International Swimming League athletes will make $1500 a month for a ten-month period, with all athletes earning the same base salary.
ISL officials confirmed that pay structure in a press conference today. That ultimately sets athlete salaries at $15,000 per swimmer for the 2020 season. Athletes will earn $1500 a month starting in September of 2020 and ending in June of 2021.
Last year, each team had a $150,000 salary cap, sources tell SwimSwam, but athletes could earn up to $25,000. That suggests that while the top athletes could be seeing base salaries drop this year, the vast majority of ISL athletes should see major pay increases.
The base salaries also don’t include pay to ISL ambassadors, which went above base salary pay for ambassadors last year.
The base salaries also don’t include prize money, which is where the top-level athletes really earn their livings. Last year, Sarah Sjostrom led all swimmers with $139,700 in prize money alone across the series. She was by far the biggest earner, with Caeleb Dressel sitting second at $98,700.
Five athletes earned more than $50,000 in prize money. 26 athletes earned more than $25,000. And based on last year’s prize money system, 60 athletes earned more in prize money than this year’s base salary total of $15,000.
The prize money is heavily weighted to the most successful teams. The top 14 earners all came from teams that competed in the league finale in Las Vegas. The top earner on a team that didn’t qualify for the finale was Vladimir Morozov at $34,400.