The second season of the International Swimming League is set to get underway in two weeks, on October 16th in Budapest, Hungary.
Season 1 of the league saw eight teams compete across seven meets, with Energy Standard ultimately winning the Las Vegas finale in December 2019. Last year, the league was host to the vast majority of swimming’s most elite athletes, including Caeleb Dressel, Daiya Seto, and Minna Atherton who each set new short course world records during the season.
The addition of two new teams for season 2, the Tokyo Frog Kings and the Toronto Titans, brought two new countries into the mix and some new faces to the league. With countless Olympic gold medals and world record holders represented across 10 teams of the league, the firepower seen in season 1 will surely be seen for a second time around. As the beginning of season two draws nearer, check out where each team’s roster stands as of now.
It is not just the swimmers of the league, however, with highly reputable resumes: the ISL coaches’ reputations are similarly elite. Having collectively coached their athletes to innumerable Olympic medals, world records, and NCAA championships, the caliber of coaching on the ISL pool deck has likely been rivaled only twice in the last decade; in Rio and in London.
While it is still unclear how many coaches will be allowed on deck for each team at each meet, we do now know who will be serving as head coach for each team in the league this year;
ISL SEASON 2 HEAD COACHES
Tokyo Frog Kings – Coach: Dave Salo
- For their debut season in the league, the Tokyo Frog Kings have announced Dave Salo as head coach. Salo has coached a bounty of Olympic champions including Jason Lezak, Katinka Hosszu, and Rebecca Soni. This year, Vlad Moroz and Daiya Seto will be key assets of Salo’s Frog Kings as he leads the team into their first run at the championship.
Toronto Titans – Coach: Byron MacDonald
- A new coach to the league this year, MacDonald has been around the international coaching scene for decades. MacDonald has been coaching the University of Toronto Varsity blues since 1978, sending over 70 athletes to represent their country on international teams. In 1992, he was an assistant coach of the Canadian Olympic team and most recently coached Canadian Kylie Masse to a bronze medal in the 100 backstroke at Rio 2016 and a gold medal and world record in the same event at World Championships in 2017. MacDonald brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Titans in their premier season.
NY Breakers – Coach: Martin Truijens
- Martin Truijens, who served as head coach of Demark’s National Training centre until 2019, will replace Peter Andrew as head coach of the New York Breakers for their second season in the league. Andrew will stay on as an assistant coach. In 2019, the Breaker’s finished in 8th place in the league and with quite a different roster from last season, will look to improve upon last year’s placing. Long term, the Breakers plan on running to long term training centres with one lead by Truijens in Europe and one in the US, headed by Andrew.
Aqua Centurions – Coach: Matteo Giunta
- Matteo Giunta returns this season as head coach of Italy’s Aqua Centurions. Giunta has coached a variety of elite swimmers including Aqua Centurion’s own Federica Pellegrini, and World Champion Milorad Cavic and 2012 Olympic medalist Sergey Fesikov (Toronto Titans). Finishing last in the European division in 2019, the team has a renewed shot at redemption this year. Giunta’s Centurions, however, were just hit with a 5 athlete loss from their roster and currently sit with only 10 women and 14 men.
DC Trident – Coach: Cyndi Gallagher
- Another returning coach this season, Cyndi Gallagher will head the DC Trident coaching staff for the 2020 ISL season. Gallagher leads DC Trident following a 31 year run as head coach of UCLA. DC has quite a different roster this year, having lost many big names including Katie Ledecky, Siobhan Haughey, and Cody Miller but have some strong additions such as Margo Geer, Jacob Pebley, and Amy Bilquist in their place.
Iron – Coach: Jozsef Nagy
- Legendary breaststroke expert, Jozsef Nagy return to Iron this year, having served as an assistant coach in 2019. He will take over for Arpad Petrov. The International Swimming Hall of Famer has coached several elite breaststrokers to greatness, including Mike Barrowman, Sergio Lopez-Miro, and Annamay Pierse. Iron didn’t make it to the finals in last year’s season and will have a chance at redemption this year under Nagy.
LA Current – Coach: David Marsh
- With 12 NCAA titles under his belt as head coach of Auburn, Marsh lead the LA Current to a fourth-place finish at the Las Vegas finale of ISL season 1. Marsh returns this year as head coach of the Current, joining captains Ryan Murphy and Beryl Gasteldello to make a run at a return appearance at the 2020 finals.
London Roar – Coach: Melanie Marshall
- Mel Marshall and the London Roar were just a couple races away from victory at last year’s ISL final but ultimately lost to Energy Standard. Marshall, a two time Olympian herself is a long time coach of Olympic Champion, world record holder, and London Roar captain Adam Peaty. Recently hit with a mass dropout of Australians from their roster, Marshall will lead a weakened Roar into the 2020 season with a shot at redemption.
Cali Condors – Coach: Jonty Skinner
- Skinner was recently announced as head coach of the Condors, following the original 2020 head coach Jeff Julian’s recent hospitalization. A former world record holder in the 100 freestyle, Skinner has decades of coaching experience both in the NCAA and at USA Swimming. He will take over for last year’s head coach Gregg Troy and will join returning Condor score leaders Olivia Smoliga and Caeleb Dressel in their attempt at improving upon last year’s third-place finish.
Energy Standard – Coach: James Gibson
- As the head coach of the ISL’s first-ever season champions, Energy Standard, James Gibson is back for another year. A 2003 World Champion and 2004 Olympian, Gibson, unlike most other teams, coaches most of Energy Standard year-round. With a shot at back to back championships, Gibson’s star-studded ENS roster is made up of both returning swimmers, including 2019 MVP Sarah Sjostrom and recent additions Matt Grevers and Siobhan Haughey.
While most of the league’s head coaches also train ISL swimmers year-round, many of the assistant coaches listed on the roster are also home coaches of swimmers on their ISL team. These coaches will get the chance to travel with the team and therefore their swimmers throughout the league this fall. The ability for home coaches to take part in the league is a big draw for many athletes as, in an Olympic year, a five-week separation form one’s regular coach is certainly not ideal.
A key home coach in the league will be University of Georgia’s assistant coach, Sean Schimmel, who is on the roster this season for the Cali Condors. The Condors have a strong contingent of swimmers from Georgia’s pro group, which Schimmel has been around for the past four seasons, including Hali Flickinger, Melanie Margalis, Nic Fink, Olivia Smoliga, Gunnar Bentz, Veronica Burchill, and Natalie Hinds.
A second coach to note here is London Roar’s Steven Tigg. Tigg has coached Roar’s Duncan Scott to several international medals over the past few years, and coached Scott, along with the rest of London to second place at last year’s ISL finale alongside returning head coach Mel Marshall. Tigg also coaches one of Roar’s recent addition to the team, Aimee Willmott.
Tokyo Frog King’s teammates Yui Ohashi, Katsuhiro Matsumoto, and Miho Teramura will also each have their own home coaches around for the season; Norimasa Hirai for Ohashi and Yoji Suzuki for Matsumoto and Teramura. Vlastimil Cerny joins the Toronto Titans, having coach Titan Kelsey Wog for the past four years at the University of Manitoba. As for the Aqua Centurions, Italian record holder Nicolo Martinenghi and coach Marco Giovanni Pedoja are both on the roster for the second season in a row.
Along with these examples, many more swimmers will get the chance to have their home coach with them during ISL season 2. Not only will it bring needed consistency to the athletes, but the home coaches’ representation also compliments the already superb caliber of coaching brought forth by the head coaching staff.
ISL SEASON 2 ASSISTANT COACHES
Tokyo Frog Kings
|Norimasa Hirai||JPN||Assistant Coach|
|Yoji Suzuki||JPN||Assistant Coach|
|Masataka Ishimatsu||JPN||Assistant Coach|
|Vlastimil Cerny||CAN||Assistant Coach|
|Peter Andrew||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Don Wagner||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Mads Hansen||DEN||Assistant Coach|
|Alberto Pinto Da Silva||ITA||Assistant Coach|
|Marco Giovanni Pedoja||ITA||Assistant Coach|
|Robert Platt||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Susan Shaw Teeter||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Steve Price||CAN||Assistant Coach|
|Lurii Zevin||UKR||Assistant Coach|
|Jackson Roach||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Kimberly Brackin||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Shahob Mehr||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Steven Tigg||GBR||Assistant Coach|
|Allison Beebe||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Sean Schimmel||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Brian Shrader||USA||Assistant Coach|
|Tom Rushton||CAN||Assistant Coach|
|Olga Yasianovich||BLR||Assistant Coach|
|Can Onsoy||GBR||Assistant Coach|