ISL Unveils Meet Info, Events, Lineup, Scoring & Prize Money Systems

The International Swimming League has published its technical information, breaking down event schedules, scoring, lineups and more.

We’ll break down all the info as best we can below. You can see a PDF with all the technical information by clicking here.

Meet Format

Each meet will be two days long, and each day will be broken up into 3 sessions. The main competitive aspect of these sessions is that each team can submit lineup adjustments during the breaks in sessions. That means teams can adjust their lineups on the fly based on how the meet is going to that point.

  • Each team will get 2 entries into each event, individual or relay.
    • Each team will have its own two lanes it uses for every event in that day. Lanes are randomly assigned.
  • The meet lineup includes the 50 through 400 free, 50 through 200 of back, breast and fly, 200 and 400 IMs and five relays: men’s and women’s 4×100 medleys, men’s and women’s 4×100 frees, and a mixed 4×100 free relay. If a meet comes down to a tie at the finish, a mixed 4×50 medley relay will be used as a tiebreaker.
  • Skins races: the meets will also include ‘skins’ races, or multi-round 50 free shootouts. In round 1, 8 athletes start, and 4 move to round 2. From there, the top two move into the final round. Each round will take place 3 minutes apart, and athletes can not use the competition pool for cool down in between.

Here’s a look at the event lineup, assuming the breaks come after each relay event:

Women’s Event # Day 1 Men’s Event #
1 100 Fly 2
3 50 Breast 4
5 400 IM 6
4×100 Free Relay
9 200 Back 8
11 50 Free 10
4×100 Medley Relay 12
13 200 Free 14
15 50 Back 16
17 200 Breast 18
4×100 Free Relay 19
Women’s Event # Day 2 Men’s Event #
20 100 Free 21
22 100 Breast 23
24 400 Free 25
4×100 Medley Relay
28 200 IM 27
30 50 Fly 29
32 100 Back 31
33 4×100 Mixed Free Relay 33
34 200 Fly 35
36 50 Free Skins 37
38 4×50 Mixed Medley (if tiebreak needed) 38


Here’s how each event will score for team points:

Individual Event Relay Event Skins Race
1st 9 18 27
2nd 7 14 21
3rd 6 12 12
4th 5 10 10
5th 4 8 4
6th 3 6 3
7th 2 4 2
8th 1 2 1

Relays count for double, and skins races effectively triple, though if you get eliminated in the first round, your point totals drop significantly.

Penalties For No-Shows and Dogging Races

The format will also penalize teams if an athlete does not appear for their race (DNS)does not finish their race (DNF), or disqualifies (DQ). Teams will also lose points if an athlete is slower than a certain benchmark time in any event:

  • No-show (DNS): -4 points or -8 per relay
  • Did not finish (DNF): -2 points or -4 per relay
  • Skins races:
    • A DNS in round 1 is -4. In round 2 it moves up to -8, and in the final to -12.
    • A DNF in round 1 is -2. In round 2 it moves up to -4, and in the final to -6.
  • Slower than benchmark time: -1 point for individuals or -2 points for relays from what the swimmer or relay would have scored. (An 8th-place individual going slower than one of these times would score zero points. A 7th-place individual going slower than one of these times would score one).
    • benchmark times below (in short course meters):

Team Standings

At the end of each meet, teams earn points toward the overall standings. These points are entirely separate from the meet points described above.

  • 1st place team: 4
  • 2nd place team: 3
  • 3rd place team: 2
  • 4th place team: 1

The top 2 US and top 2 European clubs at the end of the season will advance to the championship meet.

Prize Money

Athletes will also earn prize money based on a third set of point values. Relays count as double points, but each athlete gets 25% of the total points. Since that’s a lot of math, we’ve calculated it in a simpler way below. Skins races count triple:

Individual Event Relay Event Skins Race
1st 6 3 18
2nd 4 2 12
3rd 2 1 6
4th 1 0.5 3

Each “prize money point” correlates to a dollar amount: $300 per point in the regular season and $1000 per point in the final.

In addition, athletes earn:

  • $1000 per swimmer per match attended for swimmers whose club makes the final and who participate in the final (i.e. swimmers on clubs that don’t make the final don’t make this; if a club makes the final but a swimmer skips the final, they also don’t make this).
  • $10,000 per swimmer for the winning team in the final
  • $5,000 per swimmer for the 2nd-place team in the final
  • $3,000 per swimmer for the 3rd-place team in the final
  • $1,000 per swimmer for the 4th-place team in the final

The big prizes are heavily weighted to the winning teams, and athletes will have to get their team to the final to earn the biggest bonuses.

Other Odds & Ends

MVP Bonus

Each meet will have its own MVP, and so will the whole series:

  • Meet MVP: the man or woman with the most team score points (not prize money points) in that meet.
  • Season MVP: the man or woman with the most team score points (not prize money points) for the entire season.

Travel Roster

  • The ISL suggests travel rosters of 24 (12 men and 12 women), plus two men and two women as “substitites.” The total roster a club can have is 32. It’s unclear whether teams are actually restricted to the limit of 24, as it’s listed as a suggestion.


Each club gets one captain and one vice-captain, and they have to be of different genders.

You can see the full team & technical information on the ISL website here.

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Becky D
1 year ago

Hopefully this will all turn out to be fun to watch. But cripes — how I loathe that ISL logo.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Becky D
1 year ago

I never noticed it until now, but ya it isn’t ideal. Just sorta looks like a person without a torso, got them hands dragging like a chimp.

Reply to  Becky D
1 year ago

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Quasimodo.
Or The Money Hunger.
Very disturbing. What is a gender of this creature. Can’t see any girl associating herself with such image, rather than Hosszu with her “iron obsession”. Why #metoo is silent?

1 year ago

no distance races?????

Becky D
Reply to  forfunssake
1 year ago

400 free and 400 IM will need to suffice.

Reply to  forfunssake
1 year ago

Broken 150 for time

Reply to  forfunssake
1 year ago

Distance races are BORING…ISL out to make $$$$ and know they must produce some excitement or they will be like the Women’s Professional Cooking/Mopping Teams back in the 1960s….squashed like bug.

Becky D
Reply to  volmenusa
1 year ago


Reply to  volmenusa
1 year ago

No, I think it is mostly a medical concern. And ISL is first of all about swimmers wellbeing.
Don’t forget it is a SCM competition. Go to the pool, stay next to the wall and make 60 flip turns in 12sec each without breathing for 8-10sec at each attempt.
At the end you will forget where the sky is. 😀

The Man Himself
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

You know, SCY races are also a thing. Doesn’t seem to be a problem for NCAA’s!
Also, no distance swimmer is staying under water for 10 seconds a wall.

Reply to  The Man Himself
1 year ago

Sure you are right. But I wasn’t talking about actual race, but about nice exercise that may give you some idea. It doesn’t even include swimming that makes you oxygen hungry even faster. And at the end it was a joke.
But I completely disagree that long distance race in short pool is boring. Should you lose focus for a second after just one third of the race and you don’t know anymore who is a leader and who is in the dust. It is a lot of excitement in trying solving this puzzle and only the final bell gives you the relief.

Bo Swims
Reply to  The Man Himself
1 year ago

Good luck finding a pool outside the US that wouldn’t need to be modified. Plenty of US pools that can accommodate SCM. This is the ISL not the ASL.

Becky D
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

“Medical concern” ? I wish I could have come up with that story a few decades ago. “Hey, Coach! I don’t think I should have to swim both the 1000 and 500 in this dual meet, because 60 flip turns might adversely impact my well-being.”

Reply to  volmenusa
1 year ago

This still looks boring. I won’t go.

bear drinks beer
Reply to  volmenusa
1 year ago

Well Well, I remember people blamed Fina for overlooking distance swimmers in their CSS? Let’s not have double standards here.

Reply to  volmenusa
1 year ago

You think they will make money?

1 year ago

Too bad that 4×50 MMR is only used as a tiebreaker.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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