tokyo Frog Kings – 7 & 8



Match #3 MVP Beryl Gastaldello is a new addition to this event after LA used two brand-new swimmers this time around, with Gastaldello replacing Helena Gasson while Tetzloff took over for Kendyl Stewart.

Gastaldello showed off her versatility with a huge 55.84 win. That’s the top time in the league so far this year and just a half-second off of Kelsi Dahlia’s ISL record. LA went 1-3 for an early scoring punch in Aly Tetzloff‘s first individual swim of the year and just her second individual swim in ISL history. London’s Marie Wattel (who won this race in London’s season opener) was second and two tenths faster than her season-best. But London also took 8th with O’Connor, and her points were jackpotted away.

DC Trident was relatively weak in this event, picking up just 5 points between 6th and 7th places.


Tom Shields improves to 3-for-3 in 100 fly wins this year. He also improves his own league-leading time while smashing the ISL record held by Caeleb Dressel at 49.10. Shields has been an absolute rock for the Current, and he has the LA franchise out in the lead, searching for their second team win of the season.

London’s group has shown good depth in the fly – they were 3-4 in the opening match and improved to 2-3 today while swapping in Vini Lanza for Mikhail Vekovishchev. For Kusch, his 49.67 in second place makes him the third-best swimmer in the ISL so far this year behind only Shields and Dressel.

Japan’s national record holder Kawamoto was in the pool for the Tokyo Frog Kings, posting a time of 50.34, about a second off his lifetime best of 49.54 set before his ISL team arrived in Budapest. He was 49.88 in the first match.

DC had both of their entrants get jackpotted here, as it’s already been a rough outing for DC in a pretty stacked team field.


DC’s Bilquist won this race in the season opener, but lost to Cali’s Beata Nelson last week. Bilquist gets sweet revenge today, though, winning in a landslide and taking over the #1 time in the ISL for the season. Bilquist was .02 seconds faster than Nelson was last week, saying in her post-race interview that she focused on the back half of the race more this time around.

London’s Toussaint was second to Bilquist for the second-straight meet. She was a full second faster than she swam in week 1, showing some nice improvement over the bye week. Meanwhile Rio Shirai was third again – she took third in Tokyo’s season opener and was a tick faster for the same place today.

One bad blow for LA: Deloof was only 4th and Sargent missed the cutoff time while also getting jackpotted, so she’ll actually lose a point.


League MVP leader Ryan Murphy was not going to be beaten here. Murphy has been on fire for LA, almost unbeatable in the bacsktrokes. Here, he avenges a season-opening loss to Radoslaw Kawecki, overtaking Kawecki for the ISL record by two tenths of a second. Murphy was almost a half-second faster than he’s been so far this season.
Murphy did jackpot two swimmers, but one was his teammate Christou in 7th. The Current narrowly lead in team points, though it’s very early still.

Meanwhile Tokyo’s Irie moves to #3 in the league so far this year with a 1:49.18. That’s four tenths faster than he went in Tokyo’s opener last week. The Frog Kings also took 5th with Thormeyer – those two were 2nd and 3rd to Murphy last week, so the addition of London and DC (with strong backstroke groups) has really made this event discipline deep and unpredictable across the board this week.


Tokyo’s duo of Shimizu and Aoki went out fast, but like last week, Aoki fell off hard in the final 50. Shimizu was able to hold off a charging Lazor, though, and was three tenths faster than she was last week. Shimizu’s 2:18.88 improves her standing as the 5th-best performer in the ISL so far this year.

Lazor actually sits 4th in the ISL this year. She was two tenths off her season-best in taking second here, though she closed extremely hard. It’s a good event for London in 2nd and 4th. They went 1-3 in their opener.

We’ve seen fewer jackpots so far this meet, and there were no jackpot steals in this event. That’s good for LA in an event where they’re relatively weak, but at least get to put some points on the board.
It’s the tight battle we expected on a team level. LA leads London by just two points, with Tokyo a single point behind London in third. DC is 20 back of Tokyo.


LA’s Licon came through with a very key victory for the Current, locked in a brutal team battle. It’s Licon’s first-ever ISL win, and a breakthrough after he was second in the Current’s week 1 match. Licon improves his season-best by a few hundredths, and he’ll remain the #5 swimmer in the ISL this season in the 200 breast.

This looked like a real strength for London after a 1-2 finish in their opener. But they were a disappointing 2-6 this time around. Both Prigoda and Peaty were actually a tick faster than they were in week 1, but we’re seeing just how weak that match #2 field was.

Tokyo’s Koseki ties for second along with Prigoda, and Sato (second last week) wound up fourth in a good event for Tokyo.


The addition of Freya Anderson was huge for London. The Roar were 3.5 seconds faster this week than they were in week 1, and the only changes were shuffling the order and swapping in Anderson for Siobhan-Marie O’Connor. Anderson responded with a massive 51.5 relay split as London takes over the #1 time in the league this year.

That speaks to London’s incredible freestyle strength that they lead the league, even after losing arguably their top three sprinters with Australia mostly pulled out of the league. Marie Wattel was 51.7 on the anchor, and Anna Hopkin led off in 52.0 for a strong London group. Adding Anderson should also boost London’s medley relay, which was just two tenths behind LA in the season standings heading into today.

LA was second, with Abbey Weitzeil doing her best heroics on the anchor leg. A blazing 51.0 split for Weitzeil almost ran down Wattel, and LA was two seconds faster than their previous season-best. London and LA now sit 1-2 in the ISL ranks for the season, besting Energy Standard’s former league-leading time by almost a full second each.
LA still leads, but only by two and a half points over London. Tokyo is five back of London as the team battle remains a thriller.


Morozov was almost unbeatable in the 50 free last year, but LA’s Gkolomeev pulled off a major upset here. Gkolomeev becomes just the 5th man in the ISL this year to break 21 seconds, and he passes up Morozov by .01 for the #4 time in the league this year. His winning time also checks-in as a new Greek national record.

Tokyo was still 2-3, and with no jackpots, the swing between 1st and 2nd isn’t as severe as we’ve seen it in other meets. Still, it throws a wrinkle into Tokyo’s strategy moving forward – if they’re able to win the men’s medley, will they still choose to swim the skins in freestyle, even after Morozov’s loss here by two tenths?

It was a rough event for London, which has an elite women’s sprint group but a struggling men’s one. They were 7th and 8th for a second consecutive week despite swapping out Leveaux for Kusch.


Gastaldello gets her second win of the day, and this one comes with a jackpot of Tokyo’s 8th-placer Sakai. This one probably had a lot to do with the women’s free relay, which happened just minutes earlier. LA was able to hold Gastaldello off of that relay, and with some relative rest over the field, she took off and won by a dominant three-tenths margin. Gastaldello was three one-hundredths faster than her season-best, breaking a tie with Weitzeil for 4th in the ISL this season.

Coming off of the two fastest relay splits of the fields, Anderson and Weitzeil were second and third, both going 24.0.
DC’s duo of Geer and Kennedy held their own – they were 4-5 in the season opener, but just 4-8 last week, so returning to a 4-5 finish is a success for DC. Tokyo’s women are very weak in the sprints, and they go 7-8 here with Sakai getting jackpotted.

MEN’S  200 IM

The big story here was the absence of Andrew Seliskar for LA. He’s the third-best 200 IMer in the ISL this year, and was originally on today’s start lists. But LA swapped him out late for Prenot, and LA wound up just 5th and 6th.

London took full advantage. Andreas Vazaios won a tight race with Tokyo’s Kosuke Hagino, and the two move to #1 and #2 in the league for the year, displacing former leader Philip Heintz (1:52.78) by narrow margins. And in his absence, Seliskar moves all the way from 3rd to 5th in the league this year.

London was also fourth with Scott, and they’ll move to 10.5 behind LA for the points lead.
Yet again, we have no jackpots – that’s been a theme of today. It helps Tokyo and DC, which had the 7th- and 8th-placers, respectively.


Tokyo’s Ohashi gets her second ISL win in this event, tying Melanie Margalis in 200 IM wins. Ohashi was a tenth slower than last week, but still sits #2 in the ISL this season behind Margalis. She won easily here, with a second margin.

Points will be pretty spread out among the teams, and the no-jackpot theme continues in this match. The LA lead is cut down to 8.5, but the real riser here is Tokyo, which rode the win to within 8 points of London for second.


It’s been tough to crack 26 so far this year in the men’s 50 breast. Peaty is awfully close at 26.10, but he was actually a few hundredths slower than he was in week 1.

London is led by its breaststrokers, and Peaty and Prigoda went 1-3 here after a slightly disappointing 200 breast. Peaty also adds a jackpot of DC’s McHugh as London is starting to creep up on LA in team points. Tokyo also used their star sprinter Morozov here, but he was only fourth among a field of mostly breaststroke specialists.


The breaststrokes have been a massive swing for London. Atkinson gives the Roar their second consecutive win and second consecutive 1-3 finish. Her jackpot of LA’s Smith was the key piece to vault London into their first points lead of the day, passing up the Current. Atkinson was actually four tenths slower than last week, but looked very strong.

If London wins the medley relay, breaststroke might be their skin race selection, though backstroke could be a possibility as well. We’ll see how their 50 backstrokers look in the very next session today.


We’re getting exactly the kind of team battle we’d hoped for – LA erased an 11.5-point London lead here, with the Current winning this relay for the second time in three meets.

At 3:06.24, LA was about a half-second slower than their season-best, but it was more about the race than the time at this point. All four legs were between 46.4 and 46.7 for LA, showing remarkable consistency. Maxime Rooney’s 46.7 leadoff was probably the best swim, but Tom Shields was 46.4 from a flying start swimming second. LA was also third in a huge points swing, and their B relay had a pair of 46-high splits.

London took second, with a 46.5 from flyer Marius Kusch.

DC’s Zach Apple was predictably good on the leadoff leg. He was 46.22, not quite in line with his ISL-leading 45.7, but still the best leadoff leg in the field.

LA has taken a half-point lead over London at this point, and it’s looking more and more like the medley relays will be huge swings, both in relay points and in setting up tomorrow’s mega-point skin races.


London’s Kira Toussaint came through with a key win here, jackpotting three swimmers in the biggest jackpot we’ve seen so far today. That’s gigantic for London, fighting back against the Current in team points. Toussaint was 25.96 – not a season-best, but she remains one of just two swimmers in the league to break 26 so far this season. She won by half a second over DC’s Linnea Mack.

Mack beat Toussaint in match #2, though fellow London Roar backstroker Maria Kameneva surged past both to win the skins. The women’s backstrokes look pretty unpredictable in this meet, and one piece of intrigue will be whether any team here feels confident enough in projecting this field to pick backstroke for the skin race tomorrow. It’s a strength for a number of teams in this match, but a deep enough field to not be a smash play for anyone.


Ryan Murphy was undefeated in this event for LA so far this year, but London’s Guilherme Guido put a stop to that as the Roar are absolutely surging. Guido improves his season-best by two one-hundredths, though his teammate Diener actually remains the league leader at 22.76. London was 1-4 with Guido winning and Diener fourth. Much like the women’s 50 back, this is a strong event for arguably all four teams, and that makes it surprisingly unpredictable.

DC got a great swim from Nikolaev, who passed up league leader Diener to take third. Guido jackpotted the bottom three finishers – one from each opposing team.

There’s also some team strategy going on here. Tokyo chose not to use Ryosuke Irie here, probably loading up for the all-important medley relay later in this session. The Frog Kings were stung badly in this event, scoring just four points and getting jackpotted in eighth. But if they’re able to win the medley relay, the point tradeoff will be worth it. Tokyo has been third all day, and it’s probably worth it for them to gamble for a huge win rather than taking moderate points in the backstroke here.


We mentioned Tokyo’s strategy of trying to finish off the session with a bang. They pulled off a really key 1-2 here as the Frog Kings hope to build some major momentum in the eleventh hour of today’s sessions.

Leah Smith won the 400 free for a second-straight meet. She’s undefeated in that event so far this season. Smith went four tenths faster today and is on the cusp of a sub-4:00 swim. Just three women in the league this year have gone under four minutes, and Smith sits 4th in league rankings for the season.

Chihiro Igarashi was second, about four seconds back of a dominant Smith swim. And Tokyo piled up three points in jackpots, as they’ll move to 19.5 points behind LA for second place.

London leads after a huge run through the backstrokes. The Roar’s Aimee Willmott was third, and London leads LA by 30.5 in a battle for the lead that has suddenly spread out.


DC has quietly been awesome in the men’s 400 free. Grothe won the season opener, and he and Stjepanovic were 2-3 in week 2.  They tie for the 1-2 here in a statement swim for DC, who are outmatched in this specific field, but still trying to build some momentum as they’re probably one of four teams battling for the final two postseason berths.
Grothe is 2nd in the league in this event so far this year, but was about two seconds off his best here.

Tokyo has had a nice run through the 400s, and Matsumoto was third here for the second straight week.
London swam an entirely new lineup, with new additions Dean and Guy. But the early returns were mixed, as those two were only 5th and 6th.

LA didn’t have Andrew Seliskar here – he hasn’t competed yet today and has been a glaring absence for the Current. Without him, LA’s Hvas missed the cutoff time by just .07 seconds and lost a point for the Current. Heading into the relays, London leads by 33.5 over LA, and Tokyo is now just 15.5 behind the Current for second.


The addition of Freya Anderson has been key for London, but this relay was just plain better all-around than we saw in week 1. (We noted pre-meet that most teams seemed to get better in the relays in their second meet, whether that’s through lineup adjustments or more comfortability on relay exchanges). Anderson was a monster 51.0 on the anchor leg, but London already had the race well in hand by that point.

Marie Wattel was much faster than her split in week 1, going 55.7 as London’s back half absolutely crushed the field. Kira Toussaint had the field’s best backstroke split at 56.65 and Alia Atkinson was 1:04.42.

That time for London takes over as the #1 swim in the ISL this year, even knocking off the incredible Cali Condors, who have never lost this relay in ISL history. We get to see Cali vs London in week 4, and this relay might be the marquee matchup of that meet.

LA’s Gorbenko false started badly on the breaststroke leg, and that’s a massive point swing for the Current, who go from a likely 14 points to -4 on that relay. They’ve now dropped behind Tokyo, and that event swing might have just sealed things for London.


LA has not lost this men’s medley relay yet this year. But London had also won its only meet this year. Those two stayed pretty close throughout the race, but LA’s men’s relays have been just too good to beat.

The Current improve their league-leading time by almost a second and break the ISL record in this event. They had the field’s best fly split, a wicked 48.30 from Shields, plus a 45.8 anchor leg from Rooney.

London held an early lead on a 49.50 backstroke swim from Guilherme Guido. That takes over the #1 spot in the league in the 100 back. Ryan Murphy previously led the league, but he was only a disappointing 50.2 for LA on this relay and was third among backstrokers.

London got a strong 56.3 on breaststroke from Adam Peaty and had the field’s best anchor split – a Duncan Scott 45.7 as he fought valiantly to run down Rooney. London’s 3:21.59 is just a tenth off the old ISL record and sits #2 in the league this year.

This race saw the top three teams in the men’s medley across the entire ISL season. Tokyo’s 3:22.62 was two tenths better than their season-opening swim, which previously sat second in the league. Tokyo got a field-best 56.3 from Yasuhiro Koseki on breast and a 46.4 from anchor Vladimir Morozov.

The DQ in the last event was brutal for LA, but they’ll at least get to pick the men’s skins. In their past two medley relay victories, they’ve gone to Murphy in backstroke. But locked in a tight battle with London, LA might have to pick elsewhere, because even if Murphy can win again, London is likely to advance two men to at least the semifinal and even out the points.

It’s worth noting that LA won the 50 free with Kristian Gkolomeev, and London was 7th and 8th in that event. If the Current feel OK about Gkolomeev and perhaps Maxime Rooney, they could opt for freestyle to expose London’s biggest weakness, while butterfly could be in play just based on how well Shields is swimming. (London was 2nd and 3rd in the 100 fly today, so it’s still a strong spot for them, though).


  1. London Roar – 283.5
  2. LA Current – 218.0
  3. Tokyo Frog Kings – 214.5
  4. DC Trident – 163.0

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2 years ago

if LAC wants to distance themselves to secure being 2nd, they should still pick Back for Men’s skin which TOK is not that strong. TOK was 2nd and 3 in 50 free. If Morozov is back to his 2019 ISL self… 50 free skin will benefit TOK more

Reply to  Spectatorn
2 years ago

They already picked fly.

Last edited 2 years ago by Troyy
Reply to  Troyy
2 years ago


2 years ago

it is incredible that Guido’s backstroke leg is 0.7s faster than Murphy, even more incredible that Shields is almost 1.7s faster in fly!!!

2 years ago

I really appreciate SwimSwam getting the result and post with the update. It is great for knowing which swimmer is swimming light out time!

Just a suggestion for SwimSwam – even though many may not like scoring format of ISL, I think it is more exciting for SS Live Update followers to see team scores as the match progress, instead of wait until the end of the day to see team score. Especially for a mach like today, when every team has some wins and specialties that can grab big points in one race, or how the dq of LAC’s relay may hold them back in team standing…

I feel like this is a bit like watching NCAA championship… Read more »

Reply to  Spectatorn
2 years ago

Thanks for the feedback, we’ll see what we can do!

Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

I second this. SS has really done such a great job in telling the story of the whole event – Not just the individual race, but where it stands against the other stories unfolding at both the macro and micro – but if we could then also see that Updated score after the event it would just give that last little click of context and make the whole thing really sing.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

thanks! and Thanks for all the good work in reporting swimming events around the world despite the pandemic!

2 years ago

It would be cool if the team bottom of the points table on day1 of each match got to pick the skins on day 2. The skins always seems to just help the winning team win by more, they never seem to facilitate a comeback.

2 years ago

I hope Seliskar is ok. Any word on why he didn’t swim?

Reply to  Andysup
2 years ago

We’ve asked and the club has declined to comment on the record.

There have been some GI issues reported within many teams within the ‘bubble.’ Not believed to be COVID related.

2 years ago

Hopkin improved a lot since the last match and Anderson turning up is great to see

2 years ago

Apparently Minakov Popped at 47.57 in Russia in the 100free LC today

2 years ago

Junior WR ALERT: Minakov 47,57 100 free!

Last edited 2 years ago by Rafael

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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