Caeleb The Condor Dressel Soars As Skins King And Triple Winner But Energy Take Tight Match By 2.5 Points

Caeleb Dressel emerges from his first match with Florent Manaudou with a massive smile ion his face - Photo Courtesy: Eurosport

International Swim League (ISL): Day Two – Naples (Live)

When Caeleb The Condor Dressel touched down in Naples, his mission was clear: take the fight to Energy, top team at the first-ever round of the International Swimming League in Indianapolis last week.

The sums were easy to follow. Sarah Sjostrom, Femke Heemskerk, Florent Manaudou and Ben Proud topped the 50m skins events and helped Energy win all the relays in Indianapolis. Sprint events carry double points; relays triple points. Job done and the biggest threat, Cali Condors, kept at bay.

On the first day of action in Naples yesterday, Dressel shifted the dynamic in favour of the Condors, helped by the likes of a Lilly King double.


Caeleb Dressel – Photo Courtesy: Eurosport

By the close of business on the second day, Dressel was Most-Valuable Player by a League and without a shadow off a doubt but the way the points fall through the ranks mean that 1 hero and not even 1 terrific team effort is not enough. Energy took much on the chin but still emerged as the winners – by a tight 2.5 points:

  • Energy: 493
  • Condors: 490.5
  • DC Trident: 322
  • Aqua: 321.5

Dressel, whose made mincemeat out of Florent Manaudou and the rest in the 50 free skins (three rounds of sprints in swift succession) with a triple of low 21sec efforts,  took his team’s narrow defeat on the chin, saying: “There are no drastic changes needed: we just have to clean up in some areas. ”

He had enjoyed “Every single race. It was an absolute blast; two days of solid racing and that from the whole team. We’re missing a couple of people so there’s more to come.” A multi-mission racer whose soaring NCAA career and preparation with the Gators and coach Gregg Troy, now head mentor to the Condors, stood him in good stead tonight, Dressel added after mauling his challengers in the skins:

“I’m trained to go from individual to relay and back to individual: this doesn’t happen by coincidence.”

It was then put to the gracious champion by forever British sprinter Mark Foster that the “world had said goodbye to Michael Phelps but hello to Caeleb Dressel”. Says Dressel: “Well, I wouldn’t say that – but thanks.”


Michael Phelps and Caeleb Dressel celebrate Rio 2016 4×100 free gold – Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Dressel got to know what it was like to be on a team with Phelps, both in the winning 4x100m free at Rio 2016 as the GOAT and most decorated Olympian, by far, in history, hurtled towards  a destiny in the outer orbit of all sporting achievements. Dressel went from go, Phelps next in, Manaudou third for France.

Today was the first time Manaudou met Dressel and vice versa across the lane rope in a head-to-head clash.

Foster, meanwhile, was much closer to the mark when he praised the American sprinter for his blistering starts: when you can take half a body length off Manaudou by the time you streamline into stroke, then the world of sprinters understands only too well the danger in Dressel.

Dressel will go to Tokyo next year in search of what would be a first solo gold medal at a Games. He may win a few but 23 gold atop 28 medals in all is not open to comparison and won’t be for many Olympic cycles to come.

By the first break today, Dressel, King and Co had done a lot of damage, Condors General Manager  Jason Lezak noting after watching his women’s 4x100m medley relay dominate: “That was awesome. We placed a lot more emphasis on the relays this week and we’re going for a strong finish in the skins.”

Dressel vs Manaudou Vs Proud – thriller ahead. James Gibson, head coach for Energy believed the meet would come down to …

“Dressel Vs Manaudou in the skins – that’ll decide this match. Swimming needs Messi Vs Ronaldo and this is it.”

By the time he got to the skins, Dressel had won the 100m free (45.77), the 50m ‘fly (22.34), thumped a 45.65 hole in the Mixed Free relay for the Condors – and was heading towards Most-Valuable Player Status for the Naples meet.


Hats off to the MPV – Caeleb Dressel stunned his opposition – Photo Courtesy: Eurosport

Gibson was delighted with his team’s showing, Ione that relied heavily on sprints and relay efforts, the tactic obvious: go for the places where the points come thickest and fastest. Gibson revealed that his mum had spoken to him win the phone earlier in the day after the Condors led on day 1 in Naples and reminded him to take a Churchillian approach to Day 2:

“Never give up, never surrender… I’m pleased with the start of the season. Our tactics and the way we’ve gone about it have paid dividends. The other teams are catching on and will want to catch up.”

Gibson would be “buying everyone a beer tonight”, something he never gets to say on Great Britain or national team duty, alcohol being forbidden.

Lezak is still working out how best to use his team’s strengths and a fantastic beast like Dressel:

“He can swim everything, right, so it was hard to figure out. You put him in the obvious events but there is also other events you could use him, so there was a lot of strategy, trying to fill pieces of where we thought we needed to make up points. We knew going into this that the relays and the skins where a huge factor, just having Caeleb alone enables us to save certain people, to move certain people out of events or into events to do better on the relays. Its not just having him for the one relay, its not using other people and having them as well.”

Chad Le Clos dominated the 200 ‘fly – Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

As Naples came to a close, Dressel’s “need to clean” some things up is a part of the dawning of a hard truth: Caeleb’s calibre is not in question but there are few hiding places in a League set up with a bias for the 50s and relays – and not much scope for “saving” folk.

Said Lezak before the final session: “That was a lot of strategy to figure out who to rest, who to put in, and I think the coaches did a great job figuring that out.”
Manaudou to one side, Chad Le Clos, winner of the 100 ‘fly ahead of Dressel on Day One (and the 200 by a big margin today), to the other. ON where to place Dressel, a 50 to 200 danger, Lezak said:

“It was a difficult decision, we actually struggled in the 200 free last competition and we debated putting Caeleb in. And we saw Energy Standard put Chad le Clos in there, so that was something where we had a hard time trying to figuring out: Should we use him there, should we not. And it came down to deciding not. And I think it was the right decision. Kacper (Majchrzka) stepped up, swam faster, so that helped a lot.”

Dressel: Better Than I’d Anticipated

World champion over 50 and 100m freestyle and butterfly last July, Dressel emerged from his ISL debut to pay plaudits to the team concept driving him:

“Its been a blast, this is much, much better than I was anticipating, and I was expecting a lot. I don’t really care about my body tonight, it is just about getting points for the team. Whatever they need me to do, I want to be there. I am on a team for a reason, where we need points thats where I want to show up.”

He added: “This was one of the best meets I have ever been at. The fans, the lights, the music. It is very clean racing, very exciting, very fun energy. It is a very fun meet. Obviously we are still learning, but relays play a huge part, they got us the night. It (the fight agains ES) is really starting to turn into a rivalry already, I enjoy that.

“I think it is great for the sport. It’s cool to be part of this time, watch the sport grow. Its cool to see this happen during my time in the pool. There is no pressure here, there is just clean racing.”

More from Caeleb Dressel on showcasing swimming talent:

Most-Valuable Player (MPV) last week at the ISL debut in Indianapolis, Sarah Sjöström, of Energy, struggled on the first day of action, with a loss to Kelsi Dahlia in the 100m butterfly, but still ended the day as the woman who notched up more team points than any other.

The Swedish ace, on the way to wins in the 100 free, the 50 fly and then the 50 free skins, nodded to the learning curve but cited the knowledgeable crowd as a part of the remedy: “Its a very short time between races, I am trying to find a way to recover fast between the events. I am enjoying it and the crowd is amazing here. It is always cool to race in Italy, they don’t only like the Italian swimmers, they like all stars, even the ones from Sweden, I am enjoying it a lot.”

Caeleb Dressel of the United States of America (USA) on his way winning in the men's 100m Butterfly Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 27 July 2019.

Caeleb Dressel – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Day Two Race Reports – bottom to top, latest race at the top – And Points Below This Day One outcome:

Team Scores After Day One

  • Cali Condors – 237.5
  • Energy Standard – 230
  • Aqua Centurions – 174
  • D.C. Trident – 162.5

MVP Standings After Day One

  • Caeleb Dressel – 22.5 points
  • Chad Le Clos – 22 points
  • Sarah Sjostrom – 20.5 points
  • Olivia Smoliga – 19.5 points

Sarah Sjostrom – Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Final MPV Points in Naples:

  • Caeleb Dressel CC 57.5
  • Sarah Sjostrom Ene 52.0
  • Chad Le Clos Ene 44.5
  • Olivia Smoliga CC 44
  • Bethany Galat DC 33.5

ISL – Naples Day 2

Energy Take The Match –

  • Energy: 493
  • Condors: 490.5
  • DC Trident: 322
  • Aqua: 321.5

The Season Club Points so Far after two matches, four rounds to come before the FINAL Match:

Rank Club Indianapolis Naples Total
1 Energy Standard 4 4 8
2 Cali Condors 3 3 6
3 DC Trident 2 2 4
4 Aqua Centurions 1 1 2

Men’s 50m free skins

Round 3: The Condor swoops for the kill: 21.33. Caeleb Dressel is a multi-event sprinter with a massive NCAA career in the bag from his Gator days with coach Gregg Troy, now Condors head coach. Huge dive, massive turn. Game over. Manaudou: two body lengths back on 23.13 – hardly a match at all, as it turned out.

Dressel Vs Manaudou:

  • Regardless – the scores behind the big two and previous racing stack up to this: the Match goes to Energy by 2.5 points:  

Round 2: Tension, crackle and pop – off they go once more … and it’s Dressel by a mile on 21.31, Manaudou (21.78) through and conserving Energy for Energy? We’ll soon see.

Round 1Caeleb The Condor Dressel leads Energy’s Florent Manaudou to the wall in 21.05 to 21.25. Four go through: Energy’s Ben Proud is matched by Aqua’s Kristian Gkolomeev, at 21.51.

Women’s 50m free skins

Round 3: Fibres shuddering, Sjostrom, the world long-course record holder takes the win in 25.03, Heemskerk a finger away (25.16), the Energy 1-2 a match of the result in Indianapolis a week ago.

Points: Energy take the meet lead on 460 to 459.5 over the Condors – all down to the men. 

Round 2: Round 2: Sjostrom clocks 23.90 – and Heemskerk makes it 1-2 for Energy – top points assured, the Energy box on the deck cheering in frenetic unison.

Round 1: Sarah Sjostrom, on 24.00, wins but Energy mate Femke Heemskerk (24.22) is pipped by DC’s Siobhan Haughey (24.14), all three through, the growing 200m strength from Hong Kong a danger.

Gibson and the Energy Team soaking up the win:

Men’s 200m butterfly

World s/c record holder Chad Le Clos was a league apart, leading from the get-go to a 1:50.60 top-points score for Energy. Next home were 200IM winner Andreas Vazaios (1:52.52) for DC and giant of ‘fly and medley racing, Laszlo Cseh (1:54.18) for Aqua. Le Clos and Cseh shared a thrilling historic three-way silver with Michael Phelps in the 100m butterfly at the Rio Olympic Games when Joe Schooling took the first gold in the pool in Olympic history for Singapore. Le Clos said:

“Honestly, the crowd is amazing. It’s a real privilege coming back to Italy. Last rase of the day, you pout your head down. It’s going to come down to the skins. If Cali take it good for them but I’m confident we can take it. The important thing is that ticket to Vegas.”

The top two teams based in U.S and top two Europe based in the six rounds, with four to come in solving the other four teams, will go to the showdown in Las Vegas on December 21-22.

Women’s 200m butterfly

The Condors flew on butterfly, Megan Kingsley taking the win in 2:05.45 ahead of mate Kelsi Dahlia (2:05.80), Aqua’s Ilaria Bianchi (2:06.96) third home.

Points at the 2nd Break

  • Condors 425.5
  • Energy 396
  • Aqua 286.5
  • DC Trident 286

Mixed 4x100m Freestyle

All teams put their men up first, women at the back end of battle, barring the Condors A team. By the time the men were done Energy had established a strong lead it would not relinquish. Could this be a the moment when the Energy squad could catch up with the Condors enough to make the skins as significant as coach James Gibson had suggested?

Result: Energy 3.17.09 way ahead of the Condors, Aqua third and DC Trident locked out. Energy’s squad: Sergey Shevtsov (47.23); Ivan Girev (46.58); Kayla Sanchez (51.68) and Olympic 100m free champion Penny Oleksiak (51.60).

At the back end for the Condors, Dressel chased all bar one down with a 45.65 split. 

That left a 29.5-points gap between the top two teams, while Aqua and DC were split by half a point going into the third and final section of the day and last battle of the meet, skins ahoy.

Women’s 100m backstroke

World 50m champion Olivia Smoliga (56.24) and fellow Condor and World 100m champion Kylie Masse (56.61) soared ahead of Energy’s former Work champion Emily Seebohm (57.20). Smoliga following up a 56.56 lead in the medley relay with a faster effort in the solo.

Men’s 100m backstroke

World champion Evgeny Rylov, of Energy, kept Simone Sabbione (50.78), Aqua, and Mitch Larkin (50.87), Condors, at bay with a 50.25 win.

Women’s 50m butterfly

Work record holder Sarah Sjostrom was not to be denied: 2a blistering 24.98 did the job, Kelsi Dahlia (25.31), the Condor who beat the Swedish ace and Olympic champion in the 100m yesterday, and Brianna Throssel (25.60)l, of DC Trident, next home.

Men’s 50m butterfly

Energy took the fight to the Condors by fielding Chad Le Clos and Florent Manaudou – but Caeleb Dressel was having none of it and kept the challenge at bay for top points on 22.34. Le Clos on 22.53, Manaudou 22.69.

Women’s 200m medley

Melanie Margalis, who took down the American recoiled last week in Indianapolis and had already put in 3:58 400m free at the start of the session this evening, dominated battle Jon the way to a 2:05.17 win for the Condors. Kayla Sanchez (2:07.71), Energy, and Bethany Galat (2:07.99), DC, both racing follow-ups, completed the top 3.

Men’s 200m medley

Andreas Vazaios shared the win for Dc Trident in 1:53.44 with Mitch Larkin, Condors, Philip Heintz, Aqua, third in 1:54.05.

Points at the First Break

  • Condors 332.5
  • Energy 307
  • Aqua: 233
  • DC Trident 226.5

Women’s 4x100m medley

The Condors flew to a 3:47.46 victory over DC Trident and Energy Standard. Olivia Smoliga (56.56) handed over to Lilly King (1:03.74), Kelsi Dahlia (55.20) to Natalie Hinds (51.96) for the win.

Men’s 400m freestyle

DC Trident teammates Zane Grothe, first home on 3:41.03, and Poul Zollman (3:41.80) were split by Energy’s Mykhailo Romanchuk (3:41.38by the end of s stroke-for-stroke over 16 laps.

Women’s 400m freestyle

World long-course champion and World short-course record holder and champion, Ariarne Titmus led Condors teammate Melanie Margalis (3:58.85) to a 1-2 finish in 3:58.34. Sarah Kohler (4:00.87), of Aqua Centurions, was next home to give the home crowd a top-three cheer.

Men’s 100m Breaststroke

Energy’s Ilya Shymanovich turned at 26.33 and refused to yield sin his way to a 56.35 win. He was chased by Aqua Centurions Nicolo Martinenghi (56.97) and Fabio Scozzoli (57.32), which raised the Richter scale of noise from a supportive crowd contributing much to the excitement of a fast-pace show.

Women’s 100m Breaststroke

Olympic champion Lilly King and Condors teammate Molly Hannis dominated the race. King set the pace from go to a golden 1:04.21, off a 29.97 split, Hannis (1:05.13) following close, third place to DC Trident’s Bethany Galat (1:05.21).

Men’s 100m freestyle

Caeleb Dressel kept his powder dry in the first 50m before unleashing a cannonball of speed. The last lap was a furious drive into the lead, Dressel on 45.77 by close of first business of the day, for top points to the Cali Condors. Energy collected two lots of second-home points, Evgeny Rylov  and Chad le Clos sharing second place in 46.72.

Women’s 100m freestyle

Energy took a 1-2 top-points start to Day Two when World record holder Sarah Sjostrom took it to the opposition with a 24.73 at the 50m turn on her wy to a 51.66 victory. Teammate Kayla Sanchez (51.87) follow, with DC Trident’s Siobhan Haughey (51.93) third home.

Next stop: Dallas, where the remaining four ISL teams join the fight, bringing Olympic Champions and World champions such as Adam Peaty and Cate Campbell (London Roar), Katinka Hosszu (Team Iron), Ryan Murphy (LA Current) and Michael Andrew (NY Breakers) to the ISL arena on October 19-20.

The Prize Money Points

Rank Name Club Code Total
1 DRESSEL Caeleb CAC 45
3 SMOLIGA Olivia CAC 28
4 le CLOS Chad ENS 25
5 KING Lilly CAC 21
5 MANAUDOU Florent ENS 21
6 DAHLIA Kelsi CAC 19
8 MARGALIS Melanie CAC 16
8 SANCHEZ Kayla ENS 16
9 RYLOV Evgeny ENS 15.5
11 HAUGHEY Siobhan DCT 14.5
11 MASSE Kylie CAC 14.5
13 GALAT Bethany DCT 13
14 LARKIN Mitch CAC 12
15 HANNIS Molly CAC 10.5
16 TITMUS Ariarne CAC 10
17 CORREIA Breno AQC 9
17 SABBIONI Simone AQC 9
17 VAZAIOS Andreas DCT 9
18 PROUD Ben ENS 8.5
19 FINK Nic CAC 8
20 STRAVIUS Jeremy DCT 7.5
21 HINDS Natalie CAC 7
21 SEEBOHM Emily ENS 7
22 GROTHE Zane DCT 6.5
22 KOLESNIKOV Kliment ENS 6.5
23 RIVOLTA Matteo AQC 6
23 SHEVTSOV Sergey ENS 6
24 GIREV Ivan ENS 5.5
25 BILIS Simonas ENS 5
25 GKOLOMEEV Kristian AQC 5
25 LESAFFRE Fantine ENS 5
25 MIRESSI Alessandro AQC 5
25 THROSSELL Brianna DCT 5
26 COMERFORD Mallory CAC 4.5
27 ROMANCHUK Mykhaylo ENS 4
27 SHKURDAI Anastasia ENS 4
28 BECKER Bowe CAC 3
28 CLARK Imogen ENS 3
28 KAWECKI Radoslaw CAC 3
28 RESS Justin CAC 3
28 SHEBAT John CAC 3
29 PELLEGRINI Federica AQC 2.5
30 BIANCHI Ilaria AQC 2
30 CARRARO Martina AQC 2
30 CSEH Laszlo AQC 2
30 di LIDDO Elena AQC 2
30 HARVEY Mary-Sophie ENS 2
30 HEINTZ Philip AQC 2
30 IPSON Anton CAC 2
30 KOHLER Sarah AQC 2
30 MILLER Cody DCT 2
31 APOSTALON Anika DCT 1.5
31 OLIVEIRA Larissa AQC 1.5
31 WASICK Kasia CAC 1.5
32 APPLE Zach DCT 1
32 BRUHN Annika DCT 1
32 DAVIES Georgia ENS 1
32 HOLLARD Tristan DCT 1
32 KENNEDY Madison DCT 1
32 KUBOVA Simona DCT 1
32 NEALE Leah DCT 1
32 SMITH Kierra ENS 1
32 ZIRK Kregor ENS 1
33 CORDES Kevin DCT 0.5
33 di PIETRO Silvia AQC 0.5
33 MUNOZ del CAMPO Lidon AQC 0.5
33 SMITH Giles DCT 0.5

Viewers can watch HERE:

1 comment

  1. avatar

    I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the ISL thus far. I much prefer the 50m pool and individual competition. It’s new and maybe it will improve a lot as it evolves, and maybe it’s the first step in moving away from FINA, which is so important.