International Swimming League to Hold Final Match in Budapest Instead of Tokyo

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The International Swimming League has finalized its schedule for the 2020 season, with it kicking off in Budapest on Friday, October 16, and concluding in the same place on Sunday, November 22. It was originally intended that the semi-finals would finish in Budapest in late November with the finalists moving on to Tokyo in December. But in order to “ensure the ongoing safety of the teams and to reduce the need to travel in these uncertain times,” the final will remain in Budapest with no time off in between.

The schedule looks as follows:

  • October 16 – 17: Energy StandardCali CondorsNew York BreakersLA Current
  • October 18 – 19: London RoarDC TridentAqua CenturionsTeam Iron
  • October 24 – 25: Aqua Centurions, Tokyo Frog Kings, LA Current, Toronto Titans
  • October 26 – 27: DC Trident, Team Iron, Cali Condors, New York Breakers
  • October 30 – 31: London Roar, DC Trident, LA Current, Tokyo Frog Kings
  • November 1 – 2: Energy Standard, Aqua Centurions, New York Breakers, Toronto Titans
  • November 5 – 6: London Roar, Tokyo Frog Kings, Cali Condors, New York Breakers
  • November 5 – 6: Energy Standard, DC Trident, Toronto Titans, Team Iron
  • November 9 – 10: Energy Standard, Team Iron, Tokyo Frog Kings, Toronto Titans
  • November 9 – 10: London Roar, Cali Condors, LA Current, Aqua Centurions
  • November 14 – 15: Semi-Finals
  • November 15 – 16: Semi-Finals
  • November 21 – 22: Grand Final

International Swimming League rule changes include a twist to the skins – a series of back-to-back races which operate on a knockout basis, with the two remaining swimmers racing each other in a head-to-head final.

  • This season the head coach of the winning men’s and women’s 4x100m medley relays will choose which stroke will be contested. For example, should London Roar be in pole position, they could look to the presence of Adam Peaty and Kirill Prigoda and select breaststroke whereas last year it was only freestyle.
  • So too will there be points awarded after each round of the skins, another new innovation.
  • Another addition is the jackpot time rule. Jackpot times are determined in advance: for instance, 1.35secs in the men’s 100 free. If the winner touches in 45secs, all those who are slower than 46.35 forfeit their points to the man who stopped the clock first.

Thereotically, that means an athlete can earn the full 37 points for their team should they finish the given margin ahead of the entire field. It also applies to relays and skins.

  • The 100IM for men and women have been added and will bring the programme to a close at the end of the second day where it was the skins that concluded the meet last season.
  • In an echo of VAR technology in football, a head coach can dispute disqualifications on starts or relay exchanges using the video system referee.
  • Line-ups will be provided in advance but the head coach has the opportunity to change which athletes are going to swim in each event during the two breaks in the match each day.
  • Teams are allocated their own lanes eliminating confusion and making them recognisable.
  • So too ratings which are applied to swimmers to offer more insight to the fans with greater engagement the aim.
  • There are point penalties for the clubs in case of a swimmer’s disqualification or no-show in a race.
  • There are also cut-off time that the swimmers need to be inside. If they swim slower than those times, they are penalised (-1 for individual races and -2 for relay races).
  • All athletes will be paid $1500 per month from September 2020 to July 2021 when the rescheduled Olympic Games will take place.

There are:

  • Ten teams with four competing in each match. Each team will have two athletes per event and two squads per relay event.
  • Each team has 32 swimmers on their roster – 16 men and 16 women – and 28 will compete in each match.
  • There will be 32 individual races, five relay events and two skins events.
  • Each athlete scores points according to their ranking with the winner getting nine points, the runner-up seven points and the third six in descending order with the eighth-placed swimmer taking home one point.

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