ISL Season MVP Update after Day 1 at Las Vegas Championship Meet


  • Friday, December 20 – Saturday, December 21, 2019
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM Local Time (U.S. Pacific Time)
  • Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino – Las Vegas, NV
  • Short Course Meters (SCM) format
  • Top 4 qualifying franchises: Energy Standard, London Roar, LA Current, Cali Condors
  • Live Stream (ESPN3)
  • Day 1 results

Besides the team battle (which comes with a $10,000 award for each member of the winning squad), a pair of financially-rewarding individual battles are raging this weekend in Las Vegas at the International Swimming League finale.

The final match MVP will receive a $10,000 bonus, and the points from this match will be added to the rest of the meet to determine the season MVP winner, who will receive a $50,000 bonus. MVP points for this finale are double what they’ve been for every other meet, which is pretty much the only reason why Sarah Sjostrom‘s claim to that title is in doubt.

It’s no surprise that, after day 1, Caeleb Dressel of the Cali Condors is leading the MVP chase. He has 52 MVP points to lead all scorers. The surprise for 2nd is his Cali Condors teammate Nic Fink, who won both the 50 and 200 breaststroke and picked up 5 relay points as well. Lilly King, the other day 1 double winner, is ranked 3rd.

Top 10 Meet MVP after Day 1:

  1. Caeleb Dressel, Cali Condors – 52
  2. Nic Fink, Cali Condors – 41
  3. Sarah Sjostrom, Energy Standard – 37
  4. Lilly King, Cali Condors – 36
  5. (TIE) Florent Manaudou, Energy Standard/Olivia Smoliga, Cali Condors – 32
  6. Ryan Murphy, LA Current – 31
  7. (TIE) Chad le Clos, Energy Standard/Duncan Scott, London Roar – 29
  8. (TIE) Kyle Chalmers, London Roar/Beryl Gastaldello, LA Current – 28

In the season-long battle, things are getting very interesting. Realistically, only Dressel and Sarah Sjostrom are in contention after day 1 – all of the other possible contenders didn’t do well enough for a hope at winning (barring something ridiculous on day 2).

Dressel adding the 50 breaststroke to his lineup was ultimately not a great result for his team after he finished 7th on the back end of back-to-back swims. For the purposes of the season MVP scoring, however, that might be what keeps him in contention – he picked up 4 MVP points from that result

Top 5 Season MVP after Day 1:

1 Sarah Sjostrom Energy Standard 188.5 Yes
2 Caeleb Dressel Cali Condors 171 Yes
3 Chad Le Clos Energy Standard 161 Yes
4 Emma McKeon London Roar 150 Yes
5 Olivia Smoliga Cali Condors 149.5 Yes

Chad le Clos and Emma McKeon have really swum their way out of contention – the gap to Sjostrom is too big. Dressel, meanwhile, has swum his way into contention – aided by a 4th-place finish from Sjostrom in the 100 fly. If Sjostrom had won that 100 fly, she probably could have socked this title away.

The ultimate difference will probably come down to the skins race on Saturday. If one of the two doesn’t make the final and the other wins, that will crush the chances of the former. The gap in skins scoring is huge (too big in this author’s opinion, generally), and so, for example, the difference between winning the Las Vegas skins race and placing 3rd is 15 points in the Season MVP points tally. That’s almost the whole gap between the two at the moment.

All of this keeping in mind that Dressel has only swum 2 previous ISL meets, versus 3 for Sjostrom.

If Dressel holds his lineup from prior meets, he’ll have the 100 free, 50 fly, mixed 400 free relay, and skins race to swim on Saturday. Sjostrom would also have the 100 free, 50 fly, and skins races if she holds her lineup, but Energy Standard hasn’t been using her on the mixed 400 free relay (to let her rest for skins).

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1 year ago

So what Sjostrom is needed actually is good fifties: making final in skins, and winning 50 fly. Quite doable.

1 year ago

It was a great meet today. Exciting from the very first race. The Condors brought their “A” game. Except Townley.
It may not be enough to win, but it sure makes for great racing.

Reply to  run-dmc
1 year ago

Townley is still recovering from his 500 at NCs

Reply to  run-dmc
1 year ago

yes, Hass’s 200 free was hard to watch – 2nd at 100, 3rd at 150 and then faded to 6th… was hoping a good swim from him to hold off the Roar

Reply to  spectatorn
1 year ago

The rest of Cali Condors is holding off London Roar just fine.

Reply to  run-dmc
1 year ago

Don’t forget Andrew Wilson

1 year ago

Who is funding this league? If the attendance for the Vegas is in the hundreds that isn’t enough to rent the event center, let alone construct that pool.

Surprised more people from Europe didn’t travel to this. Vegas is a fun place Xmas / New years time
I don’t see this league lasting long or it will shift to having more meets in Europe.

Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

The question isn’t how many spectators were on the stands but how many watched on tv and online.

Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

Why would people from a different continent travel to Vegas for this if Americans won’t even get off their butts and go? Europeans filled the meets they hosted usually in larger venues.

Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

idk about americans but europens mostly spend christmas time at home

Sun Yangs Hammer
1 year ago

Remel saw my Sjostrom MVP prediction and is trying to prove me wrong

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

If Dressel is perfect tomorrow he will have 9+9+4.5+27 = 49.5. Since Sjostrom has advantage of 17.5 then she needs 33 points to win. If she makes final in skin race (21 points) it will be enough for her to be the third in her both individual races.
If Dressel isn’t perfect by 3 points only then Sjostrom doesn’t even need to be in the final of skin race, but needs to win both individual races.

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

For skins, rules are that winner can only get 13.5 points, not 27. Talking about individual points, not team points.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Oh, didn’t know that. Thank you.

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Please, disregard my calculations. If Dressel earned 52 points then points have been doubled: (9 +2 +9 +3.5 +2.5)*2 = 52.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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