Four more teams kicked off their 2020 ISL seasons on Sunday in Budapest, Hungary as London Roar, DC Triden, Aqua Centurions, and Iron swam their first races.
It was a roller-coaster of a day that saw London jump out to a huge lead ahead of the field thanks to a number of jackpot finishes.
TEAM SCORES AFTER DAY ONE
- London Roar – 294.0
- Aqua Centurions – 197.0
- Iron – 194.0
- DC Trident – 181.0
In 20 events, there were 9 wins by London, and several of those, including a 15-pointed from Annie Lazor in the 200 breaststroke, saw big jackpot takes.
Below are the biggest storylines coming out of day 1 of the meet.
Meet 1 vs. Meet 2
We sort of knew this on paper going in, but of the first 2 meets, the first one, with Cali Condors, LA Current, Energy Standard, and New York Breakers had the stronger field than did this 2nd meet.
London Roar looked better than expected without the Australians – still showing off depth in the men’s relays especially. But, it’s hard to know yet what that’s going to look like against a tougher field.
That won’t really happen until week 3, when London faces DC, LA Current, and the Tokyo Frog Kings, who we haven’t yet seen yet but who are expected to be in the top half of the league.
London then has to race against the Cali Condors, who dominated the first meet, twice to end the regular season.
Regardless, by winning this meet, which it appears they’re more-than-ready to do, especially now that they get to pick the strokes for both skins races, they’ve all-but-guaranteed victory here. That alone could be enough to get them into the top 8 and qualify for the semi-finals.
After this meet ends, we’ll run some math on how the teams from the two meets stack up.
DC Trident Women’s Backstrokers
There were a pair of first-time winners in the women’s backstrokes, both of the DC Trident. In the 50, Linnea Mack swam 26.30 to top the field, though she may have gotten away with a 15 meter violation; in the 200, Amy Bilquist won the 200 back in 2:02.23.
There were a ton of first-time winners on the day, but for the Trident this was a big emotional win for them, to sweep the women’s backstrokes, especially for Bilquist to so handily beat the field in the 200 that included Katinka Hosszu, Kira Toussaint, and Darina Zevina, among others.
The Trident had quite a few wins on the day, and some really good relay swims to boot. But they lost a lot of points by Jackpot as well, which has kept them in last place so far.
Zach Apple‘s Relay Splits
DC Trident’s Zach Apple was 3rd individually in the 50 free, but his two biggest performances so far have been on DC Trident’s relays. He split 45.15 on an anchor on a men’s 400 free relay, and then 45.43 on an anchor on a men’s 400 medley relay.
For comparison, the fastest split in meet 1 on a 400 free relay was 46.29. Maxime Rooney split 45.86 on a medley relay anchor, but Apple is far-and-away ahead of the rest of the field in relay splits right now.
Monday’s flat-start will be enlightening. Caeleb Dressel swam 45.87 in the individual 100 free in meet 1.
Katinka Hosszu Falters on Day 1
The Hungarian Hosszu, who was one of the top swimmers in season 1 of the ISL, struggled in 2 swims on day 1 of the meet, at least by her standards.
She swam 2:07.74 in the 200 IM for 3rd place. Her slowest time in season 1 in that event was 2:06.22, and she was as fast as 2:04.16.
In the 200 back, she was 5th in 2:06.86. Her slowest time in season 1 was a 2:06.22, and she was as fast as 2:02.09.
We’ve seen a few stars falter this year in the ISL. Adam Peaty hasn’t won a race, Caeleb Dressel struggled early but then recovered, Chad le Clos was 4th in the 100 fly. This has left opportunities for some new swimmers to step up and score some points and earn some money.
This is a reminder that this ISL format is not the same format as the Olympics, and that while swimmers have certainly been able to perform well in both, the approach is not exactly the same. That’s sort of what makes this format interesting, the potential for variability, and that’s starting to show itself more this season than last.
She was picked up by her teammates, and especially Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Melanie Henique for a 1-2 finish in the women’s 50 free. Depth for relays was a struggle for Iron last year, and they’re a little better this year, so that gives them hope of moving up from 5th to 4th and into the final this season.