Beryl Gastaldello Uses Powerful ISL Season to Surge into World’s Elite

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Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

Beryl Gastaldello has always swam a bit under the radar. After the 2020 International Swimming League (ISL) season, that is no longer the case.

The LA Current swimmer produced a speed explosion the entire season, breaking multiple French records, to push the Current into the ISL Grand Final. Gastaldello won 18 individual races during the season, including three in the finals, and finished third overall in the ISL season MVP standings.

In the ISL bubble in Budapest, Gastaldello, who has battled injuries and mental health issues during her career, was quite jovial, posting fun moments on social media — like pretending to be a news anchor at the ISL — to the rest of the world.

 

 

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Beryl Gastaldello then proved to have that much fun in the pool, too, winning at an astonishing pace.

“She is an absolute force,” LA Current teammate Dylan Carter said. “Last year, we saw signs of it. She really came onto the scene and, this season, she has been at a whole other level. Having an athlete like that on your team is inspiring.”

She did not win a race in her first meet of the season, then won 5-4-4-3-3, plus raced several other events to score even more points for her team. She had two second-place finishes, two third, two fourth and a sixth-place finish on the season and also won the 50 free skins.

Swimming all of those events, it is stunning she was only lower than third three times and only out of the top four once.

“It was fortunate for us that the women’s 100 fly is the first event of every meet,” Carter said. “Whenever she dives in, she is just crushing it an dit just inspires the rest of us and gets the momentum going for us.”

Gastaldello’s momentum build personally, too.

In the first ISL match, Gastaldello had two runner-up finishes and a third-place finish.

In the Match 3 (her second meet of the season) she tied teammate Abbey Weitzeil to win the 50 freestyle (23.79), won the 50 backstroke (26.52), the 50 butterfly (24.79) and the 100 freestyle (51.71). If that wasn’t enough, she won the 50 freestyle skins and was named the match MVP.

That put the entire ISL on notice that Gastaldello was much more versatile than expected and would be an MVP contender in every meet.

Beryl Gastaldello (photo: Mike Lewis)

Beryl Gastaldello. Photo Courtesy: MIKE LEWIS / ISL

Her next match saw a win in the 100 butterfly (55.84), the 50 free (23.76), the 100 free (51.30), the 50 fly (24.95) and finished second in the MVP standings.

In her final regular-season match, she won the 100 fly (55.71), was second in the 50 free (23.78), won the 100 free (51.16), won the 100 IM (57.43) — both French records — the 50 fly (25.30) and was second to Caeleb Dressel in the MVP standings.

In the semifinals, she was fourth in the MVP standings after winning the 100 butterfly (55.32), was third in the 50 free (23.66), second in the 50 backstroke (26.43), won the 100 free (51.38), won the 100 IM (57.86), was third in the butterfly (25.05),

In the final, she won the 100 fly in 55.34, holding off Sarah Sjostrom by three hundredths of a second. Gastaldello was sixth in the 50 free (23.55), fourth in the 50 backstroke (26.57), won the 100 free (51.38), just two hundredths ahead of Siobhan Haughey, then won the 100 IM (57.30) and was fourth in the 50 fly (25.33).

In the finals, she finished third in the MVP standings behind Dressel and Lilly King.

That was how the season MVP went as well. Gastaldello was third with 340.5 for the season behind Dressel (463.5) and King (350).

In Match 10, Gastaldello broke her own French record in the 100 free (51.16) and also broke the French record in the 100 IM (57.43).

It was part of an impressive season that saw Gastaldello finally earn recognition as one of the world’s top swimmers.

Gastaldello was a 2016 Olympian for France — a third-generation Olympian in her family — and was a 13-time All-American at Texas A&M but was mostly overshadowed by a stacked Aggie team that included Sydney Pickrem, Lisa Bratton, Bethany Galat and Sarah Gibson.

It was a team that surged to the highest A&M finish in school history.

Beryl Gastaldello played a huge role and continued to build on her performances into her post-grad career as a professional.

Like her career at Texas A&M and internationally, the 2020 ISL season was another step toward the world’s elite — and this time no one was overshadowing her dominance.

2 comments

  1. Stephanie Slee

    She’s amazing and such a lovely outgoing personality! So positive. The 50free skins win was impressive.