SwimSwam Pulse: NCAA vs ISL Poll Comes Down To A Single Vote

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to pick whether they were more excited for the ISL or the NCAA swim season:


Question: Which swim season are you more excited for?

  • 2020-2021 NCAA Season – 50.1%
  • 2020 ISL Season – 49.9%

It’s the closest poll we’ve ever had, with SwimSwam voters split between excitement for the NCAA and ISL seasons.

By a single vote, the NCAA season bested the ISL season.

That’s a good sign for the ISL, as SwimSwam readers are generally extremely engaged in NCAA swimming. But it also might speak to an NCAA season that is as uncertain as it has ever been. With at least one team (Arizona State) sitting the entire year out, it’s unclear whether teams will actually be able to hold conference or NCAA Championship meets. The coronavirus pandemic has ruled out all competition beyond two-team dual meets for at least this fall, and that’ll rob the NCAA season of some of its usual luster.

The ISL is also probably riding high after its highly-followed season openers last weekend, while college swimming hasn’t really had any major events yet beyond some fast intrasquads and some sparse dual meets.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters for their opinion on the new ISL jackpot rules:

How do you feel about ISL jackpot rules? (can select multiple)

View Results

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner

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IU Swammer
7 months ago

I like the jackpot concept, but they need to make it a little harder to get and off the table for skins. Right now, the majority of races have a jackpot award. They should shoot for less then a third of races.

Reply to  IU Swammer
7 months ago

And make sure it doesn’t apply to money. Stealing money from other swimmers i horrible and goes against the purpose of the league – make pro swimming more accessible to more people.

Reply to  PVSFree
7 months ago

I think the problem with that is the flat base rate. If you pay all swimmers the same basic, you won’t get the Dressels and Sjostroms turning up unless there’s serious bonuses on the table.

Personally I think reducing everyone’s base slightly, having jackpots made much harder and then paying really big jackpot bonuses from a central pool (accrued from the basic rate reductions) would work better, assuming you don’t just put more money in.

Reply to  Togger
7 months ago

Sjostrom and Dressel are already doing well with money. All the firsts and seconds they get add up.

Reply to  PVSFree
7 months ago

I feel like because the jackpot seems easy to get in most races it takes away some of the strategy especially when it comes to relays now instead of trying to balance the relays teams are better off stacking one team and stealing the double points. Just imagine how over powered that would be for the Roar at their best Atherton, Akitson, McKeon, and Campbell for medley and both Campbell’s, McKeon, plus another both teams would have an easy double point sweep. I like the idea but it needs to be more challenging to steal points.

Reply to  IU Swammer
7 months ago

I think the jackpot will be more difficult to come by in the championships (or will mostly only grab 1-3 points when it happens), so I think it’ll provide the intended shakeup then without being ridiculous, but right now it’s just highlighting who the strong teams are and making for a less exciting event. Part of the excitement of the head to head competition is that there is a chance the underdog could pull it out (March Madness), but in season jackpots make it impossible for the weaker teams to even put up a solid fight.

I’d also like to see the team that is losing after day one be the team that gets to chose the skins.

Swim fan
Reply to  Blackflag82
7 months ago

That last part would be very interesting

Reply to  IU Swammer
7 months ago

I think it would be best if they limited the jackpot to just one race each day to the swimmer who had the largest margin of victory in an event.

Reply to  IU Swammer
7 months ago

The jackpot almost feels like a “American ninja warrior” game show concept. Set money amounts for each place, with a reasonable minimum cut time required for the event, should be all there is to it. If this is gonna be a serious sports league, get rid of all gimmicks. The stealing of money is crazy, and stealing of points removes the need for mid-level talent. A draft of non-protected (2 men 2 women) swimmers also needs to happen, if this is to be a real sports league. it’s wicked awesome to see more short course racing, glad the ISL is here, so let’s keep the teams even to better showcase those that rise to the occasion

7 months ago

I voted NCAA season because there’s more unpredictability and a close battle, and opportunities to see a real breakout star. ISL swimmers are all good to some extent, but NCAA swimmers can go from completely nameless to a big star. For some reason, fast NCAA meets at this point make me more excited than ISL meets. Even if the season is very unpredictable I’m still looking forward to it.

Steve Nolan
7 months ago

The thinking behind the jackpots were in the right place, but yeah, could use some tweaking. Given that it’s possible to make it through all 3 rounds of skins and end up with zero points from it – while very funny – probably isn’t ideal for that person .

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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