On November 13th and 14th, match 13 of the Third Season of the ISL, which is also the second match of the play-off stage, was held at the “Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion” swimming arena in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The participating teams were British London Roar (LON), Canadian Toronto Titans (TOR), American LA Current and Italian Aqua Centurions (AQC).
These teams were ranked 3 through 6 in the Regular Season, but while the first three battled for the lead, the Centurions only managed to avoid the Match of Death at the last minute.
It was the second match in a row with an unpredictable storyline and a victory for the underdog in the skins – the elimination races.
Ryan MURPHY of the Current was the match MVP bringing his team a total of 58 points.
The sharpness of the battle for 1st place is evidenced by the final team standings table:
LA Current – 506 points (4 team points)
London Roar – 494.5 (3)
Toronto Titans – 376.5 (2)
Aqua Centurions – 357 (1)
On Day 1, all three favorites took turns taking the lead, however, in the relays that get teams double points, the luck was in favor of the Lions.
The Roar took 38 points in each of the first three relay races. First, in the women’s (Emma McKEON, Marie WATTEL, Kira TOUSSAINT, Freya ANDERSON) and then in the men’s freestyle (Kyle CHALMERS, Katsumi NAKAMURA, Zac INSERTI, Dylan CARTER) and finally in the women’s 4x100m medley relay (Kira TOUSSAINT, Alia ATKINSON, Marie WATTEL, Emma McKEON). London’s first relay team (Guilherme GUIDO, Ross MURDOCH, Vini LANZA, Kyle CHALMERS) also took the men’s 4x100m medley relay but this time with no jackpot as Kyle CHALMERS beat Maxime ROONEY from the Current by only 0.03 seconds.
Overall, the Lions took 132 points in the 4 relays on Day 1, while the Current took 64, the Titans – 49 and the Centurions – 37. All teams received penalty points as their second relay team did not make the cut-off time.
The results of Day 1 are as follows:
LON – 280.5
LAC – 246
TOR – 231.5
AQC – 138
Comparing the results of Day 1 with the results of the relay races shows how crucial the gained double points are in the distribution of places. Additionally, London Roar received a small bonus in the form of a choice of the stroke for the skins. Recall, that in Season 3 the teams that finish 2nd and 3rd in the mixed medley relays eliminate 1 stroke each and the winner of the race chooses one out of the two remaining.
The Aqua Centurions were seriously inferior to their rivals on Day 1: they received many zero and penalty points on the distances. However, some of the brightest swims should still be mentioned. Arno KAMMINGA had a resounding victory in the men’s 200m breaststroke with a jackpot of 15 points, where Nicolo MARTINENGHI added 5 points for the 4th place. In the 50m breaststroke, Aqua had a brilliant double as Nicolo MARTINENGHI took a jackpot of 19 points and Fabio SCOZZOLI added 7 more for the 2nd place.
Eventually, on Day 1, out of a total of 20 races, the Centurions took a 1/3of their points on the 2 latter swims. This is more than they got in the relay races (where the points are doubled) and only 7 points less than Aqua took in the other 14 individual races.
As for the favorites, they almost equally shared the victories in the individual swims on Day 1: LA had 4 such victories, while the Lions and the Titans had 5.
The Current’s Ryan MURPHY once again had an outstanding performance as he won two backstroke events – the 200m with a jackpot of 24 points and the 50m with a jackpot of 12.
MURPHY’s teammates also showed great results: Tom SHIELDS predictably won the 100m butterfly with a minimum jackpot and Imogen CLARK proved her status of a strong breaststroke sprinter by finishing first in the women’s 50m swim with a jackpot of 19 points.
In the Titans lineup, the female swimmers set the tone. Kylie MASSE won the 200m backstroke with a jackpot of 15 points, where Liza BRATTON added 6 points for the 3rd place. Kasia WASICK won the 50m freestyle with a minimum jackpot. Ultimately, the 15-year-old star Summer McINTOSH won the 400m individual medley with confidence, taking a total of 16 points (jackpot of 12 + 4 points for the 2nd place mid-distance).
The Titan’s Alberto RAZZETTI won the men’s 200m individual medley with a jackpot of 15 points. Meanwhile, in the men’s 400m IM, RAZZETTI’s teammate’s win was a pure formality. Luc KROON was the first to reach the finish line, however he only gained 9 points, while the Roar’s Duncan SCOTT got 16. The Lion crossed the finish line only 5th, for what he earned 4 points, but he took a jackpot of 12 points for leading at the 200m. The Current’s Fernardo SCHEFFER took the 2nd place overall and also scored more points than KROON – 11 in total (7 for the 2nd place + 4 for the 2nd place mid-distance).
Additionally, the Titans had a casualty in the 200m backstroke: Cole PRATT could not participate in the swim due to an injury and the team was fined 4 points.
The Roar’s female swimmers also showed amazing results: Emma McKEON won the 100m butterfly with a jackpot of 12 points; then, Annie LAZOR won the 200m breaststroke with a minimum jackpot and Sydney PICKREM took the 200m IM, also with a minimum jackpot. Kira TOUSSAINT was first in the 50m backstroke without a jackpot, however, here the London team scored the same amount of points as the Titans – 13 each.
In the men’s 50m freestyle, Kyle CHALMERS brought a victory to London Roar (no jackpot). Meanwhile, his teammate Dylan CARTER shared the 2nd – 3rd place with the Titans’ Lorenzo ZAZZERI, who CHALMERS beat by just 0.01 seconds. The Lion and the Titan got 6.5 points each.
The plot of Day 2 came down to the Current chasing the Roar as over the course of the day they slowly but surely closed the gap between them and the Londoners. Titans had a lot of injured swimmers and were obliged to hide their ambition until the next fights. The hopelessly lagging Centurions suddenly demonstrated their potential and even fought on equal terms with the leaders. Aqua scored 219 points on the second day, which was more than the Titans (145) as well as the Lions (214), losing only to the Current who earned 260 points.
Matteo RIVOLTA’s sporting achievement in the skin races should be mentioned specifically, although it will be discussed in more details below.
In the middle of Day 2, the Centurions had a whole series of victories. First, Maria KAMENEVA took the women’s 100m individual medley with a minimum jackpot. The second Aqua representative, however, took 2 points only for the 7th place, while the Currents’ Beryl GASTADELLO and Anastasiya GORBENKO finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, getting a total of 13 points for their team.
Then, the Centurion Thomas CECCON beat Duncan SCOTT of the Roar on the same distance for men with a jackpot of 15 points, to which Fabio SCOZZOLI added 4 more for the 5th place.
After a not so successful women’s 100m breaststroke (Martina CARRARO was 2nd but the other Aqua representative got a penalty point), the Centurions had a double (1-2) victory in the same event for men: Arno KAMMINGA took 12 jackpot points and Nicolo MARTINENGHI added 7 more.
Finally, completing the series of wins, Holly BARATT was 1st in the women’s 50m butterfly (no jackpot) and Silvia di PIETRO was 3rd, taking another 6 points.
The Centurions also had great success in the last swim before the skins – the men’s 400m individual medley: Ilia BORODIN took a jackpot of 21 points (12 for the 1st place at the finish line + 9 for the 1st place at the 200m mark).
The Titans also had their finest hour, however, too few. Toronto had two doubles on the women’s distances. In the 200m butterfly, Laura STEPHENS took a jackpot of 12 points and and Summer McINTOSH added 7 more for the 2nd place. In the 400m individual medley, Summer McINTOSH won 24 jackpot points for finishing 1st + being 1st at the 200m mark (12 points for each) and Tessa CIEPLUCHA added 7 more for the 2nd place.
Another Toronto representative – Luc KROON had a win in the men’s 200m freestyle (no jackpot), although only a formal one, as the other Titan received just 1 point for the 8th place and their team as well as the Current and the Centurions scored 10 points each.
As for the rivalry between the leaders, despite the Roar’s victories, they were unable to increase the gap with the Current.
In the women’s 100m freestyle, the Roar’s Emma McKEON took the win with a minimum jackpot beating Abbey WEITZEIL of the Current. Kyle CHALMERS took an equal jackpot on the same distance for men, beating Aqua’s Vladislav GRINEV by 0.07 seconds. The second swimmer from the London team got jackpotted and the Current’s swimmers finished 3rd and 4th, bringing their team more points than the Roar earned in this swim – 11 against 10.
Teppei MORIMOTO snatched the victory from Alberto RAZZETTI of the Titans at the last second finishing 0.01 seconds ahead of him, however, MORIMOTO had no jackpot; so, here, London took 12 points in total.
Freya ANDERSON won in the women’s 200m freestyle with a minimum jackpot, to which Emma McKEON added 5 points for the 4th place.
The 100m breaststroke was a truly successful race for the Roar: Alia ATKINSON had a jackpot of 15 points and Annie LAZOR brought 6 extra points to the team for the 3rd place.
LA Current responded with their own victories, starting with the 100m backstroke. For women, Ingrid WILM finished 1st with a jackpot of 12 points, 0.03 seconds ahead of London’s Kira TOUSSAINT. Kathleen BAKER added another 5 points for the 4th place to the team’s total. For men, the match MVP Ryan MURPHY had a very convincing win with a jackpot of 15 points and Apostolos CHRISTOU took another 6 points for the 3rd place.
Tom SHIELDS proved himself once again, finishing the men’s 50m butterfly 0.01 seconds ahead of both Dylan CARTER (LON) and MATTEO RIVOLTA (AQC), who tied for the 2nd-3rd place. SHIELDS had no jackpot, so, LA took only 11 points here against 10 for the Lions and the Centurions.
A foreshadow of the LA’s victory was the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay, before which the gap between the Current and the Roar was just 13.5 points.
On Day 1, the Lions won all four relays, however, on Day 2 LA Current’s first relay team (Ingrid WILM (F), Javier ACEVEDO (M), Maxime ROONEY (M), Abbey WEITZEIL (F)) took the 1st place with a minimum jackpot of 20 points. As for the Roar, their first relay team was only able to finish 4th, while the second one was 8th, falling under the jackpot. So, the Current took 28 points in total and the Lions only 10, putting LA in the lead by 4.5 points.
London was a little luckier in the 400m IM races, the last two swims before the skins, so the clubs’ position ended up as follows:
LON – 449.5
LAC – 435
TOR – 393.5
AQC – 309
The Roar chose both strokes for the 50m skin races: breaststroke for women and butterfly for men. However, this did not help them get the victory of the match as the Current left them behind and took the win.
In the women’s skins, Alia ATKINSON of the Roar quite predictably got to the semifinals. She only finished 3rd in the quarterfinals as the first two places went to the Current’s Anastasiya GORBENKO (jackpot of 12 points) and Imogen CLARK. In the second round, ATKINSON came in 2nd, giving away the lead to GORBENKO. In the decisive round, although leading most of the way ATKINSON yielded again by an imperceptible 0.03 seconds. As a result, LA Current took the overall lead by 13 points.
The time had come for the Lions to show their true potential and they took the first step as both their representatives got to the semifinal of the men’s skins. Dylan CARTER finished on the 1st place and Kyle CHALMERS on the 4th, however, the intrigue of the match was resolved when none of them reached the final. Aqua’s Matteo RIVOLTA was first in the semifinal, while LA’s Tom SHIELDS was 2nd and ahead of CHALMERS by only 0.04 seconds. RIVOLTA beautifully took the final round, beating the mighty SHIELDS and winning the battle “for the honor and glory”.
After two rounds of the play-off stage, the position of the clubs is as follows:
Cali Condors and LA Current – 4 points each,
Energy Standard and London Roar – 3 points each,
DC Trident and Toronto Titans – 2 points each;
Iron and Aqua Centurions – 1 point each.
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 begining of December when the ISL Champions will be crowned.
ISL WEBSITE: https://isl.global
DIGITAL PLATFORM: Subscribe to the isl.global platform and enjoy the entire ISL Season 3.
ISL 2021: ISL Season 3 Play-offs schedule can be accessed here.
PHOTOS: Rights-free photo content is available here, please credit ISL.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: [email protected]