London Roar overcame a slow start in Match 5 of the International Swimming League (ISL) Season 2020 to grab the initiative after a gripping battle with LA Current throughout the day.
The Roar had to wait until the seventh race of the match for their first victory but then added five more individual wins to keep the Current in check.
At one point, the lead in the standings swung back and forth three times until Ws for London’s Alia Atkinson and Adam Peaty in the women’s and men’s 50m breaststroke set the Roar up for a strong finish.
However, while London head coach Melanie Marshall will decide the strokes for the women’s 50m skins elimination race after victory in the women’s 4x100m individual medley relays, LA’s win in the men’s 4x100m individual medley relay means that LA’s David Marsh will make the choice for the men’s skins race that closes tomorrow’s match.
The Current secured the important win in the 4×100 thanks to Maxime Rooney, Tom Shields, Felipe Silva and Ryan Murphy. Shields’ butterfly leg was crucial for the win, and all indications are that the butterfly could be the stroke of skins for LA tomorrow, which would be an ISL first.
London finished 65.5 points ahead of the Current on 283.5 points. LA has 218, Tokyo Frog Kings is third with 214.5 with DC Trident fourth on 163 points.
London’s first win came in dramatic fashion when Marie Wattel touched home just ahead of LA’s Abbey Weitzeil in the women’s 4x100m freestyle.
Andreas Vazaios gave London their second with victory in the men’s 200m individual medley, before Peaty showed his class to win the men’s 50m breaststroke, having finished sixth in the 200m breaststroke earlier.
Atkinson matched her teammate in the women’s 50m breaststroke to put the Roar into the lead, which was then followed by a mental and physical triumph by Kira Toussaint to reach the wall first (25.96) in the women’s 50m backstroke, having already swum the 200m backstroke.
Toussaint, Wattel and Atkinson then teamed up with Freya Anderson, who anchored the 4x100m individual medley relay team to victory.
Beryl Gastaldello continued her rich vein of form from Match 3 when she opened the day with victory in the women’s 100m butterfly, touching the wall in an impressive 55.84. She later added a win in the women’s 50m freestyle.
Shields matched her victory in the men’s 100m butterfly when he held off London’s Marius Kusch, the American becoming the only swimmer so far in Season 2020 to break the 49 second barrier (48.94).
In the 200m backstroke, Murphy was challenged by compatriot Jacob Pebley of the DC Trident and Ryosuke Irie of the Frog Kings, but collected the points for the Current in style by posting the fastest time in ISL history: 1:48.03.
Will Licon kept the Current’s run going with their fourth win in the opening six matches by touching home first in the men’s 200m breaststroke, while Kristian Gkolomeev used his international experience to get the victory in a field full of stars, being the only swimmer under 21 seconds (20.97).
The men’s 4x100m relay victory put the team ahead by half a point with three races to go, but LA stayed within touching distance with their relay victory in the men’s 4x100m individual medley.
Tokyo Frog Kings
Sakiko Shimizu claimed Tokyo’s first win of the day, in the 200m breaststroke, and Yui Ohashi added their second when a late kick gave her victory in the women’s 200m individual medley.
Leah Smith and Chihiro Igarashi gave the team a boost with a one-two finish in the women’s 400m freestyle, and while Tokyo did not match the highs of its ISL debut a few days earlier, six second-place finishes and five third-place finishes showed their competitive potential.
Amy Bilquist set DC going when she won the women’s 200m backstroke, but DC had to be patient for its next success: DC’s Zane Grothe and Velimir Stjepanovic led from the start in the Men’s 400m freestyle and never looked back, closing with amazing speed and great endurance to finish tied for first with a time of 3:41.
46 in what was one of a number of highlights on Day 1.
Match 5, Day 1 Results
100 Butterfly – Beryl Gastaldello, LA Current – 55.84
200 Backstroke – Amy Bilquist, DC Trident – 2:01.29
200m Breaststroke – Sakiko Shimizu, Tokyo Frog Kings – 2:18.88
4 x 100m Freestyle – London Roar (Hopkin, Anderson, Kameneva, Wattel) – 3:27.48
50m Freestyle – Beryl Gastaldello, LA Current – 23.76
200m Individual Medley – Yui Ohashi, Tokyo Frog Kings – 2:05.26
50m Breaststroke – Alia Atkinson, London Roar – 29.66
50m Backstroke – Kira Toussaint, London Roar – 25.96
400m Freestyle – Leah Smith, Tokyo Frog Kings – 4:00.18
4 x 100m Medley – London Roar (Toussaint, Atkinson, Wattel, Anderson) – 3:47.85
100 Butterfly – Tom Shields, LA Current – 48.94
200 Backstroke – Ryan Murphy, LA Current – 1:48.03
200m Breaststroke – Will Licon, LA Current – 2:03.92
50m Freestyle – Kristian Gkolomeev, LA Current – 20.97
200m Individual Medley – Andreas Vazaios – 1:52.65
50m Breaststroke – Adam Peaty, London Roar – 26.10
4 x 100m Freestyle – LA Current (Rooney, Shields, Gkolomeev, Carter) – 3:06.24
50m Backstroke – Guilherme Guido, London Roar – 22.86
400m Freestyle – Zane Grothe, Velimir Stjepanovic (tie), DC Trident – 3:41.46
4 x 100m Medley – LA Current (Murphy, Silva Franca, Shields, Rooney) – 3:20.95
Match 5 MVP Standings
1 – Kira Toussaint, London Roar – 27.0
2 – Beryl Gastaldello, LA Current – 26.0
3 – Ryan Murphy, LA Current – 23.5
1 – London Roar – 283.5
2 – LA Current – 218
3 – Tokyo Frog Kings – 214.5
4 – DC Trident – 163