2021 INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE – SEASON 3, MATCH 17 – PLAYOFFS MATCH 6
- Saturday, November 27th – Sunday, November 28th
- 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm local time; 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST
- Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands
- Short Course Meters (25m – SCM) Format
- ISL Season 3 Schedules, Start Times, & More
- Match Preview
- Start Lists
- Live Results
- Day 1 Live Recap
- Teams Competing: Cali Condors, Toronto Titans, Aqua Centurions, Iron
TEAM POINTS – DAY 1
- Aqua Centurions – 264 points
- Cali Condors – 250 points
- Iron – 205 points
- Toronto Titans – 180 points
Playoff Match 6 was the Toronto Titans’ last chance to make the 2021 League Final. Though they would need to beat season 2 champs the Cali Condors, this didn’t seem like such a long shot, given their regular season performances. However, injuries and a handful of withdrawals from the November meets left the Titans weakened. On Saturday, the Titans’ hopes of advancing to the finale disappeared, and the team that looked like it might challenge for the match victory is now fighting not to get 4th.
The Aqua Centurions had a big session on day 1 of the 6th and final match of the 2021 ISL Playoffs. Going into day 2, the Aqua Centurions hold a 14-point lead over the Cali Condors. Nevertheless, the Aqua Centurions, even if they win Playoffs Match 6, cannot advance to the League Final, which will take place in Eindhoven December 3rd and 4th. Earlier this season, the Toronto Titans showed signs that hey could potentially break into the illustrious top-4, but those hopes have been dashed.
For the third-straight season, the same four teams will compete in the ISL Finale. The teams that advance are not a coincidence: they are the four teams that were based on the originally-planned pre-ISL 2018 Energy for Swim meet, an event that was ultimately canceled. And so Energy Standard, the London Roar, the Cali Condors, and the LA Current were the four teams that, even three years ago, had such an overwhelming recruiting advantage that even now, after years of free agency and a draft, has still left them with a dominant advantage. Two teams from the United States and two teams from Europe: the ISL’s original formula.
At the beginning of the season, the Toronto Titans looked like they would break into the top-4 and qualify for the 2021 League Final. Not only did they win Match 5 in Naples, but they finished just 15 points behind season 1 winners Energy Standard in Match 1 in Naples. However, making the Final became increasingly less likely the more the playoffs went on. Now, with Playoff Match 6 in full swing, and following the LA Current’s 3rd-place finish in Playoff Match 5, there was only one way the Toronto Titans could move onto the 2021 Final: win Playoff Match 6. In order to do this, the Titans would have to take down season 2 champions the Cali Condors. This seemed like a long shot, but not unattainable. Similarly, the Aqua Centurions and Iron appeared to be the two teams fighting for 3rd place behind Cali and the Titans. However, half-way through Playoff Match 6 the Titans are sitting in 4th place with their hopes of making the final effectively gone.
Of course, the Toronto Titans are not among the original four teams envisioned for Energy for Swim, or even the original eight teams of season one. The Toronto Titans started in season two and relied on recruiting swimmers from other teams as well as those who would be new to the ISL altogether, an uphill battle when Energy Standard, the London Roar, the Cali Condors, and the LA Current could all say they’re season one “finalists.” The Tokyo Frog Kings had this same trouble, and of course, they didn’t even make the playoffs.
Worse yet, while some teams were able to save their top athletes for the playoffs–think Ryan Murphy and the LA Current–the Toronto Titans lost many key players as the post-season kicked off.
The Titans have been plagued with injuries to their roster, particularly on the men’s side, resulting in a meager 8-man roster for Playoff Match 6. That is to say, the Titans have only 8 men competing this weekend in men’s events, not 8 swimmers altogether. This has caused the Titans to use swimmers in events they don’t normally do, swimming only in order to not be deducted 4 points for leaving a lane open. The Titans implemented this strategy in Playoff Match 2. Saturday, we saw it in full effect as numerous swimmers coasted their races just to provide a body for the lane. Notable examples include Marius Kusch posting a 26.16 in the men’s 50 freestyle and one of the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay teams swimming a 3:57.61, an instance in which two swimmers posted splits of over one minute. For reference, this performance is more than 7 seconds slower than the cutoff time in the men’s individual 400 freestyle and more than 40 seconds slower than the cutoff time in the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay itself.
By contrast, the Aqua Centurions were dominant in the men’s relays today. The Centurions won the men’s medley relay, incurring a 12-point jackpot, and placed 5th, reeling in a total of 38 points and earning the right to choose the stroke of the men’s 50 skins race for day 2. Though head coach Matteo Giunta appeared mildly frustrated that Cali eliminated butterfly and Iron eliminated breaststroke, Giunta ultimately settled on backstroke for the men’s skins, a decision that might help Iron more than any other team. The Aqua Centurions had no say in the women’s skins selection, which will be butterfly, a decision made by Cali Condor head coach Jeff Julian.
- Iron eliminates backstroke
- Toronto Titans eliminate breaststroke
- Cali Condors choose butterfly
- Cali Condors eliminate butterfly
- Iron eliminates breaststroke
- Aqua Centurions choose backstroke
Other Notable Swims
- Matteo Rivolta of the Aqua Centurions blasted a 48.64 in the men’s 100 butterfly to take nearly half a second off of his weeks-old Italian Record. Rivolta missed the European Record in the men’s 100 SCM butterfly, which was set by Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin in 2009 in a now-banned polyurethane “super suit” in 48.48 seconds. This swim netted Rivolta 24 points–9 for winning the race and 15 for jackpotting 5 of the other swimmers.
- Aqua Centurion and Italian National teammates Fabio Scozzoli and Nicolo Martinenghi tied in the men’s 50 breaststroke and jackpotted Cali’s Kevin Cordes and Iron’s Erik Persson, nabbing a total of 19 points for the Centurions, or 9.5 points each: 1st place = 9 points; 2nd place = 7 points; Cordes-Persson jackpot = 3 points.
- The Aqua Centurion men won 48 points in the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay, which equates to a 26-point jackpot, stealing the points from 5 of the other relay squads in the race. On the other end of the spectrum, four of the other teams in the heat failed to meet the cutoff time of 3:15.00, resulting in -2.0 point deductions for each of the four teams competing in the match.