We are now five matches into the International Swimming League’s inaugural season, and many of the athletes who have emerged to be the most dominant haven’t been a surprise. Swimmers like Caeleb Dressel, Sarah Sjostrom and Katinka Hosszu have, as expected, been premier point-scorers for their clubs.

However, there have also been a few who, while they weren’t necessarily surprising, have performed better than expected.

Someone who fits that bill is the London Roar’s Emma McKeon, who is a legitimate star in swimming, but through two matches she has been even better than anyone (including herself) could’ve anticipated.

“I didn’t expect to race the way I did,” said McKeon, who tied for second among all Group ‘B’ swimmers with a combined 81.5 points in two matches. “I haven’t raced short course in a really long time, and my training in this part of the season has been more gym focused. So I was very surprised and happy to swim the way I did this early in the season.”

The 25-year-old Australian won five individual events over the two matches, and due to her impressive form, became a last-minute addition into the women’s skins event at both meets. The skins are a three-round 50 freestyle eliminator worth up to triple points, and by being relied on there, not to mention on several relays, there are a lot of points riding on her performance.

Despite this, the four-time Olympic medalist doesn’t let the expectation impact her performance.

“I don’t feel extra pressure to perform for my club,” he said. “Every race and every point counts, so we all have to play our part. I am used to having a heavy schedule in racing, so having that many races is something I expected and I just have to do my best for the team.”

And as a whole, she’s embracing the new format the league presents.

“(The ISL has) definitely exceeded my expectations,” she said. “I didn’t know what to expect before watching Group ‘A’ on TV from back home. But the atmosphere and racing experience was so different to anything I had experienced before, and so much fun.”

By virtue of placing first in Dallas and Budapest, the Roar have all but locked in their spot in the League Final in Las Vegas. There are two clubs in particular McKeon is looking forward to taking on in December.

“It would be awesome to be in that final in Vegas,” she said. “Energy Standard and Cali Condors are both very strong teams too, so it will be really exciting and close racing at both the London match and the final in Vegas.”

With the chance to face Energy Standard over her next two matches, along with the Condors in Vegas, McKeon will get an opportunity to face some of the sport’s elite in her best events. Energy Standard’s Sarah Sjostrom has been near-unbeatable in the sprint freestyle and butterfly events, like McKeon, while Kelsi Dahlia (fly) and Ariarne Titmus (free) of the Condors are specialists in each respective stroke as well

“It’s always exciting to have the opportunity to race these girls, which I didn’t get to do as often before the ISL,” she said, as it’s rare for the Australian-based swimmers to race athletes of this calibre outside of an Olympics or World Championships due to heavy travel.

“So, anytime I get to race the best in the world is always good. Short course is also a different racing strategy so there are always people who you might not expect to be right up there in the races, who might be really good at starts and turns, etc.”

About the ISL: The International Swimming League is a global professional swimming competition launching 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 will include matches in Indianapolis IN, Naples ITA, Lewisville TX, Budapest HUN, College Park MD, London GBR, and the championship finale at the 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. 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.
Key Dates:
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 protected])  
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