ISL Grand Final, Day 1, Session 1: Energy Standard Out to Repeat

Sarah Sjostrom; Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

ISL Grand Final, Day 1, Session 1: Energy Standard Out to Repeat

For the second straight season, the same four clubs are in the hunt at the ISL Grand Final. Just as in the International Swimming League’s first season, the title will be decided among the Cali Condors, Energy Standard, LA Current and London Roar, wrapping up six weeks of fast swimming in the Budapest bubble.

The two-day final begins Saturday at 14:00 CET (8 a.m. EST), with Day 2 wrapping up Sunday at 18:00 CET (Noon EST).

Last year, in the inaugural ISL Grand Final in Las Vegas, Energy Standard swam away as champions. They are back again, with stalwarts like Chad le Clos, Sarah Sjostrom and Florent Manaudou. But the title defense has been recharged with young stars Siobhan Haughey and Benedetta Pilato.

The Condors enter as slight favorites, having won all five matches this season. Caeleb Dressel, one of three swimmers to set a world record in the semifinals, remains the headliner. But the ‘Dors are so much more, especially on the women’s side, where the likes of Lilly King, Olivia Smoliga, Hali Flickinger and Beata Nelson highlight a deep squad.

London claims two of the world-record holders in ISL this season, with Adam Peaty (men’s 100 breast) and Kira Toussaint (women’s 50 back). One of the most global teams, the Roar have come on strong in recent weeks, finishing second to Energy Standard in the first semifinal.

Last but not least is the Current, led by backstroke star Ryan Murphy and all-arounder Beryl Gastaldello, one of the revelations of ISL’s early history. Ever a danger in the relays and with two of the most potent skins swimmers, the Current should be in the match until the end. In all, nine of the top 10 in the MVP standings will be in the water for the Grand Final.

Session 2 recap >> | Session 3 recap >>

How they got here

ISL Grand Final Team Scores (after Day 1)

  1. Cali Condors 267
  2. Energy Standard 239.5
  3. London Roar 199.5
  4. LA Current 177

ISL Grand Final MVP Standings (through Day 1)

  1. Caeleb Dressel, Cali 40.5
  2. Lilly King, Cali 38.5
  3. Sarah Sjostrom, Energy Standard 26
  4. Ryan Murphy, LA 25.5
  5. Evgeny Rylov, Energy Standard 22
  6. Ilya Shymanovich, Energy Standard 21.5
  7. Beryl Gastaldello, LA 16.5
  8. Olivia Smoliga, Cali 20
  9. Beata Nelson, Cali 18.5
  10. Sydney Pickrem, London 18

Season MVP Standings entering ISL Grand Final

  1. Caeleb Dressel, Cali Condors, 367.5
  2. Beryl Gastaldello, LA Current 296
  3. Ryan Murphy, LA Current 292.5
  4. Lilly King, Cali Current 279
  5. Sarah Sjostrom, Energy Standard 255
  6. Olivia Smoliga, Cali Condors 239
  7. Emre Sakci, Team Iron 231.50
  8. Tom Shields, LA Current 217
  9. Siobhan Haughey, Energy Standard 215
  10. Chad le Clos, Energy Standard 206.50

Women’s 100 Fly

It starts with a sensational race. Kelsi Dahlia, who won the event at last year’s Grand Final, set the pace. But Beryl Gastaldello brought the outside smoke from Lane 1 to nip the win for the Current. The Frenchwoman clocked in at 55.34 seconds, .01 of her top time of the season and the ISL record.

“I’m super happy to get the win in the final with all the pressure and everything,” Gastaldello said on the broadcast. “Off to a good start, but still work to do.”

Sarah Sjostrom was .03 behind in second. Dahlia faded ever so slightly to third in 55.55. Marie Wattel clocked in for London at 55.72 in fourth.

Men’s 100 Fly

It took two events for the first world record to fall, and who else could it be by Caeleb Dressel.

The Cali Condors star absolutely blasted the field in the 100 fly, clocking in at 47.78 seconds to take down the four-year-old world record of Chad le Clos (48.08). It also dashes the American record set by Tom Shields in 2015 (48.63).

Dressel’s splits: out in 22.44, back in 25.34.

Second in the race – and first to congratulate Dressel – was Energy Standard’s le Clos, who took second in 49.45. Shields was third in 48.47, also a personal best.

Points-wise, Dressel took 15 via the jackpot. One of the survivors was Marcin Cieslak in fourth for the Condors, giving them a 20-point haul.

Women’s 200 Back

In maybe a slight upset, Beata Nelson got the better of Emily Seebohm to get the win. Closing strong, Nelson worked the final wall and came back in 30.4 to set a lifetime-best by more than a second, going 2:00.27.

It’s the second-fastest time in American history, trailing only Missy Franklin’s record of 2:00.03 from 2011. It’s the second-fastest in American history and seventh-fastest all-time. It’s also the fastest time in ISL this season.

“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” Nelson said on the broadcast. “Our team is super excited for this match. We’re primed and ready to go and I wanted to get some points for my team, all I could. … This is the big show, so we’re coming up with big swims. We saw Caeleb’s world record before we came out, so that gave me some needed energy.”

Seebohm was second for Energy in 2:01.16. Hali Flickinger added third for the Condors, which got 18 points in the event, via a 12-point jackpot.

Men’s 200 Back

Evgeny Rylov gets Energy Standard on the board, attacking the front half to go 1:46.37 and upend Ryan Murphy by more than a second. It’s a 12-point jackpot for Rylov, with teammate Kliment Kolesnikov grabbing three points in sixth.

Rylov’s time is an ISL record, nearly 2.5 seconds faster than the one that Murphy set at last year’s ISL Grand Final, and lowers his Russian record. Murphy was second in 1:47.41, and Radoslaw Kawecki added quality points for the Condors in fourth at 1:47.90.

Women’s 200 Breast

The top two Americans in history took center stage. Lilly King took the race out, first at every wall and winning in 2:15.56, an American record that upends the 2:16.04 she set in Match 4. King also took a jackpot of 15 points, and the Condors added five points with Molly Hannis in fifth.

London disrupted the haul with Annie Lazor in second, surging to 2:16.33 to become the second-fastest American. Third was Sydney Pickrem in 2:17.75.

Men’s 200 Breast

A fast heat brought London its first win, courtesy of Kirill Prigoda. The Russian controlled the field the whole way, going 2:01.71 to get the Roar big points.

Prigoda was followed by a pair of Americans who cracked the national record. Nic Fink will get his name on the board, going 2:02.20 to undercut the standard of 2:02.33 set by Cody Miller in 2015. Will Licon was also under that mark at 2:02.27 to take big points for the Current in third. Ilya Shymanovich checked in for Energy Standard in fourth with Adam Peaty fifth.

Women’s 4×100 Free

Energy Standard took advantage of double points, assembling a relay that downed the worlds best time in the relay again. The team of Siobhan Haughey, Pernille Blume, Femke Heemskerk and Sarah Sjostom went 3:25.37, a half-second faster than in the semis and an ISL record.

That equals 24 points, with the bottom two relays jackpotted.

Second was the LA Current (Beryl Gastaldello, Anastasia Gorbenko, Andi Murez, Abbey Weitziel) in 3:27.90, just .08 ahead of London (Freya Anderson, Mariia Kameneva, Marie Wattel, Anna Hopkin).