This year’s International Swimming League has given us some of the most exciting races and fastest swims of the season so far. With just two matches out of six left in the regular season, we have a pretty good idea of what four teams will be heading to the final showdown in Las Vegas. Energy Standard currently sit in first place in Europe, followed by London Roar. In the US, the Cali Condors and LA Current lead the way, and it would take a veritable freakish performance for either of them to be knocked from the Las Vegas final.
The league’s next match will take place in the Natatorium at the Eppley Recreation Center, Washington DC on November 16th and 17th. Racing that weekend are all the US-based teams; Cali Condors, LA Current, NY Breakers and DC Trident in what the ISL is calling the “U.S. Derby” meet.
1. Minna Atherton’s 100m Backstroke World Record
Top spot has got to go to 19-year-old Atherton’s World Record in the 100m backstroke. She set a new Commonwealth and Australian Record in the Women’s 4x100m medley relay earlier that evening in a time of 55.12, only to later become the first woman ever under the 55 second mark in 54.89. This is the first World Record the ISL has seen, and will be ratified by FINA. Katinka Hozzsu previously held the World Record for this event with 55.03, a time she swam back in 2014.
2. Katie Ledecky’s American (and near World) Record in the 400m Free
In Match 1 of ISL, hosted in Indianapolis, Katie Ledecky set a new American Record in the 400m freestyle in a time of 3.54.06, shaving a considerable 3 seconds off Katie Hoff’s previous record of 3.57.07. Ledecky narrowly missed out on the World Record by just 0.14, currently held by Australia’s Ariarne Titmus (3.53.92). Titmus was in Action for the Cali Condors in the same event, however Ledecky went out hard, edging ahead after 75m. Ledecky held and grew that lead throughout the race, with Titmus finishing second overall ahead of third place and fellow DC Trident teammate, Hali Flickinger.
3. Ranomi Kromowidjojo Dominates Skins for 2nd Week Running
Ranomi Kromowidjojo has put on an impressive display in all the ISL matches she has competed in so far. The skins events have been electric to watch, and Kromowidjoj has delivered victory for Team Iron in both skins events she has raced in. In Lewisville, she battled it out against London Roar’s Emma McKweon, but managed to out-touched the Australian winning a whopping 27 points for her team.
In Budapest, it was London Roar’s Cate Campbell who was up against Kromowidjojo in the final skins race. Ranomi once again held off her opponent, finishing a full body-length ahead of Campbell to take home another valuable win for Iron.
4. Caeleb Dressel’s Explosive Swims in Naples
After missing Match 1 in Indy, Caeleb Dressel made his ISL debut in Naples with a double win in the 50m individual freestyle and skins events. Both times he was racing Energy Standards’ Florent Manaudou, who won the skins events in Indy. This exciting pairing saw Dressel pull out a 20.64 to win the individual, as well as a 21.05, 21.31, and 21.33 sequence in the skins event, beating Manaudou by 1.8 seconds. These swims warranted him the title of MVP in Naples, and made for some of the most exciting swims across the entire weekend.
5. Chad le Clos Retains 100m Butterfly Title
Energy Standard Team Captain Chad le Clos managed to retain his 100m Butterfly title from Indy in what was a nail-bitingly close finish between him and Caeleb Dressel. In Match 1, he clocked a winning time of 49.65. However in Naples, he was pushed by Dressel to go under that and won the race by just 0.01 of a second with 49.35. Dressel won the 50m Butterfly in Naples, but le Clos clawed back the win in the 100m for his team.
6. Adam Peaty Secures Win in 50m Breaststroke in Budapest
Adam Peaty is known for his incredible closing-speed, but over a 50 it’s definitely harder to gain any ground over his competitors given the deficit he often has off the blocks. Peaty showed us it’s not impossible though when he took the win for London Road in Budapest last month. Vladimir Morozov of Iron was first to the touch at 25m, but Peaty fought back and out-touched the Russian swimmer to win in a time of 25.85. He continued his winning streak in the 100m breaststroke, swimming 56.19. These two times are the fastest in the world this year, a fantastic start to the Olympic Cycle from Peaty.
7. Sarah Sjostrom’s MVP Worthy Performance in Indy
Sarah Sjostrom kicked off the the first ISL Match with a bang, racking up 5 wins in total in Indianapolis. She made history by winning the first ever ISL event, the women’s 100m butterfly, in a time of 55.65. She continued her winning streak across the weekend, winning the 50m butterfly (25.16), the 50m freestyle (23.58), the 100m freestyle (51.76) and the skins race. Her dominant form has granted her the title of highest-earner so far in the ISL, with a total of $31,400.
8. Breno Correia’s Back-To-Back 200m Freestyle Wins
Aqua Centurions originally had Travis Mahoney on their roster to race the 200m free in Indy, but subbed in Correia as a last minute substitute. He stepped up to the challenge, claiming the win in 1.44.21 ahead of fellow DC swimmer Poul Zellmann (1.44.71), and Cali Condor’s Kacper Majchzrak (1.44.90). The following week in Naples, Correia was in the 200m free lineup again, where he took home a second win for the Centurions. This time, he clocked 1.43.56 to out-touch Majchzrak (1.43.58) once again, as well as Energy Standard’s Ivan Girev. Correia has been one of the big surprises of the season so far, and has given the kind of story that will help build this league.