LIVE Recap of the 2021 ISL Draft

The International Swimming League (ISL) is holding its first-ever swimmer draft – and we’re covering every second of it.

You can watch the ISL Draft live here (scroll down).

Yesterday, the ten franchises finalized which swimmers they’ll be retaining from previous years’ rosters. Then, the top rookies came off the board with a rookie pick for each team. You can see our recap of all that action here.

Today, we’ll see the results of the fan votes, which lock in one more retained athlete per team. Then, each team will make 11 picks from the draft pool across 14 rounds, with last year’s lowest-finishing teams getting the highest picks.

The draft order is below. We’ll be updating picks as they come in, and chipping in some of our analysis where possible. With each team getting just a 60-second window to make each pick, the action should fly by today with 100 swimmers finding out their new professional homes.

From there, teams can fill out their remaining roster spots via free agency from swimmers remaining in the draft pool.

Fan Vote – Retained Swimmers

  • CAC: Eddie Wang
  • ENS: Ben Proud
  • LON: Adam Peaty
  • LAC: Julia Sebastian
  • IRO: Marco Orsi
  • TOK: Cristian Quintero
  • TOR: Jay Lelliott
  • NYB: Brandonn Almeida
  • DCT: Mohamed Samy
  • AQC: Fabio Santi

Peaty was the highest scorer of the 2020 season to be retained this way – he was the #44 overall regular-season scorer. London actually had two other higher scorers not retained: Maria Kameneva and Christian Diener.

Proud was a force in 2019, but struggled in 2020 amid the pandemic shutting down training for a bit.

2021 ISL Draft

Overall Pick Round Pick Team Pick
1 R R.01 Aqua Centurions Arno Kamminga, BR, NED
2 R R.02 DC Trident Ryan Hoffer, FR/FL, USA
3 R R.03 NY Breakers Matt Temple, FL/FR, AUS
4 R R.04 Toronto Titans Kasia Wasick, FR, POL
5 R R.05 Tokyo Frog Kings Paige Madden, DFR, USA
6 R R.06 Iron Barbora Seemanova, FR, CZE
7 R R.07 LA Current Martin Malyutin, FR, RUS
8 R R.08 London Roar Kenzo Simons, FR, NED
9 R R.09 Energy Standard Evgenia Chikunova, BR, RUS
10 R R.10 Cali Condors Maaike de Waard, BK/FL, NED
11 1 1.01 Aqua Centurions Maria Kameneva, BK/FR, RUS
12 1 1.02 DC Trident Anna Hopkin, FR, GBR
13 2 2.01 Aqua Centurions Kathleen Dawson, BK, GBR
14 2 2.02 DC Trident Maria Temnikova, BR, RUS
15 2 2.03 NY Breakers David Popovici, FR, ROU
16 2 2.04 Toronto Titans Chelsea Hodges, BR, AUS
17 3 3.01 Aqua Centurions Chase Kalisz, IM, USA
18 3 3.02 DC Trident Andreas Vazaios, IM, GRE
19 3 3.03 NY Breakers Mewen Tomac, BK, FRA
20 3 3.04 Toronto Titans Max Litchfield, IM, GBR
21 3 3.05 Tokyo Frog Kings Cassie Wild, BK, GBR
22 3 3.06 Iron Mikhail Vekovishchev, FL/FR, RUS
23 4 4.01 Aqua Centurions Holly Hibbott, DFR, GBR
24 4 4.02 DC Trident Ali DeLoof, BK, USA
25 4 4.03 NY Breakers Maxime Grousset, FR/FL, FRA**
26 4 4.04 Toronto Titans Marius Kusch, FL/FR, GER
27 4 4.05 Tokyo Frog Kings Grigory Tarasevich, BK, RUS
28 4 4.06 Iron Ingeborg Loyning, BK, NOR
29 4 4.07 LA Current Sara Franceschi, IM, ITA
30 4 4.08 London Roar Vini Lanza, FL, BRA
31 5 5.01 Aqua Centurions Fantine Lesaffre, IM, FRA
32 5 5.02 DC Trident Zsuzsanna Jakabos, IM, HUN
33 5 5.03 NY Breakers Lucy Hope, FR, GBR
34 5 5.04 Toronto Titans Luc Kroon, FR, NED
35 5 5.05 Tokyo Frog Kings Nandor Nemeth, FR, HUN
36 5 5.06 Iron Jenna Strauch, BR, AUS
37 5 5.07 LA Current Will Licon, BR, USA
38 5 5.08 London Roar Dylan Carter, FL/FR, TTO
39 5 5.09 Energy Standard Viktoria Gunes, BR, TUR
40 5 5.10 Cali Condors Brodie Williams, IM/BK, GBR
41 6 6.01 Aqua Centurions Holly Barratt, FR/BK, AUS
42 6 6.02 DC Trident Farida Osman, FL, EGY
43 6 6.03 NY Breakers Jakub Majerski, FL, POL
44 6 6.04 Toronto Titans Fabian Schwingenschloegl, BR, GER
45 6 6.05 Tokyo Frog Kings Mallory Comerford, FR, USA
46 6 6.06 Iron Bernhard Reitshammer, IM, AUT
47 6 6.07 LA Current Valentin Dumont, FR, BEL
48 6 6.08 London Roar Christian Diener, BK, GER
49 6 6.09 Energy Standard Max Stupin, IM, RUS
50 6 6.10 Cali Condors Oleg Kostin, FL, RUS
51 7 7.01 Aqua Centurions Radoslaw Kawecki, BK, POL
52 7 7.02 DC Trident Aleksandr Shchegolev, FR, RUS
53 7 7.03 NY Breakers Marrit Steenbergen, FR/IM, NED
54 7 7.04 Toronto Titans Grigori Pekarski, FL, BLR
55 7 7.05 Tokyo Frog Kings Ivan Girev, FR, RUS
56 7 7.06 Iron Matt Richards, FR, GBR
57 7 7.07 LA Current Abrahm DeVine, IM, USA
58 7 7.08 London Roar Ross Murdoch, BR, GBR
59 7 7.09 Energy Standard Felipe Lima, BR, BRA
60 7 7.10 Cali Condors Aleksandr Krasnykh, FR, RUS
61 8 8.01 Aqua Centurions Rika Omoto, IM, JPN
62 8 8.02 DC Trident Felipe Silva, BR, BRA
63 8 8.03 NY Breakers Daryna Zevina, BK, UKR
64 8 8.04 Toronto Titans Laura Stephens, FL, GBR
65 8 8.05 Tokyo Frog Kings Bowe Becker, FR, USA
66 8 8.06 Iron Costanza Cocconcelli, IM/BK, ITA
67 8 8.07 LA Current Alina Zmushka, BR, IRO
68 8 8.08 London Roar Teppei Morimoto, FL, JPN
69 8 8.09 Energy Standard Charlie Swanson, IM, USA
70 8 8.10 Cali Condors Leonie Kullman, DFR, GER
71 9 9.01 Aqua Centurions Ilia Borodin, IM, RUS
72 9 9.02 DC Trident Tatiana Belonogoff, BR, RUS
73 9 9.03 NY Breakers Cornelia Fiedkiewicz, IM, POL
74 9 9.04 Toronto Titans Aimee Willmott, IM, GBR**
75 9 9.05 Tokyo Frog Kings Aly Tetzloff, FR, USA
76 9 9.06 Iron Andrej Barna, FR, SRB
77 9 9.07 LA Current Matt Wilson, BR, AUS
78 9 9.08 London Roar Ilaria Bianchi, FL, ITA
79 9 9.09 Energy Standard Boglarka Kapas, FL, HUN
80 9 9.10 Cali Condors Emily Escobedo, BR, USA
81 10 10.01 Aqua Centurions Matteo Ciampi, DFR, ITA
82 10 10.02 DC Trident Sergey Shevtsov, FL, UKR
83 10 10.03 NY Breakers —forfeited pick— (M.Metella not registered with the league)
84 10 10.04 Toronto Titans Brent Hayden, FR, CAN
85 10 10.05 Tokyo Frog Kings –forfeited pick– (S.Vasey already drafted)
86 10 10.06 Iron Africa Zamorano, IM/BK, ESP
87 10 10.07 LA Current Anna Ntountounaki, FL, GRE
88 10 10.08 London Roar Andi Murez, FR, USA
89 10 10.09 Energy Standard Etiene Medeiros, BK, BRA
90 10 10.10 Cali Condors Jesse Puts, FR, NED
91 11 11.01 NY Breakers Philip Heintz, IM, GER
92 11 11.02 Toronto Titans Summer McIntosh, IM, CAN
93 11 11.03 Tokyo Frog Kings Noe Ponti, FL, SUI*
94 11 11.04 Iron Kirill Strelnikov, BR, RUS
95 11 11.05 LA Current Bronte Campell, FR, AUS
96 11 11.06 London Roar Zac Incerti, FR, AUS
97 11 11.07 Energy Standard Helena Rosendahl Bach, DEN
98 11 11.08 Cali Condors Mark Szaranek, IM, GBR
99 12 12.01 Tokyo Frog Kings Alessandro Pinzuti, BR, ITA
100 12 12.02 Iron Lukas Maertens, DFR, GER
101 12 12.03 LA Current Breno Correia, FR, BRA
102 12 12.04 London Roar Katsumi Nakamura, FR, JPN
103 12 12.05 Energy Standard James Guy, FR/FL, GBR
104 12 12.06 Cali Condors Sherridon Dressel, BK, USA
105 13 13.01 LA Current Javier Acevedo, BK, CAN
106 13 13.02 London Roar Jenna Laukkanen, BR, FIN
107 13 13.03 Energy Standard Marco de Tullio, DFR, ITA
108 13 13.04 Cali Condors Khader Baqlah, FR, JOR
109 14 14.01 Energy Standard Clement Mignon, FR, FRA
110 14 14.02 Cali Condors Kevin Cordes, BR, USA

*We’ve confirmed that Ponti is still planning to swim in the NCAA for NC State and will not join Tokyo for the ISL season.

*We’ve confirmed that Aimee Willmott and Maxime Grousset will also not compete in the ISL this season.

Updating Analysis:

Rookie round:

    • Kamminga was a bit of a surprise pick at #1, with the Aqua Centurions already stacked in breaststroke. But he’s arguably the best player on the board overall, so Aqua went with the overall talent.
    • Hoffer is a versatile sprinter and a standout in the United States NCAA system.
    • Some fans were asking about Kenzo Simons, a lesser-known name. Simons is just 20 and is a world junior record-setter in the 50 free for the Netherlands.

Round 1-2:

    • The first three picks all came from the former London Roar roster. Kameneva was the top 2020 scorer left on the board. Dawson and Hopkin also competed for London.
    • Jacob Whittle and David Popovici, two of the best young sprinters we’ve had in a generation, are both now members of the New York Breakers. If they can keep those guys together, the Breakers relays could be good for a very long time. They would have been even scarier had the team been able to retain Matt Richards.
    • Women’s breaststrokers have been in high demand early, with Maria Temnikova going 4th and Chelsea Hodges 6th overall.

Round 3:

    • Vazaios swam for DC in 2019, then London in 2020. DC was able to bring him back with an early draft pick this year.
    • The early picks went rapid-fire with most GMs very happy with their picks. In round 3, the Frog Kings slowed things down a little, and appeared to snag rookie Cassie Wild from Iron. Iron was forced to pivot and used up most of their time on the clock, the first time we saw a team take more than a minute to make their pick.

Round 4:

    • London continues to see their veterans mined by other teams in the first four rounds. Before London even had a pick, they lost Kameneva, Hopkin, Dawson, Vekovishchev, Hibbott and Kusch.
      • Part of the reason that London Roar are losing so many swimmers is that they had a much bigger pool than other teams to choose their reserved swimmers from. That’s because they lost most of an Australia-heavy roster for the 2020 season, but were able to reserve from both seasons.
    • Speaking of London, they managed to retain Vini Lanza with the 30th overall pick. Lanza was the #69 overall regular-season scorer in 2020.

Round 5:

    • DC ran the clock right down to its last few seconds before taking Jakabos in the fifth.
    • LA really needed a breaststroker, and had to be thrilled that Will Licon made it back to them in the fifth.
    • The very first picks for last year’s top two: star 200 breaststroker Viktoria Gunes heading back to Energy and newcomer Brodie Williams joining the defending champ Cali Condors.

Round 6:

    • Tokyo appears to be smashing this draft. Mallory Comerford was the #37 overall scorer in 2019, but missed 2020. She fell to Tokyo in the late 6th round.
    • Christian Diener in the late 6th was also a great pick for London. He was the top 2020 scorer left on the board and was the #34 scorer in the regular season last year.

Round 7:

    • Aqua nabbed Radoslaw Kawecki at the top of the 7th, also a great pick. Kawecki was 65th in regular-season scoring last year.
    • DC then took a star rookie: Aleskandr Shchegolev who should give them a stellar sprint group paired with Zach Apple and Ryan Hoffer.
    • Ivan Girev to Tokyo is another strong relay swimmer in the late rounds. Tokyo has beefed up its relays significantly after choosing not to retain their full allotment of 15 swimmers. Nemeth and Girev should be outstanding in support of Vladimir Morozov.
    • There’s been a run on sprint freestylers through the 7th. Matt Richards feels like a stellar get for Iron. He’s just 18 and could be an ISL asset for a long time.
    • Ross Murdoch trains with newly-appointed London head coach Steven Tigg at the University of Stirling. A bit of a home-team pick there at 7.08.

Round 8 (& Format Drama Begins):

    • Energy filled out its men’s medley relay with breaststroker Felipe Lima of Brazil. DC later admitted they wanted Lima, but settled for his Brazilian countryman (also a breaststroker) Felipe Silva.
    • The first technical wrinkle of this fast-moving draft: Tokyo GM Dave Salo tried to take Russian breaststroker Evgenia Chikunovawho went to Energy Standard in last night’s rookie round. Salo got a tick of extra time to pivot to sprinter Bowe Becker.
      • It’s hard to say what that says about the varying values on swimmers between the teams – Tokyo would have considered Chikunova at #65 overall (the team’s 6th pick), while Energy Standard took her #9 overall.

Round 9:

    • Former world junior record-holding IMer Ilia Borodin at #71 feels like good value.
    • LA added another great breaststroker in Matt Wilson very late – they got Wilson in the 9th round at pick #77.
    • Some swimmers who are sliding in the draft might be only part-time ISL swimmers. Energy Standard confirmed in the 9th round that they were picking Boglarka Kapas, even though they knew she can only swim the latter portion of the season. She’ll join the club for the playoffs if they qualify.

Round 10 (& Pick Drama):

    • In the 10th, the New York Breakers tried to draft French standout Mehdy Metella, who would have been a smash pick this late. But Metella is not part of the ISL draft pool, so draft organizers said they were forced to make New York forfeit their pick.
      • That’s a departure from earlier cases, where teams accidentally drafted a swimmer who was already drafted.
    • Right after that, Tokyo picked Sarah Vasey. But Vasey was announced last night as one of the retained swimmers for the New York Breakers. It appears draft organizers did not recognize this and the draft continued despite Vasey being double-drafted.
      • The Breakers confirmed that they’d protected her when they came back on the clock. It appears Tokyo will not get that pick back.
    • Etiene Medeiros should be an outstanding pick for Energy Standard in the late 10th. She doesn’t have much range, but is a great back/free sprinter and a skins entrant.

Round 11 (& Pick Drama):

    • Starting with round 11, we’ll start seeing the lower-ranked teams from last year dropping off. They get more early picks, but less late picks as the higher-ranked teams get to fill out their 10 drafted swimmers.
    • Cali has gone with men at 4 of their first 6 picks, including their first three. That makes sense, given that their strength has been on the women’s side, and they’ve needed support for Caeleb Dressel on the men’s side.
    • 14-year-old Summer McIntosh is an excellent pick with a huge future in the sport. She was not on the original list of rookies we’d seen, but is an excellent value late here.
    • The drama continued with double-drafted swimmers. Tokyo GM Dave Salo chastised the draft organizers on the draft’s live feed, arguing that teams weren’t getting updated lists and shouldn’t lose their picks for drafting a player who was already drafted. Tokyo did not get their pick back in the Vasey dispute.
      • Tokyo then tried to take Anastasia Gorbenko, who was retained by the LA Current last night. As time wound down on their pick, Salo called for Noe Ponti, the Swiss star who will be an outstanding pick here… if he doesn’t follow through on his plans to join NC State in the NCAA.
        • Update: Ponti will swim in the NCAA and will not compete for Tokyo. It’s unclear if Tokyo will get his rights if he does decide to turn pro down the road, or whether this pick will wind up not acquiring any swimmer for Tokyo.
    • Bronte Campbell to the LA Current in the 11th round feels like a steal, if she is available for the whole season.

Round 12:

    • Energy Standard also confirmed that James Guy would not be available for the entire season, explaining his fall to the 12th round.
    • While the Campbell sisters will swim on different teams for hte first time in ISL history, the Dressel siblings with both remain with the Cali Condors after GM Jason Lezak took Sherridon Dressel in the 12th.

Rounds 13-14:

    • LA took Canadian backstroker Javier Acevedo, who could have potentially returned to the NCAA for a fifth year with Georgia.
    • Cali clearly focused on retaining some of its own talent in the late rounds, bringing back previous Condors with their final four picks. That included Kevin Cordes with the final pick, making him the ISL equivalent to the NFL’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” or the last player picked in the draft.

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Eric the eel > Phelps
2 months ago

thank u for covering this because the livestream is very laggy

CY~
2 months ago

They’re taking forever to announce the fan protected athletes…

iceman
2 months ago

Lots of South American swimmers retained via fun vote.

Deepblue
Reply to  iceman
2 months ago

BRASIL!!!!!!🔥🔥🔥

iceman
Reply to  iceman
2 months ago

Of course there is a typo, it’s fan vote not fun.

KyleChalmers 2nd Gold
Reply to  iceman
2 months ago

this fan vote is a joke. So many swimmers better than these South American. I’m Brazilian. Brandon Almeida is just a tiktoker; Fabio Santi has mediocre swim. Julia Sebastián has potential, but again, there are many others better than her.

FST
Reply to  KyleChalmers 2nd Gold
2 months ago

It was a fan vote, not a performance vote. If Brazilians have a better/more social media presence, this development is not suprising.

Jack
2 months ago

Did i misinterpret him or did he genuinely purposely leave Peaty to a fan pick with him not missing half the matches. The balls on that man jesus.

iceman
2 months ago

Kameneva was the most sensible first pick for Centurions, she can cover many events like 50, 100 free and back, 100 IM, relays, skins.

Scott FTW
2 months ago

Ooof, so many former roar athletes being taken early on. Like this much better to yesterday where its faster between the picks!

Hoosier Daddy
2 months ago

MAKE THE ISL SHORT COURSE YARDS!!!!!!!!!!

Joe
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
2 months ago

They should do a SCY meet the day after championships to see what records can go down

Troyy
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
2 months ago

Gross.

Ghost
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
2 months ago

You do realize the world doesn’t revolve around USA!

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
2 months ago

As BoBo GiGi would say:

NO to bathtub swims!

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
2 months ago

“Tokyo appears to be smashing this draft.”

Not sure I could disagree with this more, they seem very intent on continuing to draft swimmers who are better at the longer distances and not getting many swimmers who provide relay versatility.

Edit: The Girev pick is really nice, though.

Last edited 2 months ago by PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Landen
Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
2 months ago

Dali is the bill belicheck of swim apparently

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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