Who Should Each ISL Team Retain For 2021? Who Will Fall To The ISL Draft?

The International Swimming League will hold a swimmer draft for the first time in 2021. We’re navigating the new rules to project who each team should try to retain, and who will make it into the draft pool.

Draft/Player Retention Rules

First, a quick refresher on personnel rules, as announced by the league:

Each team can retain up to 16 swimmers from their 2020 rosters across six different rounds of retention:

  1. 5 pre-selected athletes to retain
  2. 4 athletes announced in round 1 of retention
  3. 3 athletes announced in round 2 of retention
  4. 2 athletes announced in round 3 of retention
  5. 1 athlete announced in round 4 of retention
  6. 1 athlete voted on by fans (this round of retention comes after the first round of the ISL draft, though)

After that, players not retained will fall to the ISL Draft Pool, where the Aqua Centurions and DC Trident will each have a first-round pick. The Draft Pool will include unretained players, but also ISL rookies, like NCAA graduates and other new ISL additions.

What’s still unclear: swimmers who signed to a team in 2020 but did not compete – are they available for retention? This applies to a very impactful group of athletes, mostly the top Australians and Japan’s Daiya Seto, who didn’t compete in last year’s season.

Full ISL Draft Explanation & Player Retention Breakdown here

Projecting Retained Players

We’ll go team by team, looking at 2019/2020 ISL production, best times, and other international results to help project our early picks for which players should be retained in each round. We’ll start with the highest-finishing teams from last season.

Note: these are not reports of who the teams will be keeping – it’s our analysis of who teams should keep. As always, there are outside factors that come into play, and athletes may, in some cases, be able to avoid retention if they really want to swim for a specific team.

The other wrinkle, of course, is which swimmers plan to retire after the Tokyo Olympics and which swimmers will continue through future ISL seasons. We’ll assume ISL teams have more inside info on those decisions than we do, and for now, we’re not really projecting for retirements.

*As noted above, it’s still unclear if swimmers who didn’t compete in 2020 are able to be retained. We’ll make special note of those athletes below.

Cali Condors

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Caeleb Dressel
  2. Lilly King
  3. Olivia Smoliga
  4. Hali Flickinger
  5. Ariarne Titmus*

Most of these are no-brainers. Titmus competed for Cali in 2019 and was named to the roster in 2020 – but she didn’t compete along with most Australians. If she’s an option for retention, though, she should be a priority for Cali.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Beata Nelson
  2. Melanie Margalis
  3. Mitch Larkin*
  4. Mallory Comerford*

Larkin and Comerford both withdrew from the 2020 season, but competed for Cali in 2019. The roster is slanted very heavily toward women right now (7 women and just 2 men), but that’s also where Cali’s roster strength lies.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Molly Hannis
  2. Justin Ress
  3. Erika Brown

Retaining Hannis preserve’s Cali’s devastating women’s breaststroke punch, and sets up the “win the medley–>pick breaststroke skins–>Go 1-2” playbook that worked to perfection last year. Brown pretty much solidifies that medley relay, which was still lacking a top sprint freestyler.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Nic Fink
  2. Marcin Cieslak

Now we’re getting more into need-based retention and diverging from last year’s overall scoring numbers. Cali was lost in the breaststrokes without Fink last season.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Coleman Stewart

Stewart is young and versatile, and that carries a lot of value, in addition to his prowess as a backstroke skins entrant. There could be plenty of other options here, though, and we’ll run through a few below.

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Kelsi Dahlia, Radoslaw Kawecki, Allison Schmitt, Townley Haas, Natalie Hinds. There seems a high chance someone like Dahlia or Haas could be the fan-vote retention, if they aren’t scooped up in the first round of the draft.

It’s hard to let a young talent like Eddie Wang fall into the draft pool, but he’s mostly just a 200 fly threat at this point. Maybe the best argument against our last few retentions would be to load up on 100 freestylers for relay value. Tate Jackson could be a valuable pick, or Kacper Majchrzak.

The wild card is Australia’s Clyde Lewis, who competed for the New York Breakers in 2019, signed with Cali in 2020, but missed the 2020 season amid travel restrictions in the coronavirus pandemic. Lewis could be a high-upside retention, if he’s eligible to be retained.

Energy Standard

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Sarah Sjostrom
  2. Siobhan Haughey
  3. Chad le Clos
  4. Florent Manaudou
  5. Ilya Shymanovich

The top five individual scorers from last year, including all three skins winners. We could quibble about the order of the top 10 or so for Energy, but it doesn’t matter a whole lot who is retained first if all of them can be retained.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Evgeny Rylov
  2. Femke Heemskerk
  3. Kliment Kolesnikov
  4. Emily Seebohm

Benedetta Pilato would definitely be a contender here, but the new ISL rules appear to limit the field to athletes 18 and older, so Pilato may not be able to compete for several seasons. Rylov and Kolesnikov overlap in the backstrokes, but also both play key roles on the freestyle relays, where Energy Standard has been so deep in past seasons.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Anastasiya Shkurdai
  2. Maddy Banic
  3. Danas Rapsys

Shkurdai and Banic were both fast risers in 2020, and allow Sjostrom to focus more on freestyle and relays than on butterfly.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Ben Proud
  2. Pernille Blume

Two relatively underperforming 2020 sprinters who should be a lot more valuable in 2021. The pandemic layoff really seemed to limit Proud, who took awhile to get back into racing shape, but is a monster in the skins and relays.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Mary-Sophie Harvey

Harvey’s versatility is a nice add-on to help fill out the lineup.

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Max Litchfield, Felipe Lima, Zsuzsanna Jakabos, Georgia Davies, Matt Grevers. Litchfield would be another good, versatile option instead of Harvey in the final round.

Without Pilato, Energy Standard is notably lacking a women’s breaststroker. They could reach for a Breeja Larson or Imogen Clark out of need, but they’re probably better off trying to fill that need in the draft and free agency.

A wild card is Ivan Girev, another athlete who competed for Energy Standard in 2019 and was announced with the 2020 roster, but did not compete last year.

London Roar

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Adam Peaty
  2. Freya Anderson
  3. Emma McKeon*
  4. Cate Campbell*
  5. Minna Atherton*

Assuming McKeon, Campbell, and Atherton can be retained (they competed for London in 2019 and were on the 2020 roster, but did not compete), they are priorities. Peaty was a skins champ and difference-maker in men’s breaststroke. Anderson was a massive addition, arriving one match into the season but averaging more points per match than anyone but Peaty across the Roar’s 2020 season.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Kira Toussaint
  2. Alia Atkinson
  3. Duncan Scott
  4. Kyle Chalmers*

Atkinson and Toussaint are huge values in the skin races. Scott and Chalmers are tentpoles of the men’s relays. (Chalmers is in the same boat as McKeon, Campbell, and Atherton).

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Sydney Pickrem
  2. Guilherme Guido
  3. Marie Wattel

Three more high scorers from 2020. It’s a tough call between Guido and Diener in backstroke, where Guido was faster in the 100 last year, but Diener was a tick faster in the 50 and had a skins win.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Maria Kameneva
  2. Bronte Campbell

London keeps stacking up the free relays (their overwhelming strength) and retains backstroke skins winner Kameneva.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Marius Kusch

A little more need-based here, but Kusch fills out the butterfly leg of the medley relays.

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Kirill Prigoda, Christian Diener, Annie Lazor, Andreas Vazaios, Mikhail Vekovishchev, Vini Lanza. Diener is the toughest one to leave out here – he was a force in the backstroke skins last year. Prigoda basically falls into the same category: very productive, but sharing an event with another retained athlete (Peaty for Prigoda; Guido for Diener) that makes it tough to double up with other needs.

Katsumi Nakamura would be a good candidate. He swam only in last year’s final. London will have lots of other Australian options who didn’t compete last year but swam for the team in 2019: Alex Graham, Elijah Winnington, Holly Barratt, Matthew Wilson.

Tom Dean would also be a good candidate: he was the league’s #2 400 freestyler last year.

LA Current

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Beryl Gastaldello
  2. Ryan Murphy
  3. Tom Shields
  4. Abbey Weitzeil
  5. Anastasia Gorbenko

Not a lot of hand-wringing – these five stand pretty clearly ahead in 2020 scoring, and all five made at least one skins final.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Maxime Rooney
  2. Andi Murez
  3. Felipe Silva
  4. Kristian Gkolomeev

This group pretty much fills out the remaining top relay swimmers not already retained. LA succeeded on the strength of relays last year, and they stick to that blueprint, particularly with the “men’s medley–>pick backstroke skins–>watch Murphy go” gameplan.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Andrew Seliskar
  2. Ella Eastin*
  3. Dylan Carter

A versatile group here, including the IMer Eastin, who withdrew from last season but competed for LA in 2019.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Ali DeLoof
  2. Madi Wilson*

Wilson competed for the New York Breakers in 2019, signed with LA in 2020, but then didn’t compete.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Will Licon

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Helena Gasson, Fernando Scheffer, Aly Tetzloff, Tomoe Hvas, Julia Sebastian, Jacob Heidtmann, Josh Prenot, Alyssa Marsh.

LA still has some roster holes, especially in women’s breaststroke, but they don’t really have anyone they could retain who would return great value.

One dark horse to retain would be Apostolos Christou, who didn’t score big individually last year, but did have a key 45.9 free relay split in the final.

It’s not totally clear how retention would work for a swimmer who competed for LA in 2019 but was never announced to a team’s roster in 2020. The Current have a ton of athletes in that boat, including Ryan Held, Nathan Adrian, Kathleen Baker, Chase Kalisz, Jack Conger, and Farida Osman. Those athletes would mostly be high-priority signees if they’re able to be retained.

Iron

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Emre Sakci
  2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo
  3. Nicholas Santos
  4. Katinka Hosszu
  5. Melanie Henique

The top five individual scorers from last year. Sakci is a no-brainer. Kromowidjojo and Henique were the league’s best 50 flyers last year. Hosszu is a captain and essentially the namesake of the team, even if her scoring dipped a little in 2020.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Ida Hulkko
  2. Leonardo Santos
  3. Robert Glinta
  4. Kristof Milak*

Jenna Laukkanen has a little more range and overall scoring than Hulkko in women’s breaststroke, but Hulkko is the better 50 breaststroker and skins entrant. Milak withdrew from last season after a bout with COVID-19.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Jenna Laukkanen
  2. Maxim Lobanovszkij
  3. Guilherme Basseto

Lobanovszkij was #4 in the league last year in the 50 free.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Marco Orsi
  2. Thom de Boer

The relays as a whole were rough last year for Iron. They need to retain their best sprinters and address the 100 free in a big way in the draft.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Clement Mignon

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: David Verraszto, Veronika Andrusenko, Yakov Toumarkin, Emilie Beckmann. We’re projecting what we think Iron should do… but the ethos of the franchise might make them lean more toward tough, distance-oriented swimmers like Verraszto.

Two wild cards: Jess Hansen and Tatjana Schoenmaker were supposed to be the breaststrokers last year, but both withdrew. It doesn’t make sense to retain all four of Hansen, Schoenmaker, Hulkko and Laukkanen, but any 2-3 of that bunch could be retained.

Oussama Sahnoune could be a high-upside retention. He’s a strong 100 freestyler who only competed in two meets last year for Iron and was further down the scoring lists.

Tokyo Frog Kings

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Daiya Seto*
  2. Yui Ohashi
  3. Kosuke Hagino
  4. Vladimir Morozov
  5. Takeshi Kawamoto

Seto competed for Energy Standard in 2019 and signed with Tokyo for 2020, but didn’t compete. Ohashi and Kawamoto tied for team MVP in scoring last year. Morozov was an underwhelming scorer last year, but seemed especially affected by the pandemic pause in training. His sprint chops make him a very valuable ISL swimmer in a return to form.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Ryosuke Irie
  2. Yasuhiro Koseki
  3. Suzuka Hasegawa
  4. Leah Smith

Hasegawa was the league’s #1 200 flyer last year and Smith was the #1 400 freestyler, even if she ranks a little lower in total individual scoring. Irie is a reliable vet and was the #3 scorer on the team last year.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Natsumi Sakai
  2. Katsuhiro Matsumoto
  3. Rio Shirai

Sakai was the only 100+ point-scorer not yet retained.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Reona Aoki
  2. Markus Thormeyer

Thormeyer covers a solid amount of events, and brings good relay value. Tokyo hasn’t really retained any breaststrokers yet, so Aoki helps there.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Kosuke Matsui

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Tomoru Honda, Miho Teramura, Runa Imai, Chihiro Igarashi, Simona Kubova, Catie DeLoof. DeLoof was one of the team’s top sprinters last year and might be a higher priority to retain.

Other sprinters who might carry more value than their individual scoring suggests: Cristian Quintero, Shinri Shioura, Bruno Fratus, and Bradley Tandy.

We originally had Tokyo retaining Sakiko Shimizu, who scored 91 points last year. But she’s announced her retirement.

Toronto Titans

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Kylie Masse
  2. Kayla Sanchez*
  3. Kelsey Wog
  4. Louise Hansson
  5. Shane Ryan

Sanchez was a big withdrawal last year. She competed for Energy Standard back in 2019, but was officially announced to the inaugural Toronto roster last year.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Blake Pieroni
  2. Rebecca Smith
  3. Lisa Bratton
  4. Anton McKee

Everyone here scored 86 or more points. Bratton ranked #2 in the league in the 200 back last year. McKee ranked #3 in the 200 breast. Smith was #5 in the 200 free.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Michelle Coleman
  2. Michael Chadwick
  3. Yuri Kisil

Relay reinforcements in droves.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Tess Cieplucha
  2. Alberto Razzetti*

Razzetti ultimately withdrew last year but was listed on the Titans roster in the early reveal.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Claire Fisch

Not a huge individual scorer, but a really good 51/52 type relay leg last year as a rookie.

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Sergey Fesikov, Anna Egorova, Finlay Knox, Jocelyn Ulyett, Aleksandr Krasnykh.

Brent Hayden would be a good relay value and is a big-time Canadian swimming icon. It’s hard to see him swimming anywhere else, if he is competing in 2021. Julie Meynen would be another big relay value. Andriy Govorov didn’t score huge last year, but is an elite 50 flyer.

Anastasiya Fesikova was another big name announced to the roster who didn’t compete last year.

The Titans had an early roster leak via Wikipedia edits by a team official. Some of those names were never officially announced on the roster, and didn’t appear on the officially-released rosters weeks later. It’s not clear if those athletes are up for retention or would enter the ISL Draft Pool, but they would include Penny Oleksiak and Anton Chupkov.

New York Breakers

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Michael Andrew
  2. Marco Koch
  3. Abbie Wood
  4. Kasia Wasick
  5. Cameron McEvoy*

Andrew was the team’s MVP in individual scoring. Both Koch and Wasick led the league in an event for the season (Koch in the 200 breast; Wasick the 50 free). McEvoy was on the London Roar in 2019, but signed with New York last year. He didn’t compete in 2020 along with most top Australians.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Arina Surkova
  2. Joe Litchfield
  3. Jeanette Ottesen
  4. Matthew Temple*

Litchfield was a skins finalist last year and a very good pickup. Ottesen swam just one meet last year and only scored six points, but has tremendous upside as a fly/free powerhouse and relay star. Temple was announced but was part of the Aussie contingent that didn’t compete. He would have been a highly-ranked flyer and freestyler, though.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Felix Auboeck
  2. Emily Escobedo
  3. Svetlana Chimrova

All athletes ranked in the top five across the ISL season in one event (Escobedo #3 in 200 breast; Auboeck #3 in 400 free; Chimrova #5 in 200 fly).

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Alicia Tchorz
  2. Matthew Richards

Relays, relays, relays. Richards is a young talent who will probably up his scoring over future seasons.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Boglarka Kapas

There are some other options here, but the women’s roster probably needs the depth more than the men’s.

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Brendon Smith, Molly Renshaw, Lewis Clareburt, Michal Poprawa.

Jan Switkowski might be a really good relay prospect, though he scored just 9.5 points across three matches last year.

Several other 2020 withdrawals could be in the mix: Mikkayla Sheridan, Abbey Harkin, and Meg Bailey.

British sprint star Jacob Whittle is too young to compete this year, if the ISL holds to its “over-18” rule even for ISL veterans. If he’s eligible, he’s worth retaining at around the same level of Richards.

Pieter Timmers would have been a top retained athlete, but he is retired.

DC Trident

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Zach Apple
  2. Amy Bilquist
  3. Jacob Pebley
  4. Linnea Mack
  5. Bethany Galat

All top scorers from last season, all key relay pieces and/or skin race options.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Ting Wen Quah
  2. Zane Grothe
  3. Abrahm DeVine
  4. Tommy Cope

Quah was a key relay factor and scored 15.4 points per match. Grothe was one of the league’s top five 400 freestylers.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Lindsey Kozelsky
  2. Velimir Stjepanovic
  3. Matheus Santana

A lot of relay value in this group. Santana was way down the list of scorers, but was a solid 100 freestyler. DC needs to build around Zach Apple, and getting more strong 100 freestylers is the way to do it.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Meiron Cheruti
  2. Ky-Lee Perry

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Rosalia Nasretdinova

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Bailey Andison, Emma Barksdale, Mark Nikolaev, Mohamed Samy, Zach Harting.

DC might value their distance/IM types more than we’re projecting here, so Andison and Barksdale might be options. Harting is also a pretty good sprint freestyler, which is a good reason to keep him around. He’s popular enough with fans to be a potential fan-vote retained athlete, too.

The big name is Katie Ledecky, who competed for the Trident in 2019 but didn’t sign onto a team in 2020. If DC can retain Ledecky, they absolutely should, even if the ISL format doesn’t fully capture her talents. The marketing value of having an Olympic star like Ledecky is worth it alone, not to mention the X-Factor she could potentially be if the ISL incorporates a higher-scoring 800 free like they tested late last season.

Also in the Ledecky boat (competed in 2019, didn’t sign in 2020): Cody Miller and Jay Litherland.

Margo Geer would be worth retaining, but she’s retiring to join the college coaching ranks. Ian Finnerty is also retiring.

Aqua Centurions

Pre-selected (5):

  1. Szebasztian Szabo
  2. Nicolo Martinenghi
  3. Alessandro Miressi
  4. Martina Carraro
  5. Philip Heintz

Szabo is the clear top priority to be retained. He scored almost double what any other Aqua Centurion did last year.

First round of retention (4):

  1. Valentine Dumont
  2. Marcelo Chierighini
  3. Breno Correia
  4. Federica Pellegrini

Dumont was #5 in the league in the 400 free and also brought 52-second speed on free relays. Chierighini and Correia keep the men’s sprints as one of AQC’s strengths – they won 3 of their 4 meets in the men’s 4×100 free relay last year. Pellegrini only swam one match last year and maybe doesn’t merit this level of retainment based on scoring alone. But in terms of marketing, it’d be hard to see the Italian-based franchise moving on without their captain and Italian swimming icon.

Second round of retention (3):

  1. Madeline Groves*
  2. Matteo Rivolta
  3. Mykhailo Romanchuk

Romanchuk’s value might skyrocket if an 800 free event is added down the line. He was already #4 in the league in the 400 free last year. Groves didn’t compete last year, but was signed before the season. She might be the team’s best swimmer in the 100/200 free and 100/200 fly.

Third round of retention (2):

  1. Simone Sabbioni*
  2. Silvia di Pietro*

Both Sabbioni and di Pietro withdrew last year but were signed to the original 2020 roster. Sabbioni’s absence left the Aqua Centurion backstrokes in shambles. Di Pietro is one of the team’s top sprinters across free, fly, and maybe even back.

Fourth round of retention (1):

  1. Fabio Scozzoli

He’ll be 33 and swims behind Martinenghi in the breaststrokes, but Scozzoli is a marketable figure and scored the 8th-most points of any Aqua Centurion last year at age 32.

Notable names into Draft Pool:

The highest 2020 scorers not retained: Leonardo de Deus, Luiz Melo, Arianna Castiglioni, Etiene Medeiros, Lidon Munoz del Campo.

Some good relay legs in that mix. Other options to retain if the Aqua Centurions want to focus on relays: Pedro Spajari, Gabriel Santos.

There are lots of 2020 withdrawals to pick from, too, if they’re eligible. Elena di Liddo could be a top option, along with Silvia Scalia, Travis Mahoney, Matteo Ciampi and Ilaria Bianchi.

Like the Ledecky situation above, the Aqua Centurions may or may not be able to retain athletes who competed for them in 2019, but didn’t sign in 2020. That would include Vladislav Grinev and Santo Condorelli.

ISL Draft Pool

Based on the rough projections above, here are the top 20 scorers from 2020 who would enter the ISL Draft Pool:

NAME TEAM TOTAL Matches Per Match
PRIGODA Kirill LON 142.5 6 23.8
DAHLIA Kelsi CAC 131.3 6 21.9
DIENER Christian LON 130.3 6 21.7
LAZOR Annie LON 114.3 6 19.1
VAZAIOS Andreas LON 110.5 6 18.4
KAWECKI Radoslaw CAC 109 6 18.2
VEKOVISHCHEV Mikhail LON 106 6 17.7
LANZA Vini LON 101.5 6 16.9
SCHMITT Allison CAC 100.5 6 16.8
GASSON Helena LAC 89 6 14.8
HAAS Townley CAC 84 6 14.0
HINDS Natalie CAC 80 6 13.3
LIMA Felipe ENS 78 6 13.0
JAKABOS Zsuzsanna ENS 77.5 6 12.9
HOPKIN Anna LON 74 6 12.3
HONDA Tomoru TOK 74 5 14.8
SCHEFFER Fernando LAC 73 6 12.2
VERRASZTO David IRO 72.5 5 14.5
MAJCHRZAK Kacper CAC 72 6 12.0
ANDRUSENKO Veronika IRO 72 5 14.4

A few important points on this list:

  • Because of the amount of retirements and/or competition breaks we see after each Olympic year, the draft pool will probably be a lot thinner than this list in terms of veterans – because every swimmer we projected to be retained who retires will be replaced by a high-scoring option on this list.
  • One swimmer per team should be retained via fan vote, but only after the first round of drafting. The only teams with a first-round pick are the Aqua Centurions and DC Trident, so they’ll get their pick of the field before the fan vote retentions are locked in.
  • We ran through this exercise in the order you’re reading it – now, with a more complete picture, we could probably amend some of our retained athletes to better match the draft market.
  • This draft pool will also be supplemented by several other categories of athletes:
    • NCAA graduates. That includes a big list of potential 2021 grads including Ryan Hoffer, Paige Madden, Brooke Forde, Nic Albiero, Evie Pfeifer, Trenton Julian, Javier Acevedo and more.
    • 2020 opt-outs: among those we didn’t project as “retained” above are Clyde Lewis, Elena di Liddo, Ivan Girev, Tristan Hollard, Leiston Pickett, Jess Hansen, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Alex Graham, Elijah Winnington, Holly Barratt, Matthew Wilson, Mikkayla Sheridan, Abbey Harkin and Anastasiya Fesikova.
    • Athletes who never signed with a team in 2020 (or even 2019): Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Chase Kalisz.
    • New ISL athletes – the league mostly started with U.S. and European athletes, but we’ve seen some expansion into Asia and South America over the last year. Probably the most notable country unrepresented is China, with a wealth of swimming talent who could join the mix.

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whever
5 months ago

Some factors that may influence the process:
1) I think we will see a lot of retirement latter this year. For example I remember Seebohm saying many times she might end her career after the Olympics. Not sure whether she will take part in ISL season 3 before she retires.
2) Will some choices be made based on personal reasons? For example, it will be weird for Energy Standard not to retain Georgia Davies if she’s available. Although she is not so valuable in terms of score earning potential, she’s been a part of Energy training squad for a long time and is a student of head coach James Gibson.
3) With 800 free added to the… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by whever
Khachaturian
Reply to  whever
5 months ago

800 being added! Nice!

Taa
Reply to  whever
5 months ago

Biggest factor in my books is did the check clear the bank? Otherwise we can all save our breath. Agree there will be tons of retirements or swimmers opting out like 25% to 33% will not return

Mandy Curley
Reply to  whever
4 months ago

Seebohm has said this is “probably” her last Olympics. I’d be surprised if she didn’t swim one last ISL season even if retirement is on the cards, especially if she makes the Olympic team.

ooo
5 months ago

Is Pieter Timmers still in the drink ?

theloniuspunk
5 months ago

Wouldn’t it make sense for the Condors to keep Dahlia in order to keep their WR-setting medley relay together that got them the skins choice in most (every?) match. Brown was their other 100 flier in the final, but she was a full second behind Dahlia and swam the free leg in the medley relay.

MX4x50relay
5 months ago

Looks like condors and London will still be really strong with the Australians coming back

cynthia curran
5 months ago

I would like to Ad Houston or Miami since both areas have outgrown New York City for years now. In fact people in Europe should know of Houston or Miami.

Jack
5 months ago

I don’t think there is any value in Roar keeping Bronte Campell over Prigoda? Bronte would essentially be a relay swimmer with Mckeon Anderson and Cate being better freestyle options and Prigida swam all 3 breaststrokes well and always placed highly.

Bronte arguably struggles Short course in the 2019 season compared to LC so id probably rank her as one of Roars later priorities behind people like Greenbank Diener Lazor and Lanza who all individually place highly.

Roar is stacked with people who are good freestylers – Anderson Mckeon Campell Wattel and then toussaint Atherton and Kameneeva (already on thay list) were all successful on their relays in the last seasons. Bronte wouldn’t even be in the conversation for… Read more »

JP input is too short
5 months ago

I don’t understand this – does each team just get to choose 15 swimmers to keep and they are breaking into “rounds” just to add some sort of weird sense of suspense? Because I just don’t see this helping even the field at all.

Admin
Reply to  JP input is too short
5 months ago

That appears to be the case. I guess you could argue that there’s some strategy toward the end based on who your opponents might be leaving on the table for the draft, but I’m not sure the GMs are yet sophisticated enough in their analysis for anyone to take advantage of that.

swimapologist
Reply to  JP input is too short
5 months ago

This is the ISL in a nutshell. Fabricated suspense, fabricated excitement, fabricated mission, (fabricated payments?), rather than actually just fixing what’s broken.

What we’re going to be left with is a pile of nothing and a memory of what could have been when benevolent leader Konstantin’s money runs out.

Samuli Hirsi
Reply to  swimapologist
5 months ago

you do not have to participate on the things you do not like or better yet start your own swim league with your own money.

swimapologist
Reply to  Samuli Hirsi
5 months ago

I think you by-and-large have captured the league’s attitude about this.

Unfortunately for them, the need participation of people like me if they ever want to make money. Fans matter too.

GowdyRaines
Reply to  Samuli Hirsi
5 months ago

While I disagree with the initial comment, I think this is an equally poor argument. It’s okay to have feelings about something you think might be wrong in a sport you enjoy. Should all of the fans who disagreed with the super league idea in soccer have just said “I just won’t participate in watching soccer anymore?”

Marcy Spann
5 months ago

personally agree with the majority of your list, but if the experimental distance skins happens next season, I think there will finally be more priority for the teams to get more versatile mid-distance swimmers over sprinters & hopefully make the ISL competition more balanced

Admin
Reply to  Marcy Spann
5 months ago

I don’t think you’re wrong, but the 800 was not listed in the ‘qualifying times to be eligible’ documentation for the draft, and several attempts to ask about whether it’s being added have gone unanswered. That leads me to believe it’s not being included.

Hopefully we get a real answer between now and the start of the season.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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