London Roar Choose Backstroke for Men’s, Women’s Skins Races (Match 2)


The London Roar, winners of both the men’s and women’s medley relays, have chosen the backstroke races as the two skins events for Monday’s session.

Under new ISL rules for 2020, the winner of the medley relays on day 1 of the meet choose the strokes for the 50 meter ‘skins’ races on day 2 of the meet. In those ‘skins’ events, 3 rounds of 50s are held in succession with a short break, with the field being whittled from 8 to 4 to 2 swimmers.

In match 1, we saw the massive impact that the also-new Jackpot rules can have on these events, and in both cases, the team that chose the skins events won the skins events, and stole many points from their opponents.

The men’s choice for the Roar was rather straight-forward. Christian Diener and Guilherme Guido finished 1-2 in the individual 50 back on Sunday with times of 22.76 and 22.90, respectively. Iron’s Guilherme Basseto finished 3rd in 23.16.

For London, that means they have the top 2 contenders (and the 2 fastest 50 backstrokers in ISL history) racing for them against a field that lacks any real superstars, or arguably even stars, to upend them.

The women’s choice was less obvious.

There were 2 reasonable choices for the London Roar on the women’s side: breaststroker and backstroker.

In the 50 breaststroke, they finished 1-8 on Sunday, with Alia Atkinson winning in 29.20 (by .25 seconds) and 200 specialist Annie Lazor finishing 8th in 30.37.

So, while they would have been favored to win there, they likely only would have had 1 swimmer advance beyond the prelims.

On the other hand, in the 50 back, London’s Maria Kameneva and Kira Toussaint went 2-3, both losing to DC Trident’s Linnea Mack. So while neither swimmer on paper enters as the favorite, at least in the first round, they have a better chance of advancing multiple swimmers to the semi-finals.

Toussaint, who was 3rd in the 50 back, might actually be the favorite if she comes safely through the opening round – she was 2nd in the 200 backstroke on Sunday.

With what we saw happen with Jackpot points in the skins events on Saturday in Meet 1, it’s clear that unlike last year, winning can be far more important than getting multiple swimmers into the semi-finals. And Atkinson had easily the best 100 breaststroke time of the field on Sunday, showing that her endurance is in check too.

It may not matter. What might be most important for London is to simply “not get Jacked” rather than “to win,” given that they enter Sunday with a 97-point lead, and with 2 swimmers in the semi-finals, you get a little more control over that.

Regardless, London enters day 2 of the meet with the upper-hand against a field that they’ve generally overwhelmed so far.

The Trident, currently in 4th place, will celebrate. They’ve got the best chance besides the choosers from London, to win a skins race. What we learned on Sunday is that there really isn’t much movement to be made in the skins unless you are the winner, and so having a chance to win is ultimately what matters.

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3 years ago

That sucks. I was hoping for mens brst purely to see how Peaty held together for 3 50s out of curiosity.

Coach Mike 1952
3 years ago

Also, typo – should it not read “Toussaint, who was 3rd in the 50 back, might actually be the favorite if she comes safely through the opening round – she was 2nd in the 200 backstroke on Sunday”? TYVM

3 years ago

Lazor got dead last in the 50, she’s not a great sprint breaststroker, I would understand this choice. Even if she has the endurance not much confidence for her on the first round. If Mack was disqualified for a 15 m violation Roar would’ve gone 1-2 in the 50 back, and this could give them more highly placing swimmers. Toussaint looks perfect for this race: superb at the 50 (maybe her primary event) and also did great in the 200 (range and endurance).

Jabroni Pepperoni
3 years ago

Shouldn’t this read “Skins Races” not “Jackpot Races?”

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

If Murphy were here would be a great race

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Diener went faster than Murphy…

Reply to  DMacNCheez
3 years ago

I am talking about the skins

On the 50 itself Murphy would been 3Rd only Here

Reply to  Jabroni Pepperoni
3 years ago

Remember yesterday? Skin races and jackpot races were the same thing.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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