In this weekly series, we’ll track stars of the week’s ISL meets, both established stars and rising stars.
5 STARS OF WEEK 2
Stars of the week will profile top-end swimmers who outperformed expectations for the week. Just winning events isn’t necessarily enough.
Beryl Gastaldello, LAC
The MVP of match #3 was absolutely everywhere for the LA Current, winning events in three different strokes. Gastaldello went undefeated across a set of seven events including the 50 free skin race, where she ultimately won the event, though not all three rounds.
Here’s a look at Gastaldello’s production across two weeks:
|Week 1||Week 2|
|100 free (split)||51.54||53.38|
|100 back (leadoff)||58.42|
|100 free (mixed relay split)||52.08|
|100 fly (split)||56.74|
|50 free skins||24.15/24.64/24.69|
She’s currently ranked inside the top 5 in the league this season in the 50 free, 100 free, 50 back and 50 fly and is a big reason why the LA Current are looking like one of the league’s top teams.
Marco Koch, NYB
Koch had the biggest jackpot swim in league history in match #4, crushing the 200 breast field to the tune of 30 points. His 2:00.81 blew out the field – six of his seven opponents were 6.2 or more seconds behind at the finish, and Koch came within about a second and a half of completing the elusive ‘total jackpot.’
He leads the league in the 200 breast by almost a full second, and outside of Toronto’s Anton McKee, no one else in the entire ISL has come within 2.7 seconds of Koch’s league-leading time. Koch could have a shot at both the world record (2:00.16) and a total jackpot in the future.
Kosuke Hagino, TOK
Hagino hasn’t really looked like himself this Olympic cycle, with no best times since 2016. But he’s looking very much returned to form in the early goings of this ISL season with two IM wins in match #3. Hagino holds the league lead in the 400 IM (4:02.58) and sits just three tenths out of the league lead in the 200 IM. The Frog Kings badly need someone to step up in the absence of Daiya Seto, and Hagino is doing exactly that with his incredible event range.
Emre Sakci, IRO
Sakci has been an elite sprint breaststroker so far this season, winning the 50 breast in both of his meets. This week, he won by more than half a second, crushing the league’s best time in the event. Just as impactful was his huge 56.1 split on the medley relay, outsplitting the top breaststrokers from DC and Cali by two seconds as Iron won a key relay victory over both American franchises.
Suzuka Hasegawa, TOK
The long course world junior record-holder, Hasegawa had a breakout meet for Tokyo in match #3. Her 2:03.12 in the 200 fly blew out the league’s leaders by more than two seconds. She won her event by almost three seconds, jackpotting four swimmers in her ISL debut. She also came up second in the 100 fly with a lifetime-best (56.51) and had a key 55.8 split on the women’s medley relay – the best split of any flyer in the field.
5 RISING STARS OF WEEK 2
Rising stars are lesser-known swimmers who had high-impact performances this week.
Abbey Weitzeil, LAC
Arguably the top NCAA-to-ISL prospect, Weitzeil came up big this week for the Current. She had relay splits of 51.6 and 52.3 while breaking the American record in a tie for the 50 free win (23.79). Not only that, but she was third in the 100 IM (58.59) and helped LA stack the final of the 50 free skin race while taking a 14-point jackpot in round 2. Despite ultimately finishing second in the skin race, Weiteil actually outscored Gastaldello there through that round 2 jackpot.
Kasia Wasick, NYB
Wasick was limited to relays only last week, but she’s clearly proven she needs more involvement in the Breakers lineup. Wasick bested superstar sprinter Ranomi Kromowidjojo – and not just in a touchout, but by a dominating margin of four tenths of a second. Wasick has the league’s best 50 free time this year and also split a cool 51.5 on the medley relay.
Alessandro Miressi, AQC
It’s easy to overlook a swimmer battling his heart out for the league’s worst franchise, but Miressi merits mention here. The Italian star blasted a 46.13 to win the 100 free against a tough match #3 field. He also led the Aqua Centurions with relay splits of 45.79 and 46.21, plus a mixed relay leadoff of 46.52. Miressi held off a surging LA Current team to win the men’s 4×100 free relay, a relay where the Aqua Centurions currently hold the league’s best time
Margo Geer, DCT
Geer gets this one solely for relays. While she hasn’t been hugely impactful individually, her relay swims have been extraordinary.
Individually, Geer was only 24.64 for 8th in the 50 free and 53.04 for 5th in the 100 free. But she split 51.9 on a medley relay, helping DC take third overall and split 52.0 on the mixed free relay that DC won. That was the third-best split among all the women in the field.
Beata Nelson, CAC
Nelson was outstanding this week, really finding her stride in short course meters.
She hit the league’s leading time in the 200 back at 2:01.31, coming up with a quadruple jackpot. Later on, she led off Cali’s B medley relay in 56.93 going faster than any other leadoff leg besides her own teammate, Olivia Smoliga. That led a 1-2 finish for Cali.
Nelson was 56.70 in another 1-2 with Smoliga in the 100 back, but maybe most impressive was her 1-2 punch with Smoliga in the 50 back skin race. After taking just 4th in the individual 50 back at 26.74, Nelson managed to go two tenths faster in the opening round of the skins to just sneak by the cut line in 4th. She then put her 200 back skills to work, rising to second in the next round to stack the final with Condors and block out the New York and DC swimmers.