On November 25th and 26th, the fifth match of the play-off stage of the ISL Season 3 was held at the “Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion” swimming stadium in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The participating teams were the Energy Standard (ENS), the London Roar (LON), the LA Current (LAC) and the DC Trident (DCT).
For this four, it was the last match of the play-off stage and was essentially only of any sporting significance for the Current. Both Energy Standard and the London Roar, with 7 points after 2 matches (the same as Cali Condors), secured their place in the Final Four, as it would be impossible to imagine any of them taking the last place in this match. DC Trident received only 3 points after 2 games, so, they had no chance of advancing to the final stage of Season 3.
On the other hand, the Current, with 6 points, continues to fight the Titans for the last place in the Finals. In case of the 3rd place in this match (which was the case), the Titans would have had a chance to advance to the Final Four, for which they will need to outperform themselves and defeat the Cali Condors in the sixth match of the play-offs. In case of a tie, the Current has a face-off advantage as in the second match of the play-offs, LA finished 1st, while the Titans were only 3rd.
Energy Standard – 539.5 (4 club points)
London Roar – 498.5 (3)
LA Current – 394.5 (2)
DC Trident – 284.5 (1)
Energy dominated the first third of Day 1 as they took 3 individual wins as well as the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
First, Sarah SJOSTROM was victorious in the women’s 100m butterfly with 12 jackpot points, to which Madeline BANIC added 4 points for the 5th place. Anastasia SHKURDAI and Mary-Sophie HARVEY had the exact same result in the women’s 200m backstroke.
Then, a more modest victory, despite a solid gap with his pursuers, was taken by Ilya SHYMANOVICH in the men’s 200m breaststroke with a minimum jackpot of 10 points. His teammate Charlie SWANSON took the 4th place and won 5 points.
The leader’s closest pursuer in the beginning of Day 1 was the LA Current: they won 2 individual courses.
First, Tom SHILDS was 1st in the men’s 100m butterfly, but just like SHYMANOVICH, despite a solid lead, he only took the minimum jackpot, to which Tomoe HVAS added 6 points for the 3rd place. The victory was followed by Ryan MURPHY’s 19-point jackpot in the men’s 200m backstroke. In the same race, Christian DIENER and Luke GREENBANK brought the Lions 13 points for taking the 2nd and 3rd places.
In the first third, the Roar stood out with the win by Annie LAZOR, who took a jackpot of 10 points in the women’s 200m breaststroke. The other London’s athlete added only 2 points for the 7th place, while the Energy and the Tridents took 10 points each.
Moreover, as for DC, they did not win any courses on the first day.
As previously mentioned, the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay was taken by the Standard (Femke HEEMSKERK, Siobhan HAUGHEY, Fanny TEIJONSALO, Sarah SJOSTROM). They won with a big lead but had to deduct 2 penalty points from their 24-point jackpot (remember, points are doubled in relays) as Energy’s second relay team did not finish in time. However, their competitors still scored less points: The Current (for the 3rd and 6th places) as well as the Lions (for the 4th and 5th) scored 18 points each, while the Tridents took 12 (for the 2nd place, but with 2 penalty points).
Position of the teams after the women’s freestyle relay:
ENS – 93
LAC – 78
LON – 73
DCT – 45
London Roar made a breakthrough in the second third as they won four individual swims as well as the men’s 4×100m freestyle relay.
First, in the men’s 50m freestyle, Kyle CHALMERS beat Energy’s Ben PROUD by 0.04 seconds and took the minimum jackpot, to which Dylan CARTER added 5 points for the 4th place.
In the men’s 200m individual medley, the Lions had a double win, with Duncan SCOTT taking the jackpot of 19 points and Vini LANZA adding 7 more. LA also took points on this distance, as Javier ACEVEDO and Tomoe HVAS took the 3rd and 4th places, bringing their team a total of 11 points. Sydney PICKREM won the same distance for women with a 12-point jackpot and Katie SHANAHAN brought the Lions another 5 points for the 4th place.
Finally, a brilliant victory with a margin of nearly 0.5 seconds went to Alia ATKINSON in the women’s 50m breaststroke where she took a jackpot of 19 points. In the same swim, Anastasiya GORBENKO and Imogen CLARK brought the Current 13 points for the 2nd and 3rd places. The last 5 points were taken by Siobhan HAUGHEY of the Standard for the 4th place.
During this stage of the match, Energy had only 2 wins, but both were quite significant.
Sarah SJOSTROM was 1st in the women’s 50m freestyle with a jackpot of 19 points, finishing 0.66 seconds ahead of her nearest pursuer. The Current’s Abbey WEITZEIL and Madison WILSON brought 13 points for coming in 2nd and 3rd, while the Lion representatives got no points.
The next victory of the Standard was by Ilya SHYMANOVICH in the men’s 50m breaststroke. His win was brilliant in every way: he took a 30-point jackpot (!) and finished 0.75 seconds ahead of his teammate Felipe LIMA who was 2nd. The gap between SHYMANOVICH and the 3rd place finisher was 1.27 seconds, which allowed Energy to take all the available 37 points in this race.
In the men’s relay, the first team of the Lions (Dylan CARTER, Zac INCERTI, Duncan SCOTT, Kyle CHALMERS) were able to beat the Current (Maxime ROONEY, Apostolos CHRISTOU, Kristian GKOLOMEEV, Brett PINFOLD) only on the last leg, with a 0.91 second gap between the teams. This was thanks to CHALMERS, who swam his 100m 1.07 seconds faster than PINFOLD. London Roar took a jackpot of 38 points in this swim, coming out to the 1st place in the team standings. Moreover, they did not let their position up for the rest of the day.
Team positions after the second period of Day 1:
LAC – 136.5
DCT – 76.5
The next period of play of Day 1 started with another victory for the Lions: Kira TOUSSAINT won the women’s 50m backstroke without a jackpot and Minna ATHERTON added 4 points for the 5th place. The Tridents also had some success in this race as Linnea MACK and Ali DELOOF brought their team 12 points for the 2nd and 4th place.
On the same distance for men, the victory was taken by the Current’s Ryan MURPHY who took an impressive 15-point jackpot.
Next came the 400m freestyle, where besides the usual 37 points, 16 more are awarded for the 1st-5th places at the 100m mark (6 for 1st, 4 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, etc.). So, these two races, as well as the 400m individual medley races on Day 2, have a special weight in the match. This time, the 106 points were distributed between the teams as follows: LA got 31, Energy – 27, DC – 24 and London – 22.
In the women’s 400m freestyle, Energy’s Siobhan HAUGHEY won quite confidently, scoring 17 points (jackpot of 10 points at the finish line + a 7-point jackpot after the first 100m). However, despite HAUGHEY’s 1st place, the Tridents were able to score the same number of team points as Energy – 19 in total – for the 2nd and 4th places by Joanna EVANS and Leah NEALE.
In the men’s swim, Tom DEAN of the Roar was first, but he only took 10 points, while the Current’s Fernando SCHEFFER received 19 (7 points for the 2nd place + a brilliant jackpot of 12 points at the 100m mark). Moreover, the other LA representative Martin MALUTIN came in 3rd and the Current scored 25 total points against 13 that went to the Lions.
In the final races of the first day – the medley relays – the victories were shared between the Roar and Energy, just like in the freestyle relays. Only this time the Lions won the women’s, while the Standard took the men’s.
In the women’s relay, the first Roar’s team (Kira TOUSSAINT, Alia ATKINSON, Marie WATTEL, Emma McKEON) overtook Energy (Mary-Sophie HARVEY, Evgenia CHIKUNOVA, Anastasiya SHKURDAI, Sarah SJOSTROM) by 1.10 seconds and took a jackpot of 24 points.
In the men’s, the Standard beat the Current and the Trident, even though Kliment KOLESNIKOV lost to Ryan MURPHY and Mark NIKOLAEV in backstroke, Chad Le CLOS to Tom SHIELDS and Zach HARTING in butterfly and Adam BARRET lost to Maxime ROONEY and Aleksandr SHCHEGOLEV in freestyle. However, it was Ilya SHYMANOVICH’s brilliant breaststroke that brought the team the victory as he swam 3.40 seconds better than Felipe SILVA of DC and 3.67 seconds better than Javier ACEVEDO of LA.
After the first day of the match the position of the teams was as follows:
ENS – 264
LAC – 221.5
DCT – 141.5
In the first half of Day 2, the Lions and the Energy were switching with each other in the battle for the 1st place. First, Energy was approaching the Roar who were leading, then, London increased the gap until a certain point, when the Standard caught up with them once again. Meanwhile, the Current did not participate in the leader’s struggle, falling further and further behind.
In the first swim of the day, Energy’s Siobhan HAUGHEY won the women’s 100m freestyle with a jackpot of 12 points, to which Femke HEEMSKERK added 6 more for the 3rd place. After this swim, the gap between the leaders was down to 2 points.
However, this is when the Lions had a series of victories. On the same distance for men, Kyle CHALMERS and Dylan CARTER had a double win without a jackpot, bringing their team 16 points.
Afterwards, Ilaria BIANCHI won the women’s 200m butterfly without a jackpot, snatching the victory from Helena ROSENDAHL-BACH of Energy, while Laura LAHTINEN added 4 points for finishing 5th.
On the same distance for men, Teppei MORIMOTO beat Energy’s Chad Le CLOS with a jackpot of 12 points, while Vini LANZA earned 3 more points for the 6th place.
The women’s 100m backstroke was taken by the Current’s Ingrid WILM with a jackpot of 15 points. In this swim, once again, the Roar snatched the team victory from the Standard taking 12 points thanks to the 2nd and 4th places of Kira TOUSSAINT and Minna ATHERTON, against 6 for the 3rd place by Energy’s Anastasiya SHKURDAI.
In the men’s backstroke swim on the same distance, the victory went to the Tridents, as Mark NIKOLAEV finished ahead of the Current’s Ryan MURPHY. Despite the bad performance of the Lions, Guilherme GUIDO and Christian DIENER got 7 points for the 5th and the 6th places, which was more than Energy’s 6, received for the 3rd place by Evgenii RYLOV.
So, slowly but surely London Roar was able to build up its lead over the Standard up to 27 points, but with two victories in the 100m individual medley, team Energy reduced this number and ended up equal with the Roar.
First, Sarah SJOSTROM won the women’s event with a jackpot of 12 points, to which Mary-Sophie HARVEY added 6 more for the 3rd place. The Lions only received 5 points for Sydney PICKREM’s 4th place.
In the men’s race, Kliment KOLESNIKOV was first with a jackpot of 15 points, while Andrei ZHILKIN finished 4th and brough the team 5 more points. The Lion Duncan SCOTT came in 2nd and earned 7 points; however, the second swimmer of the Roar did not make the cut-off time and 1 point was deducted from the SCOTT’s earnings.
The teams’ position at this point was as follows:
LON and ENS – 358
LAC – 296.5
DCT – 189.5
After the next race – women’s 100m breaststroke – the Lions were once again a little ahead of the other leader thanks to Alia ATKINSON’s jackpot of 10 points, plus 2 points by Jenna LAUKKANEN for the 7th place.
However, this was the last time for the Lions as in the men’s distance the Standard did a knockout punch. Ilya SHYMANOVICH set his second WORLD RECORD in Eindhoven in the men’s 100m breaststroke and improved his own personal best by another 0.04 seconds. Moreover, he won a jackpot of 30 points, while his teammate Felipe LIMA got the remaining 7. The Lions and the Current did not only fail to score in this swim, but also received a penalty point each.
Energy was keeping up the momentum in the next swim – the women’s 50m butterfly – where Sarah SJOSTROM and Madeline BANIC had a double, getting 22 points for the 1st and the 2nd places. The Londoners, on the other hand, received only 5 points for Kim BUSH’s 4th place.
In the women’s 200m freestyle, Siobhan HAUGHEY brought the standard another enormous jackpot of 30 points and Joanna EVANS of the Tridents was the only other swimmer who received points taking the 2nd place and scoring 7. The Lions and the LA were once again left without any points.
Finally, another great win for the Standard was in the mixed 4x100m medley relay. Their first relay team (Simona KUBOVA, Ilya SHYMANOVICH, Chad le CLOS, Sarah SJOSTROM) finished over 2.5 seconds ahead of their nearest pursuer and took a 30-point jackpot. Energy’s second relay team took the 5th place, so, the club received a total of 38 points in the relay, while LA took 14, London – 10 and DC received 2 penalty points.
LA Current and DC Trident managed to squeeze in between the victories of the Standard. First, LA’s Tom SHIELDS was 1st in the 50m butterfly with a minimum jackpot and Maxime ROONEY added 3 points for the 6th place. Then, DC’s Aleksandr SHCHEGOLEV took the win the men’s 200m freestyle, also with a minimum jackpot. However, in the latter race, the team winner of the race was the LA Current, who took 11 points for the 3rd and 4th places by Fernando SCHEFFER and Martin MALYUTIN.
At this point, the gap between the Standard and the Lions reached 92 points, which made the victory of the Energy Standard an almost inevitable outcome of the match. However, the Roar fought to the very end, convincingly winning both 400m individual medley distances.
First, Sydney PICKREM took the 1st place and 21 points in the women’s IM swim (a jackpot of 15 at the finish line + 6 points for the 1st place mid-distance). In the men’s, Duncan SCOTT took one point more overall (also, a jackpot of 15 at the finish line + 7 jackpot points at the 200m mark).
All in all, out of the 106 points played on the two final courses before the skins, the Lions took 55, the Tridents – 34, Energy – 17 and the Current got 1 penalty points.
As a result, London Roar narrowed the gap with Energy Standard down to 54 points, which gave the Lions some hope.
The position of the teams before the skin-races was as follows:
In the last two swims of the match – the skin races, the stroke was chosen by the Lions. In the women’s, they chose backstroke after the Current blocked butterfly and Energy blocked breaststroke. The men’s skins’ stroke was also chosen to be backstroke after Energy blocked breaststroke and the Current blocked freestyle.
In the women’s skins, Ingrid WILM of the Current won the quarterfinals, the semifinals and the finals with no jackpot, while the Roar’s Kira TOUSSAINT came in 2nd in all three rounds of the skins. At the same time, Energy did not even reach the semifinals and as a result, the Lions narrowed the gap to 35.5 points.
However, the slim chances of the Roar were dispelled in the quarterfinals of the men’s skins, as both teams’ representatives failed to reach the semifinals. This is when an interesting showdown happened: the American Ryan MURPHY of the Current was confronted by the three Russians – Energy’s Kliment KOLESNIKOV and Evgenii RYLOV as well as DC’s Mark NIKOLAEV. Ryan MURPHY came out of this dreadful struggle as the winner, beating Evgenii RYLOV in the finals. Thus, the Current should wait for the result of the last game of the play-off series and hope that the Cali Condors will not allow the Toronto Titans to become the winner and come into the Final Four instead of the usual finalist – the Current.
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.
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