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will restrict Australian participation in next month’s ISL season, with most of the country’s swimmers having already withdrawn from the season. 28 Australians were announced as part of the league’s 2020 lineup last week.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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8 months ago

Roar finna trade 5 draft picks for Dressel

8 months ago

Lots of drama in this ISL

8 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
8 months ago

So did you see him?