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will restrict Australian participation in next month’s ISL season, with most of the country’s swimmers having already withdrawn from the season. 28 Australians were announced as part of the league’s 2020 lineup last week.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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10 months ago

Roar finna trade 5 draft picks for Dressel

10 months ago

Lots of drama in this ISL

10 months ago

Chalmers is injured? I am off to his pool for some lap swimming now , will ask what it is about if I see him 🙂

Reply to  Torchbearer
10 months ago

So did you see him?

10 months ago

Such a pity. The racing would have been awesome. Not sure why the the tennis players and cyclists can compete overseas but not swimmers. .????

Reply to  Aussie
10 months ago

There’s track and field athletes in Europe too. I think the longer an athlete will remain overseas the more likely they’ll get approved and maybe the 5 weeks for ISL just isn’t long enough. The tennis players for instance are likely to stay out for most of the rest of the year.

Last edited 10 months ago by Troyy
Reply to  Troyy
10 months ago

That’s an interesting take. I wonder if Konstantin would put them all in camp in Turkey for 6 months.

While I haven’t seen anything in writing, some around the league are grumbling that this move by Swimming Australia is in part to protect their domestic short course national championship. They don’t want all of their stars to be off racing in Budapest on November 26.

Reply to  Braden Keith
10 months ago

I was betting that the short course nationals would be cancelled due to border closures etc. plus they are scheduled for Victoria and that state has had the worst numbers by far for covid. The big guns were not at National short course in 2019 and it gave some teenagers a chance to shine.
(btw I don’t think swimmers would want to leave their coaches for 6 months would they?)

Reply to  Braden Keith
10 months ago

Could you imagine telling your national athletes that they can’t go to what might end up being one of the biggest swimming events ever because you want them to go to your sc nationals? ALLEGEDLY

Corn Pop
Reply to  Swammer
10 months ago

This is not the case at all . Melbourne is still in lockdown with a curfew. The only good sign is the Military medical is beginning to leave soon. 600 dead yet other states have had no cases for 150 days – madness.

It is to me, ridiculous that they have not cancelled SCM Nats simply because swimmers would all still need to quarantine on return .in Nov which is school exam time . SCM season finishes Aug 31anyhow .

Reply to  Troyy
10 months ago

And when they return after 6 months or whatever, they would gladly quarantine….not sure swimmers want to do in early December and then miss some for Holidays going into final months to Trials!

Reply to  Aussie
10 months ago

Many if not most AUS cyclists racing at WT level base themselves, and have residency, in Europe and this is almost certainly the case with pro tennis players. As a result, they were caught up when Western Europe went into hard lockdown which the bulk of AUS (other than the state of Victoria) has never had to but the trade-off has been not being caught up by requiring travel clearance.

Reply to  commonwombat
10 months ago

at least a few tennis players were based in Brisbane during covid , and only flew out in August.

10 months ago

London roar would be decimated

Reply to  Verram
10 months ago

They are, no Aussies going!

Corn Pop
10 months 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 .

10 months 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.

Off The Blocks
10 months 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.