The regular season of the 2021 International Swimming League in Naples, Italy, has showcased some incredible swims including both League and World Records. Here, we look at the top-10 performances of the 2021 ISL regular season.
Note that not every performance highlighted here is a major record, rather, we have chosen to focus on the races that were the most electric. Some were records while others were simply dog-fights or blow-outs.
1: Coleman Stewart‘s 100 Backstroke World Record (Match 2)
The Cali Condor’s Coleman Stewart blasted a 48.33 in the men’s 100 backstroke in Match 2, lowering Kliment Kolesnikov‘s 2020 World Record by o.25. Also, for the first time in ISL history, Stewart’s jackpotted the seven other swimmers in the field, stealing all of their points resulting in a 37-point haul for the Cali Condors.
Stewart flipped at 50 meters in 23.45 and produced a 24.88 on the second 50 meters. Prior to breaking the World Record Stewart also broke the American Record in the 100 backstroke with a 48.91 on day 1 of Match 2, lowering Matt Grevers‘ 2015 mark by 0.01.
2: Caeleb Dressel vs Daiya Seto, Men’s 200 IM (Match 6)
Perhaps no records were broken in this race, but seeing Daiya Seto, the World Record holder in the 400 IM, clash with Caeleb Dressel, the World Record holder in the 100 IM, was thrilling. Both men turned even at the 50-meter mark, though Seto out-split Dressel by nearly a second on the backstroke. Though Dressel is a great breaststroker he made up no ground on Seto in the third 50, in fact, Seto extended his lead. Dressel surged over the final 50 freestyle, splitting a 25.72 to Seto’s 27.02, making up 1.30 of a a 1.32-second deficit to touch just 0.02 behind Seto. (Watch the race here.)
DRESSEL VS SETO
3: Sarah Sjostrom‘s ISL Record — Women’s 50 Freestyle (Match 3)
Energy Standard’s Sarah Sjostrom blasted a 23.17 in the 50 freestyle in Match 3, lowering Ranomi Kromowidjojo‘s (Iron) ISL Record of 23.29 set during the inaugural 2019 ISL season. Sjostrom’s swim is the 3rd-fastest of her career and ranks as the 5th-fastest performance all-time–only Sjostrom and Kromowidjojo, the World Record holder, have been faster. Sjostrom’s swim jackpotted five other swimmers in the heat for a total of 24 points, meanwhile, Kromowidjojo placed 3rd in 24.04. Sjostrom’s performance is made more impressive by the fact that she spent much of 2021 rehabilitating a broken elbow.
4: Summer McIntosh‘s Canadian Record, Women’s 400 Freestyle (Match 5)
15-year-old Summer McIntosh shaved more than 3 seconds off the Canadian Record in the 400 freestyle in Match 5, producing a 3:58.78 to win the race by nearly 3 seconds and haul in 14 total points. McIntosh turned 2nd at the 100-meter checkpoint to pick up an additional 4 points and then jackpotted one other swimmer in the heat to earn her 14-point total. McIntosh took a whole 3.45 seconds off the former record of 4:02.23, formerly held by Mary-Sophie Harvey, a Canadian swimmer who represents Energy Standard in the ISL.
=5: Kelsi Dahlia — Women’s 100 Butterfly (Match 4)
Kelsi Dahlia delivered a new ISL Record in the very first race of Match 4, erasing the former mark set by Beryl Gastaldello of the LA Current in 2020. Dahlia’s mark of 55.22 equals another effort of her own as the 16th-fastest performance ever in the women’s 100 SCM butterfly. Dahlia has also proven the Condors’ most valuable performer in the women’s 50 and 200 butterfly, and has been a vital member of the 4 x 100 freestyle relays as well.
=5: Louise Hansson — Women’s 100 Butterfly & 100 Fly Split, 4 x 100 Medley Relay (Match 5)
Maybe it would be more appropriate to call this “equal 5th” a “triple-equal-5th” since we’re giving Louise Hansson credit for two swims here, though they came in the same match and are both in the 100 butterfly (kind of). First, to kick off Match 5, Hansson swam the 2nd-fastest time in ISL history with a 55.26 in the women’s 100 fly. If not for Dahlia breaking the record just days earlier, Hansson would have lowered the mark with this swim. Then, later in the same session, Hansson blasted a 54.73 split on Toronto’s 4 x 100 medley relay, which unofficially ranks as the 2nd-fastest all-time. As the relay was made up of swimmers from multiple nations it will not be recognized by FINA, but we recognize her performance for what it is–incredible.
7: Nicholas Santos — Men’s 50 Butterfly (Match 10)
Iron’s Nicholas Santos produced a monster 21.83 in the men’s 50 butterfly in Match 10, winning the race by a full 0.58 and jackpotting 5 other swimmers in the field. Santos’ swim came in as the 6th-fastest all-time and the 2nd-fastest in ISL history. Santos, who is 41-years-old, is the World and ISL Record holder in the men’s 50 butterfly and appears on-form to improve upon his own best times (assuming Iron advances to Eindhoven).
8: Evgenia Chikunova — Women’s 200 Breaststroke (Match 9)
Energy Standard’s 16-year-old Evgenia Chikunova lowered her own World Junior Record in the women’s 200 breaststroke in Match 9, touching the wall in a 2:17.57, just 0.14 under her previous mark, set in December 2019. In doing so, Chikunova won the race by over two seconds and jackpotted 3 other swimmers in the heat for a total haul of 15 points. Though Chikunova’s swim is not the top time in the 200 breaststroke in the ISL this season it is the only World Junior Record broken so far in season 3.
9: Alberto Razzetti Breaks Oldest Italian National Record (Match 5)
Alberto Razzetti, who represents the Toronto Titans in the ISL, broke the oldest Italian National swimming Record on the books with a 4:01.57 in the men’s 400 IM in Match 5. The former record was set nearly 15 years prior by Luca Marin at the 2006 European Championships at 4:01.71. Razzetti’s swim not only broke Marin’s record but won the race by over a second. Because Razzetti turned in 2nd-place at the 200-meter checkpoint he earned a total of 13 points for Toronto in the race. Razzetti’s best time in the 400 SCM Im prior to the 2021 ISL season had stood at 4:08.43, set in 2018. Razzetti has also lowered the Italian Record in the 200 butterfly twice this season while competing in Naples.
10: Ingrid Wilm — Women’s 100 Backstroke Canadian National Record (Match 7)
Canada’s Ingrid Wilm, swimming for the LA Current, has lowered the Canadian Record in the 100 backstroke three times in Naples. First, Wilm swam a 55.94 in Match 4 to take 0.08 off of Kylie Masse’s 2016 National Record. Then in Match 5 Wilm blasted a 55.68 to slice a further 0.26 from her week-old record. Then, one final time in Match 8 Wilm swam a 55.61 to shave a further 0.07 from her new record.
With her recent 55.61 Wilm is the 9th-fastest performer all-time in the event and the 2nd-fastest ever from the Americas.