The inaugural season of the International Swimming League gave fans a little bit of everything — world record performances, incredibly tight team battles, and a Grand Finale to remember.
In the end, it was Energy Standard who came out on top in the Las Vegas final, wrapping up the season with a perfect 4-0 record.
This leads into the first offseason of the International Swimming League, where 9 clubs, including new franchises in Toronto and Tokyo, will try to crack the code and chase down the champions in the 2020-2021 season. For the returning teams, that process will begin with an analysis of last season’s performance and opportunities to improve rosters ahead of the new year.
Along with winning the ISL title, the European champions also led the league in points-per-match. They averaged 488.25, compiling a total of 1,953 points over their four showings.
They also led average scoring on the men’s side with 239.0, followed closely by the LA Current. The Cali Condors were the top scoring female club at over 255 points-per-match, followed by the London Roar.
|Club||Overall PPM||Male PPM||Female PPM|
When it comes down to the scoring among the clubs in the different strokes, it becomes clear where everyone’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
Points-per-stroke (Per Match)
The biggest takeaway from the season, whether it came from the athletes, coaches or general managers, was how important the match-ending skins are. The skins, a three-round 50 freestyle eliminator, scored up to triple points if you made it to the final.
The importance of that event shines through here, as league champion Energy Standard wasn’t the top-scoring club in any of the strokes or the relays, but they led in the skins. They averaged over 75 points there. Only Iron, who didn’t qualify for Vegas, was within 20 points of that with 56 (largely due to them having Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Vladimir Morozov, who won a combined five skins races).
The London Roar were the top scorers in freestyle, backstroke and relays, highlighting a phenomenal season. At both the European Derby and the Grand Final, they appeared to be well on their way to victory before Energy Standard’s skins magic gave them back-to-back narrow victories that kept everyone on the edge of their seats until the very end.
The Cali Condors were the top breaststroke club, the LA Current led in butterfly, and Iron topped the league in individual medley (thanks in large part to Katinka Hosszu: the world’s best female IMer).
Individually, Energy Standard’s Sarah Sjostrom was the top scorer overall with 243.5 points, earning her an extra $50K as Season MVP.
Sjostrom came up big when she needed to most, winning the women’s skins in Vegas to solidify this award along with spearheading Energy Standard’s comeback en route to the team title.
ISL Season MVP Final Standings
|1||Sarah Sjostrom||Energy Standard||243.5|
|2||Caeleb Dressel||Cali Condors||240.0|
|3||Emma McKeon||London Roar||192.0|
|4||Chad Le Clos||Energy Standard||190.5|
|5||Olivia Smoliga||Cali Condors||174.5|
Caeleb Dressel of the Cali Condors was hot on Sjostrom’s heels, finishing just 3.5 points back for the season despite only competing in three matches (to Sjostrom’s four).
Dressel won Match MVP in all three of his appearances, making him the top scorer on average per-match with close to 60.
|1||Caeleb Dressel||Cali Condors||179.5||3||59.83|
|2||Sarah Sjostrom||Energy Standard||197.5||4||49.38|
|4||Chad Le Clos||Energy Standard||161||4||40.25|
Note: Point totals in the Las Vegas Finale were double what they were for the other matches, so for the purpose of this exercise, the athletes that competed in the final have their totals from that match cut in half of what they show on the official statistics. So, for example, Caeleb Dressel recorded 121.0 points in Vegas, but in any other match his total would’ve been 60.5. So instead of his actual total of 240.0, we’re using 179.5 to reflect the traditional match scoring. This allows the averages to be comparable for the swimmers who did not compete in the Grand Finale.
As it turned out, the five swimmers who won at least one Match MVP award throughout the season were the same five to land in the top-five scorers on average. Following Dressel was Sjostrom, the first-ever MVP in Indianapolis, and then Vladimir Morozov, Katinka Hosszu and Chad Le Clos had near-identical averages as the MVPs in Lewisville, Budapest and London.
About the ISL: The International Swimming League is a global professional swimming competition that launched in 2019 with teams in both Europe (Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron, and London Roar) and the United States (Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current, NY Breakers). The inaugural season included matches in Indianapolis IN, Naples ITA, Lewisville TX, Budapest HUN, College Park MD, London GBR, and the championship finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The second season will feature two new clubs based in Toronto and Tokyo and 27 matches running from September 2020 to April 2021 with a regular season, playoff, and the grand finale. The ISL aims to create groundbreaking projects, in both form and content, exploring the full potential of competitive swimming while securing sustainable commercial growth in the sport.
5-6 October 2019 – IU Natatorium, Indianapolis, USA
12-13 October 2019 – Aquatic Swimming Complex, Naples, Italy
19-20 October 2019 – The LISD Westside Aquatic Center, Lewisville, Texas, USA
26-27 October 2019 – Duna Area, Budapest, Hungary
16-17 November 2019 – Natatorium at the Eppley Recreation Center, Maryland, USA
23-24 November 2019 – London Aquatic Centre, Great Britain
20-21 December 2019 – Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, USA
ISL SOCIAL: Keep up with all the latest ISL news by following @iswimleague on Instagram and Twitter and @internationalswimmingleague on Facebook. Visit https://isl.global
Media Contact: James Mulligan (email@example.com)
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