The International Swimming League (ISL) has taken a pause in the ramp up to the 2020-2021 season as it evaluates the best path forward now that the Tokyo Olympic Games will be held in 2021 instead of 2020.
While limited details have been made available about season 2 of the upstart professional team-oriented league, we do know that the schedule called for 25 regular season events plus two semi-finals and a finals beginning in September and running through the spring. The new year also brought along 2 new teams, based in Toronto and Tokyo.
SwimSwam has been told that new rules, a new salary cap, and a new schedule for the 2020-2021 season have been mostly arranged before the global coronavirus pandemic; however, the league has not announced any of those things.
The ISL has a phone call scheduled with its general managers on Wednesday to discuss any adjustments that need to be made to those plans. We’ve also been told by multiple people that the fervor of the spring signing period (athletes are on one year contracts, meaning that a new year comes an entirely new recruiting cycle) has ground to a halt while everyone awaits more information about what will happen with the league and with non-league events, including the Olympic Games and their associated trials events.
Two of the league’s teams, the defending champion Energy Standard Club and the newly-founded Toronto Titans, have begun announcing rosters of signed athletes, though both have since stopped. The Titans originally announced a plan of 2-per-day that would continue this week, but with the growing gravity of the outbreak, general manager Rob Kent says that the team is taking a break to focus on processing the situation and supporting the swimming community.
“We have decided to take a one-week break in announcing our team roster, to enable us all to remain focused on the ISL’s position of support to the swimming community and process the current situation.
“We plan to continue announcing the amazing swimmers that have joined the Toronto Titans from next Monday. Until then, stay safe, take care of your family and stay positive.”
A spokesperson for the league says that after seeing the news about the shift in Olympic Games ISL management is “taking it under advisement” and “will communicate our plans in due course.”
“ISL, of course, was already working on a Plan B due to all the uncertainty around a potential postponing of the Olympic Games, and of course no one knows when this terrible global human crisis will end. So, we will communicate our plans when the time is right.”
The global Coronavirus pandemic has around 450,000 confirmed cases globally as of posting. Confirmed cases and deaths by countries with an ISL team (approximate numbers). Note that the accuracy of this data as it relates to actual cases varies based on the level of testing in each area:
- United States (LA Current, New York Breakers, Cali Condors, DC Trident) – 60,000 confirmed cases, 792 deaths
- Italy (Aqua Centurions) – 69,176 confirmed cases, 6,820 deaths
- UK (London Roar) – 8,317 confirmed cases, 433 deaths
- Hungary (Iron) – 226 confirmed cases, 10 deaths
- Japan (Tokyo team) – 1,193 confirmed cases, 43 deaths
- Canada (Toronto Titans) – 2,792 confirmed cases, 26 deaths
- France (Energy Standard) – 22,637 confirmed cases, 1,100 confirmed deaths.