ISL Match 2: Caeleb Dressel Helps Cali Condors to Big Lead, Daiya Seto Wins Two, Coleman Stewart Excels

caeleb-dressel-record-condors
Caeleb Dressel -- Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

ISL Match 2: Caeleb Dressel Helps Cali Condors to Big Lead, Daiya Seto Wins Two, Coleman Stewart Excels

One day after Energy Standard comfortably won the opening match of 2021 ISL season, four more teams were in action during the second meet of the ISL season. The first 11 matches of this short course meters league are all being held over a five-week stretch in Naples, Italy, and this Saturday-Sunday include the Tokyo Frog Kings, New York Breakers, Los Angeles Current and the 2020 league champion Cali Condors.

Indeed, the Condors crushed their competition on day one of their season, moving almost 100 points ahead of their closest competition. Olympic superstar Caeleb Dressel returned to racing for the first time since winning five Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, and backstroker Coleman Stewart won the 50 back and set the 100 back American record on a relay leadoff. Not to be outdone, Condor women Kelsi DahliaBeata NelsonLilly King and Molly Hannis each touched first at least once.

The only other two-time event winner was Daiya Seto, the Japanese star coming off an extremely disappointing Olympics. He bounced back nicely Saturday with two individual victories.

Team Scores After Saturday

  • Cali Condors 331
  • LA Current 238
  • Tokyo Frog Kings 189.5
  • NY Breakers 139.5

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Women’s 100 Butterfly

Cali Condors’ Kelsi Dahlia swam well at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but she was not able to earn a spot on a second Olympic team as she placed fourth behind three teenagers in the 100 butterfly at Trials. But the 27-year-old Dahlia is still an elite performer, and she figures to show off her short course skills all ISL season. Dahlia trailed Tokyo Frog Kings’ Ali Tetzloff at the halfway point, but she dominated the second half and touched in 55.63. Dahlia ranks second all-time in the 100 fly in 54.84, behind only Sarah Sjostrom.

The Condors finished 1-2 as Erika Brown placed second in 55.63, while New York Breakers’ Svitlana Chimrova placed third in 56.93. Tetzloff ended up fourth in 57.13.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

Competing for the first time since finishing off his five-gold-medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics, Caeleb Dressel was in fifth place at the halfway point of the men’s 100 fly, 0.35 off the pace set by the LA Current’s Tom Shields. But Dressel was merely relaxing on the way out, and his second 50 split of 25.56 was almost a second faster than anyone else. He recorded a 49.03 to win the event for the Cali Condors by more than six tenths. As good as Dressel was at the Olympics, he is even better in short course than long course, and he set the world record of 47.78 during last year’s ISL final.

Shields placed second in 49.67, with New York’s Matt Temple (49.79) and Tokyo’s Takeshi Kawamoto (49.80).

Women’s 200 Backstroke

The LA Current’s Kathleen Baker has been battling an ankle injury this summer, and she missed making the U.S. Olympic team, but she looked excellent through 150 meters of the 200 back. Her 150 split of 1:32.15 was more than a second ahead of the field — but then the wheels came off and three swimmers went past Baker coming home. At that point, Cali Condors’ Beata Nelson pulled ahead of the field and came out on top. The win was the third straight for Cali to begin the meet.

Nelson, the winner of the event at last year’s ISL final, swam a 2:03.59, well off her best time of 2:00.27 that ranks eighth all-time. LA Current’s Ingrid Wilm finished a half-second back in second (2:04.55), and New York’s Daryna Zevina placed third in 2:05.50, three tenths ahead of Baker (2:05.80).

Men’s 200 Backstroke

A back-and-forth affair in the men’s 200 back saw New York’s Oleg Braunscheig lead through 150 meters, but the race really didn’t get started until the last 50 as Braunscheig had the slowest split and faded to sixth. Then, two members of the Tokyo Frog Kings took over, and Grigory Tarasevich touched first in 1:51.74. His teammate Richard Bohus came in second at 1:52.10, barely holding off Cali’s Coleman Stewart (1:52.15). Stewart finished the race with a 27.28 split, by far the fastest in the field, but it was not enough to maintain Cali’s winning streak to begin the meet. LA Current’s Apostolos Cristou finished a close fourth in 1:52.23.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

Following a dominant 2020 ISL season and then a three-medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics (including her first-ever medal at a major meet in the 200 breast), the Cali Condors’ Lilly King made her ISL debut with her first victory. King went out fast, as is her signature, but teammate Emily Escobedo passed King on the third 50. But King asserted herself on the last two lengths with a 34.86 split, and that was enough for her to get the win in 2:17.86. King ranks fourth all-time in the SCM version of the event in 2:15.56. Escobedo was second in 2:18.63, and New York’s Abbie Wood placed third in 2:19.43.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

Following a disappointing Olympics where he made just one final and one no medals, Tokyo Frog Kings’ Daiya Seto dominated his first ISL race of the season. That was a bit of a surprise considering this was the 200 breaststroke and Seto was competing against a strong field of breaststroke specialists, including ISL-record holder Marco Koch and Frog Kings teammate and Japanese countryman Yasuhiro Koseki. Both men have won medals in the 200 breast at a World Championships (Koch gold in 2015 and silver in 2013, Koseki silver in 2017), and Seto is an IM specialist and occasional butterflyer. But Seto rocketed to a 2:02.72, almost 2.5 seconds ahead of Koseki (2:05.15). Koch took third in 2:05.88.

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay

The LA Current dominated the first relay of the day as Madison Wilson (52.18), Abbey Weitzeil (51.54), Alyssa Marsh (54.24) and Valentine Dumont (53.33) combined to swim a 3:31.29. The Current managed their triumph by stacking their top two swimmers on the front end, and indeed, Wilson and Weitzeil ended up recording the best two splits in the entire race, giving more than big enough a margin for Marsh and Dumont to hold on. That gave LA the win plus the jackpot, but the Cali Condors placed second and third to walk way with 26 points (compared to 24 for LA). The group of Katerine SavardMarie PietruschkaKelsi Dahlia and Erika Brown placed second in 3:33.07, with Brown anchoring in 52.33, and the foursome of Sherridon DresselMaaike de WaardLeonie Kullman and Beata Nelson swam a 3:35.23. Nelson also anchored in a quick 52.33, matching Brown.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Two races and two wins for Caeleb Dressel. He holds the 50 free world record in 20.16, and he swam a 20.86 in his first meet in Naples. That earned him a three-tenth triumph over the LA Current’s Vladislav Bukhov (21.18), and Dressel’s Cali teammate Justin Ress was just 0.01 behind in third (21.19).

Women’s 50 Freestyle

LA Current’s Abbey Weitzeil barely had a moment to breathe after her impressive 400 free relay split, and she still managed to dominate the splash-and-dash. Weitzeil won by almost six tenths as she swam a 23.83, not too far off her American record of 23.45 from last year’s ISL season. Cali Condors’ Erika Brown placed second in 24.40, and Tokyo’s Chihiro Igarashi was third (24.55).

Men’s 200 IM

Tokyo’s Daiya Seto dominated his second event of the day, this time in one of his signature events. He is not known as a 200 breaststroker, but Seto is the reigning world champion in the 200 IM. He swam a 1:52.98, about two seconds off his best time (1:50.76) that ranks third all-time and three seconds off Ryan Lochte’s world record (1:49.63). Seto won the event by almost two seconds. New York’s Joe Litchfield placed second in 1:54.78, and Cali’s Angel Martinez placed third in 1:54.87.

Women’s 200 IM

Abbie Wood earned the first win of the meet for the New York Breakers with a dominant 200 IM. The Breakers have had a tough start to the meet with one swimmer recording a positive COVID-19 test days ago, but Wood looked phenomenal. The fourth-place finisher in the 200 IM at the Olympics, Wood swam a 2:05.63, winning by 1.63 seconds over LA’s Anastasia Gorbenko (2:07.26). Tokyo’s Yui Ohashi, the Olympic gold medalist in the long course version of this event just last month, placed third in 2:07.32.

Men’s 50 Breaststroke

For the second straight men’s breaststroke event, the Tokyo Frog Kings went 1-2. Following the 200 breast where Daiya Seto and Yasuhiro Koseki dominated, Koseki won the 50 breast in 26.27, and Alessandro Pinzutti placed second in 26.40. Cali’s Oleg Kostin was well back in third with his 26.73.

Women’s 50 Breaststroke

The Cali Condors went 1-2 in the women’s 50 breast as expected, but it was Molly Hannis getting the better of breaststroke superstar Lilly King, 29.41 to 29.53. King is the second-fastest swimmer all-time in the event at 28.77, and Hannis ranks sixth at 29.04. LA Current’s Imogen Clark placed third in 30.13.

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay

The Cali Condors cruised to a 400 free relay win with Jesse Puts (47.49), Kacper Majchrzak (47.06), Justin Ress (46.40) and Caeleb Dressel (46.03) finishing almost two seconds ahead. The Condors were in second place before Ress and Dressel were magnificent on the back half. Meanwhile, NY Breakers’ Matt Temple moved his team from fourth to second with a 46.57 anchor split, and the Breakers’ group swam a 3:08.94. LA Current, propelled by Brett Pinfold’s 46.10 split that was second-best in the field to Dressel, was third in 3:10.07.

Women’s 50 Backstroke

The Cali Condors continued their dominant day one with a third Dressel victory — this time with Sheridon Dressel, younger sister of Caeleb, claiming the top spot in the 50 back. Dressel swam a 26.67, touching out NY Breakers’ Alicja Tchorz (26.69) by two hundredths. Cali went 1-3 here as Maaike de Waard placed third in 26.81.

Men’s 50 Backstroke

Cali Condors’ Coleman Stewart dominated the men’s 50 back by almost eight tenths, and he jackpotted four of the seven other swimmers in the event to walk away with 19 points. Stewart swam a 22.61, moving him into a tie for fifth all-time with Peter Marshall. Only Florent Manaudou, Ryan MurphyGuilherme Guido and Evgeny Rylov have ever swum faster, and Stewart was just 0.07 off Murphy’s American record of 22.54. So that mark will be worth watching over the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, the only team to score two swimmers (after Stewart jackpotted most of the field) was the Tokyo Frog Kings, who went 2-3 with Takeshi Kawamoto (23.39) and Grigory Tarasevich (23.48).

Women’s 400 Freestyle

Two Tokyo Frog Kings swimmers claimed the checkpoint points at the 100-meter split of the 400 free as Paige Madden flipped first after four lengths in 58.41 and Chihiro Igarashi was second, but LA Current’s Valentine Dumont and Cali Condors’ Leonie Kullman each went ahead and ended up finishing 1-2. Dumont touched in 4:04.47, claiming 15 points with a two-swimmer jackpot, and Kullman was second in 4:05.76. Igarashi fell to third in 4:05.98 (but with 10 points, compared to Kullman’s seven), while Madden faded to fourth in 4:08.46 but still with the second-highest point total (12) because of the checkpoint.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

New York Breakers’ Brendon Smith could not get past LA Current’s Fernando Scheffer to reach the 100-meter checkpoint in first place, but Smith would open up a lead after that and then remain in front. Smith, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist in the 400 IM on the strength of a magnificent freestyle split, recorded a 3:42.50. Scheffer, the 200 free Olympic bronze medalist, was less than a second behind in 3:43.32 for second place, and third went to the LA Current’s Martin Malyutin in 3:45.22.

Women’s 400 Medley Relay

The Cali Condors were completely dominant in the 400 medley relay — both squads. The “A” team of Beata Nelson (56.64), Lilly King (1:04.59), Kelsi Dahlia (56.16) and Erika Brown (52.86) won in 3:50.25, and the “B” squad of Sherridon DresselMolly HannisKaterine Savard and Marie Pietruschka placed second in 3:52.18. Nelson and Dahlia each had the fastest split in their respective stroke, and so did Hannis at 1:04.01. LA Current took third in 3:53.90 with Abbey Weitzeil anchoring in a blistering 51.79, tops in the race.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay

The Cali Condors completed a huge first competition day for the 2021 season with a dominant 400 medley relay performance. Coleman Stewart led off in 48.91, clipping Matt Grevers’ American record of 48.92 and moving to fourth all-time in the event. Stewart put Cali in front by 1.8 seconds, and from there, Oleg Kostin (58.28), Caeleb Dressel (49.03) and Justin Ress (46.50) finished off the win, with Dressel and Ress each recording the top split in their respective strokes. Tokyo Frog Kings finished almost three seconds back in second place, with Yasuhiro Koseki recording a 57.09 breaststroke split to beat anyone else in the race. NY Breakers came in third at 3:27.25.

Broadcast Information

  • Africa (Sub Saharan): Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe — SuperSport
  • USA: CBS
  • Canada: CBC
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  • Brazil: TV Globo
  • Asia: Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, East Timor and Singapore: BeIn Sports
  • Japan: TV Asahi
  • Singapore: StarHub
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