Update: as of Thursday morning, the ISL has deleted the comment.
On Tuesday, the International Swimming League said in an Instagram comment that they would return in 2023 with a fourth competition season. This comment came under a post of an interview with Dutch swimmer Arno Kamminga.
“ISL Season 4 is coming back in 2023! Stay tuned!🙌” the ISL wrote.
Season 4 of the ISL was originally supposed to take place in 2022, but it got cancelled in March 2022 due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This conflict was significant to the ISL because the league’s $20 million+ annual budget has almost been entirely funded by Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorshin, and many of the league’s workers reside in Ukraine.
Up until the time the aforementioned Instagram comment was posted, the ISL had not made any public announcement regarding the status of their league but continued to post old race videos on social media platforms Instagram and Twitter.
This year, the ISL has gone through several technical changes. In April 2022, just two weeks after season 4’s cancellation, Ben Allen and Matt Dawe were appointed as the league commissioner and CEO respectively. There were also plans for season 4 to expand from having 18 to 24 matches, as well as the options for athletes to be considered “pro” (competing in all matches in exchange for more prize money) and “semi-pro”.
Paying athletes and vendors on time has been an ongoing issue for the league, even before the Russian invasion disrupted funding and cash flow. Sources close to the league (but not actual league staff) have recently told SwimSwam that the ISL thinks they have a plan in place to pay money still owed to swimmers from the 2021 season.