The International Swimming League (ISL) has today announced the launch of what they call a ‘Solidarity Programme’ for athletes, beginning on September 1st this year.
The programme will contain two things; First, all athletes who have a contract (or will sign a contract) with any of the ISL clubs will receive a set amount of money per month, starting from September 1st 2020 – July 1st 2021.
Second, a training block and tournament are to take place from October 14th-November 17th 2020, where athletes and coaches will be hosted in a world-class facility (yet to be announced) for the period of 4-5 weeks.
The ISL have said that “financial grant shall assist the swimmers during these challenging times to
prepare for major events in 2021 and a full ISL season in 2021/22”.
It appears that this new programme and event may be acting as an alternative to the 27-meet season 2 which was planned to start in September. The ISL have said that; “Our program for 2020-2021 takes into consideration feedback from our athletes and coaches and respects the need for a full training preparation before summer 2021”.
However, there has been no definitive confirmation on the fate of season 2. As per the statement, it is worth noting that the ISL have referred to season 2 as being “a full ISL season in 2021/2022.”
When pressed for more details about how this will impact recruiting, or the remainder of the season, an ISL spokesperson says that none are available. The Australian is reporting that 320 athletes will receive $1500 (USD) each under the program, and that league founder Konstantin Grigorishin has proposed Southeast Queensland as a possible location for the camp.
The postponement of the Olympic Games to next year has certainly thrown a spanner in the works for the ISL, disrupting their plans to hold a full 27-meet season over the course of 6+ months (September 2020-Spring 2021).
Season 1 vs Season 2:
The first ISL season took place across three months (Oct-Dec) last year and saw 8 teams (4 European, 4 American) competing. In total, $2,580,400 was awarded in prize money to the 256 athletes that competed during the first season, with Sarah Sjostrom the biggest earner with $139,700.
In season 2, the league expanded to 10 teams with the introduction of a Tokyo-based team (yet to be named) and the Toronto Titans. It is also set to increase to a whopping 27 meets, which founder of the league, Konstantin Grigorishin, announced last November.
As you all already know, the entire world is going through undeniable challenges in relation to COVID- 19 with the ISL being no exception.
We believe the athletes of ISL are its main asset and considers all of them as partners. To acknowledge this, we have decided to provide support for our athletes in 2020-2021 by implementing the ‘ISL Solidarity Program’ during which the ISL will organize a radical swimming event unprecedented in swimming history.
Through the ISL Solidarity Program each athlete that has signed or will sign a contract with an ISL Club will receive an equal amount of money per month, starting 1st September 2020 until 1st July 2021. This financial grant shall assist the swimmers during these challenging times to prepare for major events in 2021 and a full ISL season in 2021/22.
We strongly believe that the International Swimming League is the future of competitive swimming, and our program for 2020-2021 takes into consideration feedback from our athletes and coaches and respects the need for a full training preparation before summer 2021.
As part of our initiative, ISL will organize later in 2020 an innovative training and competition experience for athletes and coaches for a duration of 4-5 weeks. We propose to host all athletes in one location in a world-class facility and cover all associated expenses. All athletes involved will have the opportunity to be accompanied by their home coach.
During this period, scheduled from 14 October to 17 November, ISL will organize a commercial tournament in its revolutionary club format and add an exciting new reality concept to the production. The global exposure of this event will furthermore enhance the athletes’ profiles and increase the popularity of our sport. We strongly believe that this event, never before seen in swimming history, will serve as a demonstration of solidarity, humanity and unity of the swimming community to the entire world.
We are all in this together, ISL