James Gibson, Other ISL Coaches Take Issue With Jackpot Scoring

James Gibson didn’t mince words when he spoke about the impact jackpots were having on the scoring during Match 8 of the International Swimming League (ISL) over the weekend.

Gibson, the head coach of inaugural league champion Energy Standard, voiced his displeasure for the jackpot scoring system during an on-deck interview midway through Day 1 of Match 8 with the ISL’s Mark Foster.

“Every team gets a little bit frustrated when they just miss those touches, you’re seeing the power of the jackpot,” Gibson said. “We get a touch, we’re 20 points up, and then Alia Atkinson just touched out Benny (Benedetta Pilato) by a couple of hundredths and then suddenly they’re 20 points in front.

“To be honest I’m not a huge fan of that scoring system, but that’s what it is.”

You can watch Gibson’s interview via the International Swimming League YouTube channel below:

Coaches from the London Roar and Tokyo Frog Kings echoed a similar sentiment during pre-match interviews with Foster, and it’s been a hot-button issue among fans ever since the system was introduced in Season 2.

The jackpot scoring system awards the winner of an event with the points that would’ve been allotted to any swimmers in the field that aren’t within a margin less than the given “jackpot time” of the first-place finisher.

As it turned out, Match 8 was the first contest where the winner was decided by the jackpots since their introduction.

The London Roar would’ve won the match with 475.5 points without the jackpot system in place, while Energy Standard would’ve taken second with 464.0.

But with the jackpots, Gibson’s club prevailed with 507.0 points to London’s 486.5, keeping Energy Standard perfect (3-0) this season.

Energy Standard’s Ilya Shymanovich led the way in terms of jackpot scoring, gaining an additional 10 points in both the men’s 50 and 100 breaststroke.

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IU Swammer
1 month ago

I’m fine with doing away with jackpots, but I’d like to see some attainable incentive for top swimmers to put up their best efforts. I don’t think anyone wants to see Dressel or King or anyone else doing just enough to win.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  IU Swammer
1 month ago

Why not, though? Wouldn’t their team be potentially better positioned in their later events if they can do “just enough” to win?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

(Obviously that is not the case with the jackpots right now, but if they weren’t there.)

Virtus
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Bc from a spectator perspective seeing Coleman Stewart go a 48 low at his harder and seeing a 49 mid to just win is just not as exciting

John
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

as a coach, I like the thought. As a spectator, I agree with IU Swimmer. I wont tune in unless I know the top swimmers are giving a top effort. Otherwise I can just read the SwimSwam article and skim the results.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  John
1 month ago

Yeah I don’t really care either way, it’s just more a point of what the league is trying to accomplish. Do they want everyone going 100% on each race because WHOO FAST SWIMS!! or do they want tight team battles? Feel like the current jackpot system incentivizes the former.

Tyson
Reply to  IU Swammer
1 month ago

Someone like dressel or Scott will have a lot of swims if they. An save energy somewhere I’m sure they’d like to because it could be the difference between them getting first or second every point counts

Tracy Kosinski
1 month ago

Controversial, so it’s worth keeping around. Evens it out and it’s much more exciting.

Fair play for everyone because every team gains and loses out.

Admin
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
1 month ago

Can you elaborate on your thought that it “evens it out”? I’m not sure I fully understand what you mean, because the data shows that it generally makes the scoring gaps between the good teams and bad teams far more apparent.

Tracy Janet Kosinski
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Hi Braden,

I’m only on match 1, session 2. From what I’ve read, my ‘evens it out’ comment was based on pure speculation. I’ll take your word for it. I do think it becomes more exciting and that all teams benefit eventually. The more twists the better. Energy Standard was just too good.

TheJudga
1 month ago

I just wish skins wasn’t only 50’s…it would take more strategy if the range of skins distances/events went up to 200m.

Mid-distance swimmers would become more valued for three 100s.

Distance swimmers would become more valued for three 200s.

Selection of skins could be similar, but instead of stroke it would be: 1 team eliminates 1 distance; 1 team eliminates 1 stroke; 1 team eliminates another distance; last team chooses stroke from remaining available.

Hswimmer
Reply to  TheJudga
1 month ago

That would be way more interesting

Noah
Reply to  TheJudga
1 month ago

That would be awesome, but there would need to be a way higher rest in between them & allowed warmdown imo.

Virtus
Reply to  TheJudga
1 month ago

That would be great cuz sprinters are making hella bank rn

Reply to  TheJudga
1 month ago

I like this idea a lot, but it’s hard to picture it being viewer-friendly. I’d love to see different distances, but watching 3×200 is a lot, especially at the end of a meet.

I’m also curious as to how that would change the likeliness of parody: for instance, yesterday we saw Chad get 5th and bumped out of Rd 2 because everyone is drop-dead sprinting a 50. In longer distances, seems like the better athletes would have an easier time making it through rounds without fully expending themselves.

Again, I like the idea of changing skins, especially the scoring. I dislike skins scoring more than jackpot scoring. These are just thoughts that popped into my head after reading this… Read more »

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Coleman Hodges
1 month ago

Skins roulette wheel.

Barry
Reply to  Coleman Hodges
1 month ago

I liked the season 2 selection process better. Winner of the medley relay picks skins. That’s a very viewer-friendly rule – it’s really easy to see who won the relay, and it’s also easy to understand “okay they pick” and even work through the thought process of the pick. With the layered selection based on aggregate scoring, it’s both hard to follow who picks, and much harder to understand what the picks are.

Also parity, not parody, although it kind of feels like parody too 🙂

TheJudga
Reply to  Coleman Hodges
1 month ago

Honestly I think 3 200s would be great to watch… people would have to time making a move in the race to get through to the next round, but also wouldnt want to die in the last round. Would also be immensly entertaining to see someone fade at the 100.

John
Reply to  TheJudga
1 month ago

I would pay big money for a mystery order 3-round 100IM skins race in the finals.

also some continental relay’s for exhibition would be nice (N. America v S. America v. Australia v. Europe v. russia/asia

Outside Smoker
Reply to  John
1 month ago

How about a mystery medley 4×50 skins?
You pick your two swimmers and right before each round the stroke is drawn.
Eliminate two swimmers each round.
All four strokes swam over the four rounds.
No jackpots, no extra points just double points for 1st to 8th (so even if make the final two and get hammered you still get two more points than third.

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
1 month ago

At least cancel jackpot in skin races.

Just give the trophy to the condors already
Reply to  Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
1 month ago

Stewart will not win 100 back gold in fukuoka

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

I guess I never realized that you can still jackpot a good portion of the field while barely winning the race. (Mostly because the matches I watched were ones where Dressel was blowing people away and jackpotting most of the heat.) That makes it way more arbitrary than I realized.

Though it is cute that the first team to actually win based on jackpot points whined about them during that same meet. A nice touch.

Noah
1 month ago

I think they are good, I think they offer a good incentive for going extremely fast and a nice focus on finishes.

Fish
1 month ago

I have more issue with skins points then jackpot points. Nothing wrong with a swimmer racing hard to finish and dominating. Better than skewing 30+ points to a 50 stroke. At least jackpot rewards all distances and events.

Dan
1 month ago

Funny thing is that I thought they were added in at first to help Energy standard and their stars

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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