2020 INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE – FINAL
- Saturday, November 21: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM CET (8 AM – 10 AM U.S. Eastern, 10 PM – 12 AM Japan)
- Sunday, November 22: 6:00 PM-8:00 PM CET (12 PM-2 PM U.S. Eastern, 2 AM-4 AM Monday J+1 Japan)
- Duna Arena – Budapest, Hungary
- Short Course Meters (SCM) format
- ISL Technical Handbook
- 2020 ISL Scoring Format
- 2020 ISL Prize Money and Bonuses
- How To Watch
- Teams: Energy Standard / Cali Condors / London Roar / LA Current
- Day 1 Start Lists
- Omega Results
If you were able to scan our post regarding start lists for today, day 1 of the International Swimming League (ISL) final, then you know there were some notable 11th-hour changes between what was planned and what actually happened with some London Roar swims.
A shuffling of events primarily among Guilherme Guido, Duncan Scott and Kira Toussaint left some wondering if these last-minute changes were a result of strategic energy-saving tactics or simply an attempt to psych out the competition by keeping them in the dark and unable to react in time.
Whatever the reason, on the whole, the changes didn’t appear to render the desired results, as Roar currently sits 3rd among the 4 teams, holding just a 22.5-point advantage over last place LA Current. Having lost both medley relays, getting skins selection is now out-of-play, which puts the squad at the mercy of what CAC and ENS decide.
With that in mind, let’s break down the start-list-to-swim alterations and their subsequent impact for London Roar.
Change #1 – No Kira Toussaint in the Women’s 50m Back
Despite appearing on the start lists in the 50m back, Dutch national record holder and newly-minted World Record holder in the event, Kira Toussaint, was nowhere to be found when the starting gun went off. With Roar trailing both ENS and CAC, the thought was that Toussaint was being saved for an all-in swim come the medley relay after already having swum the 200m back earlier in the session.
Instead, London Roar went with Kathleen Dawson to join Mariia Kameneva for the 50m back, with the pair finishing in 8th and 7th place, respectively. Together they reaped 3.0 points, which is a far cry from the 10 points Toussaint collected last week alone with her semifinal win, while Kameneva earned 4 points in that same race for 14 total.
Adding salt to the wound today is the fact that Toussaint wasn’t the fastest opening leg on the medley relay. Although she hit a solid leadoff of 56.16, she was smoked by Cali Condors’ Olivia Smoliga, who fired off a monster 55.60 to set the stage for an ultimate CAC victory in the event. With that win, CAC gets to deal a potentially fatal competitive blow of selecting the skins discipline for tomorrow.
Change #2 – Guilherme Guido Makes 50m Back Appearance
In nearly the opposite of what happened with Toussaint, Guilherme Guido wound up lining up behind the blocks for the 50m back when his name was missing from the start lists. According to what was provided prior to the meet start, London Roar had entered Luke Greenbank and Christian Diener.
Surprise! Guido hopped in to put his feet on the ledge for the 50m back after all. However, the Brazilian’s usual finesse fell short, with the Roar member producing just a time of 23.02 to tie ENS’ Evgeny Rylov for 3rd place. Guido snagged 5.5 points in the process, which is off his massive 12 points from semifinal #1 or even his 7 points from the match prior to that.
Diener remained as Guido’s partner in crime, with the German hitting 23.35 for 4 points in the race.
Come to the medley relay, Guido produced a backstroke lead-off leg of 49.59, which represented the 3rd fastest split of the field. For perspective, Guido was 50.19 when Roar won this men’s medley event in match #8, 49.50 in match #5, and 50.25 in match #2.
Change #3 – Dunks Trades 200m IM for 50m Free
Versatile Duncan Scott can essentially swim anything, but in an ISL final where jackpots are a looming game-changing threat, London Roar needed to buckle down and use their Scottish star wisely.
In this vein, although he was originally listed as the 50m freestyle participant for Roar along with Mikhail Vekovishchev, Scott was a no-show for the splash n’ dash. Instead, it was 200m backstroke point-earner Greenbank who tried to hang with the thoroughbred racers in the 50m free.
Both Vekovishchev and Greenbank fell to the bottom of the pack with the former placing 6th, earning zero points, while Greenbank placed 8th and was jacked for his far-behind 22.58 lane-filler swim.
For comparison, semifinal-only swimmer Katsumi Nakamura snagged 5 points for Roar last week while Vekovishchev reaped 4 points, so the Roar’s -1 result here was well behind the 9 from the SF.
Taking on the 200m IM as his only individual event on the day, then, Scott replaced start-listed Vini Lanza in the actual race. Scott wound up placing 3rd in a time of 1:51.96, just off his big-time British record-setting swim of 1:51.66 from last week. Even that kind of performance wouldn’t have put a stop to what LAC’s Andrew Seliskar was throwing down tonight, with the former Cal Bear crashing the party with a 1:51.53 ISL-leading effort.
Scott’s teammate Andreas Vazaios was next in line, getting the runner-up slot with 7 points to add to Scott’s 6 to render Roar with 13 in total.
Going back to Scott’s 50m free disappearance, the 23-year-old has shown us time and time again he can handle a multi-event, rapid-fire lineup, a la his famous BUCS double-digit racing routines. Plus, the man has a lifetime best of 21.25 in the 50m free. However, even if he was at that PB today in Budapest, he would have brought home zero points against the biggest guns the ISL has to offer in this event, so, in this case against the likes of Manaudou and Dressel, leaving him out made sense.
Even after the analysis, the question for fans and competing teams is how these last-minute London Roar changeups are perceived – as strategic gameplay or teetering toward crossing the good sportsmanship line.