AUGUST 26 – 27
In the first game of the third regular season of ISL, Energy Standard, Toronto Titans, DC Trident and Aqua Centurions met. Initially, the champions of the First and Silver medalists of the Second ISL season – team Energy Standard seemed to be the favorites. However, the draft system allowed the Titans and Centurions to seriously strengthen their rosters, and three teams battled it out for the first place in the opening game. “The Centurions fell behind only on skin races, and Energy recorded their victory over the Titans in the last heat, the final men’s skin race.
ENS – 511.5 (4 club points)
TOR – 496.5 (3)
AQC – 442.5 (2)
DCT – 311.5 (1)
However, DC, despite their last-place finish, were by no means statisticians. American Tommy COPE won the men’s 200m breaststroke and Canada’s Bailey ANDISON won the women’s 200m medley.
The 2019 world champion, holder of Olympic silver (2016) and bronze (2021) medals in the 4×100 freestyle relay, Australian Leah NEALE confirmed her high class by becoming first in the women’s 400 meters freestyle. An interesting point: in spite of the 2nd place, the most points (13) on this distance were gained by Siobhan HAUGHEY of Singapore, the twice silver medalist of the Tokyo Olympics in 100m and 200m freestyle. She was the first to overcome 100m, getting 6 points (NEALE was only 4th, getting 2 points) and adding 7 points to them for the final 2nd place.
If you look at the table of the most valuable players of the match (MVP), the victory of ENS looks logical – the swimmers of this club took the first three places and participate in the sharing of the 4th:
– Sweden’s Sarah SJOSTROM (60.5) 2016 Olympic champion (100m butterfly), two-time Olympic silver medalist (200m butterfly in 2016 and 50m freestyle in 2020), 2016 Olympic bronze medalist (100m freestyle) and multiple world champion;
– Siobhan HAUGHEY (51);
– Russia’s Evgeni RYLOV (48.5) – two-time Olympic champion in 2021 (100m and 200m backstroke), winner of silver (4x200m freestyle relay in 2021) and bronze (200m backstroke in 2016) Olympic medals;
– South African Chad le CLOS (46.5) 2012 Olympic champion (200m butterfly), 3-time Olympic silver (100m butterfly in 2012 and 2016, 200m freestyle in 2016) multiple world champion.
However, from the Titans’ point of view, the decisive factor in 1-2 place allocation was a tragic accident at the end of the first competition day. Just before the start of the men’s 4×100 m mixed relay, one of the TOK swimmers was seriously injured, resulting in a team penalty of 8 points instead of a possible additional 10-14 points.
We can also add that in the skin-race Energy were luckier than the Titans: for instance the winner of the women’s play-off Sarah SJOSTROM reached the semi-finals in the 4th place by a mere 0.02 seconds.
The intrigue lasted until the last swim: if the Belarusian Titan Grigori PEKARSKI had taken a jack-pot against Сhad le CLOS in the men’s butterfly final, the titans would have won. But with a minimum margin of 0.06 seconds, the experienced South African took the win. In terms of gender, Centurions had the best results for men (274.5), and Energy were the best for women, only slightly ahead of the Titans. It’s interesting that the Centurions were also the worst in the women event, despite the individual victories of Arianna CASTIGLIONI (50m breaststroke) and Martino CARRARO (100m breaststroke). Additionally, he team won the 4×100 mixed relay, where the Italian swimming legend Federica PELLEGRINI swam the last leg of the freestyle event. PELLEGRINI is the only Apennine Olympic champion (200m freestyle in 2008) in the history of the Olympics and the first woman to complete the 400m freestyle in under four minutes (3 59,15).
Toronto Titans were marked by double wins (1-2 places in a swim) in the women’s 200m backstroke (Lisa BRATTON and Kylie MASSE) and in women’s 4×100 relay.
The main conclusion from the opening match of the Third ISL season – thanks to the draft system TOR and AQC from average and outsider turned into quite competitive teams of the League respectively.
ABOUT THE ISL: The International Swimming League is the first global professional swimming team-based competition. Founded in 2018, the league currently consists of 10 teams based in North America (Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current, NY Breakers and Toronto Titans), Europe (Italy-based Aqua Centurions, Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron, and the UK-based London Roar) and Asia (Tokyo Frog Kings).
ISL Season 3 will take place in three phases, with Naples, Italy, first playing host to the 10 ISL clubs in a five-week regular season from 26 August to 30 September. This will be followed by a Play-off phase of three weeks in November, which will bring together the top eight ISL Clubs to compete for a spot in the ISL Final. The ISL Grand Final is set to take place at the end of December or early January 2022, when the ISL Champions will be crowned.
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