Travel Restrictions To Keep Some Australians Out of 2020 ISL Season

Pandemic travel restrictions will restrict Australian participation in next month’s ISL season, with most of the country’s swimmers having already withdrawn from the season. 28 Australians were announced as part of the league’s 2020 lineup last week.

Australia is still prohibiting international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic. As a rule, that also includes athletic-related travel, as noted on the Australian Institute of Sport website.

SwimSwam has learned that Swimming Australia denied an exemption to at least one ISL athlete. Swimming Australia could withdraw financial support from athletes who travel internationally without an approved exemption, and has threatened that doing so could be considered a breach of Swimming Australia‘s Code of Conduct.

Meanwhile one other Australian swimmer is still planning to compete in the ISL regardless of the travel ban. It’s unclear if that swimmer is receiving financial support from Swimming Australia.

We’ve reached out to other Australian athletes for more information on their statuses. Swimming Australia has not yet returned our multiple requests for comment on the situation.

The ISL season does conflict with the 2020 Australian Short Course Swimming Championships, which is scheduled to begin in Melbourne on November 26. The ISL regular season is currently scheduled to begin on October 16 and run through to “mid-November,” with the post-season planned to begin a few weeks later, likely either in Budapest or Tokyo.

While some athletes would be done with their ISL commitments by November 26, many would not – especially true for the Australian-heavy London Roar team, which would be favored to return to the final.

It’s not clear if all Australian athletes will be barred from competing in the ISL this year. As of yesterday, Australian standout Emma McKeon appeared on a podcast with swim coach Brett Hawkesaying “we have to wait and see what the government says,” with participation still up in the air.

But Hawke tweeted today that “no Aussies” would be able to compete in the ISL:

It’s still unclear if the restrictions will limit all Australian athletes, or if there is any acceptable justification that Swimming Australia would allow for an athlete to participate.

The ISL originally wanted to set its second season in Australia. But as COVID-19 cases in the country grew and Australia locked down travel protocols, the ISL changed course and wound up settling on Budapest, Hungary as a host site for the five-week training and competition camp.

Australian athletes make up a big portion of the ISL’s current rosters. 28 Australians dotted eight of the league’s ten franchises, based on rosters revealed last week. That includes Minna Athertonwho broke the first world record of ISL competition last year.

Though it appears unrelated to the travel bans, Australian Olympic champ Kyle Chalmers posted on Instagram today noting that he will not be competing in the ISL season due to injury. Chalmers was one of the top talents on the London Roar, last year’s second-place team:

Australians by Team:

Energy Standard (1):

London Roar (9):

Iron (1):

  • Jessica Hansen

Aqua Centurions (2):

  • Maddie Groves
  • Travis Mahoney

Cali Condors (5):

  • Jack Cartwright
  • Meg Harris
  • Mitch Larkin
  • Clyde Lewis
  • Ariarne Titmus

LA Current (1):

  • Madi Wilson

DC Trident (2):

  • Tristan Hollard
  • Leiston Pickett

NY Breakers (7):

  • Meg Bailey
  • Abbey Harkin
  • Cameron McEvoy
  • Mollie O’Callaghan
  • Mikkayla Sheridan
  • Brendon Smith
  • Matthew Temple

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3 years ago

Back in March, the Australian Govt was the first country to ban all of our Olympic athletes from attending Tokyo 2020 prior to the postponement of the games so I do not believe Swimming Australia is responsible or has any ulterior motive.

Reply to  SWIMFAN
3 years ago

I’m not sure which country was the first to “ban” Olympic athletes from participating, but Canada was the first to publicly announce that they wouldn’t send teams. Australia was shortly after.

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Doesn’t really matter which was first. My point was that our Govt stepped in very early & it applied to all athletes not just swimmers so my opinion is that Swimming Australia does not have any hidden agenda. Considering the current political controversies between the PM, Federal Govt & States (particularly Qld) regarding some questionable exemptions, I believe it very unlikely that special exemptions would now be granted by the Federal Govt especially considering the current limitations placed by the Govt on numbers returning to Australia relating to quarantine accommodation etc. This has had a serious impact on the airlines resulting in numerous last minute flight cancellations.

3 years ago

Who do swimming australia think they are to block Australian Swimmers from making a living. Some serious questions need to be asked as to what their agenda is?

3 years ago

None are going anywhere!

The unoriginal Tim
3 years ago

Only a couple if weeks ago an Aussie woman flew over to England and swam to France and then went home. How can that be allowed but professional sport in a controlled environment isn’t?

That being said the Audtrailian government has to be strict as they have been fairly good so far and having a significant outbreak now would look very bad.

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
3 years ago

For now, Swimming Australia seems to be the organization dropping the hammer and making the threats without the federal governments involvement. 30-something English Channel swimmers aren’t really under their thumbs the way these swimmers are.

3 years ago

With some of the biggest stars missing and lack of competition with ES looking like they will run away with it, could we expect a delay in ISL s2?

Off The Blocks
3 years ago

Short course nationals in Melbourne (Victoria) will not proceed. Swimming Australia are instead coordinating a Virtual Short Course Nationals on the 5th & 6th December, with numerous meets running simultaneously around the country.

3 years ago

It’s gonna be the Energy Standard show without a full strength Roar there. NY Breakers’ team was already weak and now they’ve also lost 7 Australians.

Corn Pop
3 years ago

The price we pay for being able to live a 97% normal life is heavily restricted travel both interstate & overseas.
If they g e t permission , well & good , but if not , too bad . Suck it up .