ISL Protection Lists: London’s Aussies Return, LA Gets Baker & Held Back

The London Roar will have the option to retain most of their star Australians who sat out last season. The LA Current also brought back two 2019 standouts in Kathleen Baker and Ryan Held for their pool of potential retainees.

What does the ‘Protected List’ Mean?

This week, the ISL will be announcing each team’s “protected” athletes: effectively, the pool from which each team will be retaining athletes as part of the draft process. To be clear: these are not the lists of athletes that a team will protect; rather, it is the group from which the team will choose up to 15 to protect, and from which fans will pick 1 additional swimmer to protect.

That means the new information will tell us two big things: which athletes have declined or refused to return to their former teams (which is something the league is, apparently, allowing), and which athletes are being given special exceptions after skipping the 2020 season and being allowed to return to their 2019 teams. Also excluded are athletes who didn’t register for the 2021 ISL season.


  • On June 21, teams will announce the first 5 athletes that they will retain from their 2021 rosters.
  • On June 28, teams will announce up to 10 additional athletes that they will retain from their 2021 rosters. After that, there will be a public vote for a 16th athlete that each team will retain from their 2021 rosters.
  • On June 29, teams will draft the remainder of their rosters, with the lowest finishing teams from last year’s season getting advantageous draft positions.
  • Click here to read a more detailed description of the draft.

This group of “protected” athletes are not yet actually retained. Today’s lists show the athletes who have “confirmed their commitment to remain on their current team if selected by the team’s General Manager or if elected by the fans online, during the ISL Draft.” That means teams can essentially choose to retain athletes from these lists.

An athlete who doesn’t agree to stay with their team from last season will enter the draft pool as a rookie. Unretained athletes from this list will enter the draft pool as a veteran.

We also ran through each team’s roster in the spring for a very early look at who each team should try to retain. You can read that story below:

London Roar Protected Swimmers

Adam Peaty
Alex Graham
Alia Atkinson
Andreas Vazaios
Anna Hopkin
Annie Lazor
Bronte Campbell
Cate Campbell
Christian Diener
Darragh Greene
Duncan Scott
Elliot Clogg
Emily Large
Emma Mckeon
Freya Anderson
Guido Guilherme
Holly Barratt
Holly Hibbott
James Guy
Kathleen Dawson
Katsumi Nakamura
Kira Toussaint
Kirill Prigoda
Kyle Chalmers
Luke Greenbank
Maria Kameneva
Marie Wattel
Marius Kusch
Matthew Wilson
Mikhail Vekovischev
Minna Atherton
Sydney Pickrem
Tom Dean
Vini Lanza


  • London was able to retain essentially all of its stars, including those who did not compete last year. The sizable group of Australians who didn’t make the trip to the Budapest bubble last year (Emma McKeon, Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell, Minna Athertoneven Kyle Chalmers who withdrew due to injury, not due to travel restrictions) pretty much all show up on this protected list, and should earn a lot of the early retention spots.
  • A handful of former London swimmers are not registered for the league this year and don’t appear on this list: Elijah Winnington, Harriet West, and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor among them.

LA Current Protected Swimmers

Abbey Weitzeil
Ali Deloof
Aly Tetzolff
Alyssa Marsh
Anastasia Gorbenko
Andi Murez
Andrew Seliskar
Apostolos Christou
Beryl Gastaldello
Dylan Carter
Felipe Franca Silva
Fernando Scheffer
Helena Gasson
Jacob Heidtmann
Josh Prenot
Julia Sebastian
Kathleen Baker
Katie Mclaughlin
Kierra Smith
Kristian Gkolomeev
Madison Wilson
Marco Ferreira
Maxime Rooney
Mikayla Sargent
Ryan Held
Ryan Murphy
Santiago Grassi
Tom Shields
Tomoe Hvas
Will Licon


  • The biggest thing we learn from this LA Current list is that athletes who competed in 2019, but were never announced to a roster in 2020, are eligible to be retained by their 2019 team. Kathleen Baker and Ryan Held were pretty key scorers in 2019, but did not compete in the league in 2020. They are in the LA Current’s protection pool, suggesting that 2019 ISL competitors who skipped the 2020 season will be part of the roster retention process.
  • A few key names from the 2020 LA Current roster are not registered for the 2021 ISL season: Claire Rasmus, Kendyl Stewart, Ella Eastin (recently retired) and Zane Waddell, who didn’t compete in 2020 and retired shortly after the season.

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1 month ago

Maria Kemeneeva is in the projected list and then mentioned she is not on the projected list?

Reply to  Niall
1 month ago


1 month ago

I believe Ali DeLoof was listed on the draft list. She was just listed as Alexandra

1 month ago

Some very interesting retention questions posed for LON; especially measuring up key performers from 2019 (who were to all intents and purposes leant on by their natl federation in 2020) up against those who filled these or other gaps in 2020.

Of the AUS contingent; McKeon is close to your first pick. C1, Chalmers and Graham are the other main candidates.

Would have to think Pickrem another near cert and would be highly surprised if they don’t lock-in Atkinson

Of the Brits; Peaty is a no-brainer, likewise Scott and probably Dean and Anderson.

The last 5 spots in the 15 will largely be judgement calls in various strokes as to who offers the most versatility. Hence at least one will… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

With woman’s backstroke they also should consider keeping Dawson based on how on fire and consistent she’s been lately.

Reply to  Hannah
1 month ago

Dawson isn’t great on her starts and underwaters, it cost her the 50 Back Gold at Europeans to Toussaint who was excellent in ISL last season and has carried it over to this year, I think they should take Toussaint but also either Atherton or Dawson depending on what Atherton does at Aussie Trials

Reply to  maybe?
1 month ago

Certainly an oversight on my part, particularly given Dawson’s recent LCM form. Suspect its a case like the men that one of the backstroke trio is likely to miss the cut …… and its not quite clear which one.

Reply to  maybe?
1 month ago

Atherton is the 100 wr holder in short course, 3rd all time 200 short course, has a strong 50, strong underwaters and she’s an asset on the freestyle relays she’s a much stronger pick then Dawson and toussaint imo

Last edited 1 month ago by Swimmer
Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

I would Take:
1. Mckeon
2. Peaty
3. Cate Campbell
4. Scott
5. Chalmers
6. Pickrem
7. Anderson
8. Atkinson
9. Toussaint
10. Wattel
11. Lazor
12. Diener ( most versatile of the 3 Backstroke Boys)
12. Dean/Graham ( Both excellent 200 and 400 Freestylers but Dean’s 400IM from last year should mean he retains his spot)
13. Atherton/Dawson ( Depends on what Atherton does at Aussie Trials but right now I would take Dawson)
14. Guy/ Vazaios / Lanza – (All 3 Decent Flyers but I think Vazaios’ IM will mean he retains his spot)
15. Diener/ Greenbank/ Prigoda – with all other… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by maybe?
Reply to  maybe?
1 month ago

Concur with 1-8, 10-12.

Would probably have Dawson as the more “secure” female backstroke selection. Will agree that Atherton’s AUS Trials may decide her fate. Toussaint was superb over 50 in ISL2 but was found wanting over longer distances.

Agree the Dean/Graham call will be a tight one. Graham maybe has the edge at 100, Dean over longer trips.

None of the Guy/Lanza/Vazaios really contributed much over both seasons; either in fly or IM. Do you actually reserve a spot for those who have essentially been “lane fillers”, often Jackpot fodder ?

Indeed the weakness at your 14 may allow a little freedom either at 12 (Dean/Graham) or 15 (Guido/Greenbank/Prigoda). Like you, I would lean towards Prigoda. Guido was… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

Just realised I put 12. Twice so I don’t think prigoda makes the team

Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

On the backstroke debate I think Kira is probably more valuable. The skins seem to pretty much be the decider in most matches, so retaining someone who’s great on the 50/100 short course has got to be a priority over someone who’s not as great on starts/turns but might be able to finish off a 200. That said… Dawson has improved so much in the last few months who knows where her short course swimming could be?!

Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

Toussaint beat Dawson in every single 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke event they raced in together in the last season of ISL, and scored significantly more points overall (179 points – 17th, compared to 47 points – 166th). I know Dawson has had an incredible long course season so far, and would likely improve in the next ISL season. However, if I was Mel Marshall, I would still pick Toussaint as my first choice female backstroker

Reply to  kromo08
1 month ago

True …… if you’re going to use solely ISL performance as a measuring stick; other than her 50 WR; Toussaint was well below Atherton’s 2019 ISL times particularly over 100 and 200. As for Littlefin’s skins argument; there is certainly some validity but I’m not sure she’s a “bankable” proposition ala King/Dressel given the (likely) strong competition let alone the format.

In all honesty, its a decision I’m glad I’m not having to make as the arguments/counterarguments for all 3 are powerful. In any case, it may/may not be simplified over the next 2 weeks with regards to Atherton.

1 month ago

For an equal split of M/F as well as skins and strokes id go:
6:Vekovishev/ Lanza
7:Greenbank/ Diener
Wildcard: Wattel

Reply to  Niall
1 month ago

McKeon is more valuable than Campbell.

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

I said them both? In no particular order.

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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