ISL Match 4, Day 1: Cali Condors Re-Take Lead Over LA Current in Medley Relays; Kelsi Dahlia Lowers ISL Record

Kelsi Dahlia (photo: Mike Lewis)
Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis / ISL

ISL Match 4, Day 1: Cali Condors Re-Take Lead Over LA Current in Medley Relays; Kelsi Dahlia Lowers ISL Record

The fourth match of the International Swimming League (ISL) season began Saturday in Naples, Italy, with the Cali Condors, LA Current, DC Trident and Aqua Centurions all in action for their second appearance of the season. Several swimmers, including U.S. Olympians Nic Fink and Olivia Smoliga, were making their season debuts after just arriving in Italy, and in the team competition, the Cali Condors started with three individual victories, looking even better than they did in the season-opening win in Match #2, but the LA Current turned on the gas over the second half of the meet and briefly took the lead prior to the 400 medley relays, only for Cali to reassert themselves with a women’s 1-3 finish and a men’s jackpot win to build a 22-point lead heading into day two.

For the Current, Abbey Weitzeil and Anastasia Gorbenko each have individual victories on the women’s side, and Weitzeil anchored a 400 free relay victory. Among the men, Martin Malyutin and Fernando Scheffer went 1-2 in the 400 free. Meanwhile, the Condors saw Kelsi Dahlia break the ISL record in the 100 butterfly, the first event of the day, while Caeleb Dressel has claimed two individual victories and fueled two relay wins.

Team Scores

  • Cali Condors 266
  • LA Current 242
  • Aqua Centurions 210
  • DC Trident 191


Women’s 100 Butterfly

The Cali Condors’ Kelsi Dahlia got her team off to a blistering start as she won the 100 fly for the second straight Cali match. Dahlia fended off an early challenge from the LA Current’s Linnea Mack and then pulled away from the field to win more than a second. Dahlia put up a time of 55.22, knocking a tenth off the ISL record of 55.32 set by Beryl Gastadello last year. Dahlia crushed her time of 55.63 from Match #2 last Saturday, and she was not far off her American record of 54.84, which ranks her as the second-fastest performer in history. She jackpotted the last two swimmers in the field. Aqua Centurions’ Elena di Liddo placed second in 56.37, and Mack held on for third in 56.71.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

After Dahlia’s win, Cali Condors’ Caeleb Dressel also picked up a victory in the 100 fly, just as he did last week. And likle Dahlia, Dressel swam much quicker than in his first outing of the season. The five-time Olympic gold medalist from the Tokyo Olympics faced an early challenge from LA Current’s Tom Shields, and 100 back world-record breaker Coleman Stewart was also in the mix, but Dressel accelerated over the back half to win in 48.53, well ahead of 49.03 from last week and good enough to jackpot the final three finshers in the eight-man field. His world record stands at 47.78. Shields, who ranks third all-time at 48.47, placed second in 48.88, and Stewart was third for the Condors in 49.10.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

It was the same story in the women’s 200 back as a Cali Condor won in a much quicker time than in Match #2. Nelson already owned a four-tenth advantage after 50 meters, and she used her signature underwater dolphin kicks to pull away from the pack. She touched in 2:01.11, less than a second off her lifetime best of 2:00.27 and just over a second away from Missy Franklin’s American record of 2:00.03. She jackpotted half the field, with only three swimmers escaping the penalty here. We’ll see how Nelson fares when she faces off with swimmers from teams like Energy Standard and London Roar, but she has the top time in the league so far this season.

Meanwhile, Cali put Erika Brown, better known for her impressive sprint freestyle and butterfly skills, into a new event, and Brown was actually in second place for much of the race as her underwater skills also translated to long course. In the end, LA Current’s Ingrid Wilm closed hard to place second in 2:03.30, and Brown took third in 2:04.02.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

LA Current’s Maxime Rooney, another non-backstroker seeing his skills translate to another stroke in short course, took an early lead, but DC Trident’s Jacob Pebley built up his effort, going from tied for fifth after 50 meters to third after 100 to first at the 150-meter mark. Pebley then finished in 27.71 to pull away and win by over a second in 1:50.29. That jackpotted two swimmers at the back of the field. Aqua Centurions’ Leonardo de Deus closed well to finish second in 1:51.34, and Rooney placed third in 1:52.27.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

After no Cali Condors placed among the top three in the men’s 200 back, they were back on top in the women’s 200 breast as Lilly King and Emily Escobedo scored a 1-2 finish. As is her signature, King went out hard and gave no one a chance to catch her. Escobedo, meanwhile, pulled into second place on the second 50 and then held that position, even gaining some ground on King over the back half. King swam a 2:17.66, just edging out the 2:17.81 that Energy Standard’s Evgenia Chikunova swam in Match #1 as the top time so far this season. King jackpotted the seventh and eighth-place finishers. Escobedo placed second in 2:19.02, and LA Current’s Anastasia Gorbenko was third in 2:19.80.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

In this exciting affair, Aqua Centurions’ Nicolo Martinenghi took an early lead, and then Cali Condor’s Kevin Cordes had edged in front of DC Trident’s Tommy Cope at the halfway point. Aqua Centurions’ Arno Kamminga came up and challenged for the top spot on the third 50, and it looked like a battle between those two for the win. Then, from out of nowhere, Cali Condors’ Nic Fink pulled a 31.03 final 50 to sneak in ahead of Cope. Fink, who just arrived in Naples to begin his ISL season, was seventh at the halfway point and sixth at the 150-meter mark, but that didn’t matter as he touched out Cope for the win, 2:03.82 to 2:03.83. Just three tenths off the pace was Kamminga, who placed third in 2:04.14. Fink stole only one point from one swimmer on the jackpot.

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay

This relay saw lead changes at every exchange, but when the LA Current squad was close when Abbey Weitzeil went in the water, you know she would be dangerous. Indeed, Weitzeil split 51.34, the fastest in the entire field, to put the Current more than a second ahead of any of their competition. The team of Madison WilsonBeryl GastadelloValentine Dumont and Weitzeil finished in 3:29.44, while the Cali Condors took second in 3:30.79 with Sherridon DresselOlivia SmoligaBeata Nelson and Erika Brown, the last three of those women all splitting 52.2 or 52.3. DC Trident’s Anna HopkinAnnika BruhnIsabella Hindley and Leah Neale swam a 3:30.99 for third.

The second-best split in the race belonged to Kelsi Dahlia, who anchored for the Cali Condors’ B-squad in 52.07. The last two groups were jackpotted.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Caeleb Dressel of the Cali Condors did his thing again in the men’s 50 free, crushing the field by more than a half-second. Just like the earlier 100 fly, Dressel beat his Match #2 time (20.86) with a 20.67. He holds world record at 20.16. Meanwhile, Cali went 1-2 again as Justin Ress came in second at 21.24. Aqua Centurions Alessandro Miressi placed third in 21.39. Dressel jackpotted the last three swimmers in the field.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

Minutes after she anchored the LA Current to a relay win, Abbey Weitzeil crushed everyone in the women’s 50 free by a half-second, and she recorded a time of 23.63 that was less than two tenths off her American record (23.45). Weitzeil jackpotted the final three swimmers in the field to score 15 points. Just like Cali in the men’s 50 free, the Current went 1-2 here as Madison Wilson touched the wall next in 24.19, and Aqua Centurions’ Sylvia di Pietro grabbed third in 24.39.

Men’s 200 IM

After Weitzeil and Wilson swept the women’s 50 free, their LA Current teammates looked great in the men’s 200 IM as Tomoe Hvas was first after the butterfly and Abrahm DeVine held the lead after backstroke and breaststroke, but DC Trident’s Andreas Vazaios crushed the field on the freestyle leg with his 27.11 split, and he came in a half-second ahead of Hvas to take the win. Vazaios swam a 1:52.85, while Hvas was second in 1:53.36 and DC Trident’s Chase Kalisz split 1:53.69 to take third. DeVine ended up fourth in 1:54.09.

Women’s 200 IM

LA Current won the second straight women’s race as Anastasia Gorbenko dominated the 200 IM, capturing first place by more than two seconds and jackpotting three swimmers. Gorbenko led wire-to-wire and touched in 2:05.04, the fastest time this season in the ISL. DC Trident’s Bailey Andison finished second in 2:07.18, more than a second-and-a-half ahead of third place Sara Franceschi of the LA Current (2:08.82).

Men’s 50 Breaststroke

Aqua Centurions nabbed a huge 16 points in the men’s sprint breaststroke race as Nicolo Martinenghi held off Cali Condors’ Nic Fink by a tenth, 25.74 to 25.84, and another Centurion, Fabio Scozzoli, finished just two hundredths back of Fink to place third in 25.86. With the win, Martinenghi moved into the all-time top 10 in the event, knocking out Fink from the No. 10 spot.

Women’s 50 Breaststroke

A tough stretch of races for the Cali Condors had narrowed their lead to single digits over LA Current, but the women’s 50 breaststroke helped Cali open up that advantage again. As she often does, Lilly King finished first in 29.15, but the Condors barely missed a 1-2 finish as Aqua Centurions’ Arianna Castiglioni placed second in 29.31, 0.09 ahead of Cali’s Molly Hannis (29.40). The Centurions actually finished 2-4 as Martina Carraro swam a 29.86.

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay

In the most dramatic race of the day, the Aqua Centurions were battling with LA Current for the lead for the first 300 meters, but when Aqua anchor Marcelo Chierighini went into the pool with the lead and Current anchor Ryan Held right behind, the question was whether they could hold off the Cali Condors, who had Caeleb Dressel anchoring their team. The answer, for Chierighini, was yes — but barely barely. Dressel anchored in 45.01, compared to 46.49 for the Brazilian, but the Centurions still held on. The veteran group of Alessandro MiressiThomas CecconVladislav Grinev and Chierighini combined for a time of 3:06.08, barely ahead of the Condors’ 3:06.21. Jesse PutsKacper MajchrzakJustin Ress and Dressel swam for Cali, and the Current’s Maxime RooneyBrett PinfoldTom Shields and Held were third in 3:06.62.

Women’s 50 Backstroke

During an impressive session for the DC Trident, the team earned an impressive 1-2 finish in the women’s 50 back. Ali DeLoof, who was behind the field most of the way, got the touch with her 26.25, but that was only one hundredth ahead of teammate Linnea Mack (26.26). And then the top four swimmers were separated by a mere 0.08. LA Current’s Ingrid Wilm was third in 26.28, just 0.02 behind Mack, and Cali Condors’ Sherridon Dressel, the winner in Match #2, placed fourth in 26.33 — which was a third of a second quicker than she went in her earlier victory.

Men’s 50 Backstroke

Coleman Stewart was not threatening records this time out, but he still swam to a comfortable win in the men’s 50 back. He was with the field at the halfway point but exploded off the turn, using his underwater dolphin kicks the full maximum of 15 meters off the wall, and that helped him earn the win for the Cali Condors in 22.98. LA Current’s Apostolos Christou placed second in 23.34, barely ahead of DC Trident’s Mark Nikolaev (23.36).

Women’s 400 Freestyle

DC Current swimmers were looking for a second straight 1-2 finish in a women’s event as Leah Neale and Joanna Evans held a comfortable advantage over the field with 50 meters to go. With 50 meters remaining, Neale was a second-and-a-half ahead of third place Madison Wilson, but Wilson annihilated the last 50 with a 28.73 split, more than a second quicker than everyone else. Wilson snuck up on Neale, and the two ended up tying for the victory in 4:02.98. Evans then ended up third in 4:03.38.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

In the final individual swim of the day, the LA Current scored an amazing 26.5 points, while Cali actually lost one point, and that was enough to put LA into the lead after the Condors built a seemingly-insurmountable lead in the first half of the day. But in this 400 free, Fernando Scheffer owned the lead for most of the race, only for teammate Martin Malyutin to finish in 26.80 to claim victory in 3:40.89, with Scheffer’s 3:41.15 securing the Current sweep. Aqua Centurions’ Matteo Ciampi placed third in 3:42.96. Meanwhile, both Cali Condors swimmers, Khader Baqlah and Tomas Peribonio, were jackpotted. In fact, Peribonio lost one point because he missed the standard time, and Baqlah lost the points he captured for flipping first after 100 meters.

Women’s 400 Medley Relay

The LA Current lead would not last long as the Cali Condors were brilliant in the women’s medley relay. Olivia Smoliga, who just arrived in Naples this week, did not get off to a great start, but Lilly King moved Cali up with a 1:03.54 breaststroke split. From there, Kelsi Dahlia had the fastest butterfly split at 55.19, and Erika Brown anchored in 52.25 to give Cali the win in 3:48.68. The Aqua Centurions finished second in 3:49.24 with Mariia KamenevaArianna CastiglioniElena di Liddo and Federica Pellegrini. The Cali B-squad actually got third with Beata NelsonMolly HannisKaterine Savard and Sherridon Dressel recording a 3:50.17. The LA Current took fourth in 3:50.30 with Abbey Weitzeil anchoring in 51.31.

With the win, the Condors were able to make the final stroke choice for Sunday’s skins event. Third-place LA eliminated breaststroke as an option, and the Centurions eliminated backstroke, so Cali head coach Jeff Julian picked butterfly for the women’s 50 elimination race, where Dahlia will be expected to have a big performance.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay

The Cali Condors absolutely dominated the men’s 400 medley relay as the team of Coleman Stewart (49.82), Nic Fink (55.98), Caeleb Dressel (48.81) and Justin Ress (46.07) each had the fastest split in their respective stroke. Stewart was more than a second off his 100 back world record set last week, but that did not matter as Cali won by 3.84 seconds and jackpotted three teams. Even though Aqua Centurions finished second and third, the Current got 30 points with the jackpot, allowing them to pick the skins event for Sunday. Aqua’s A-team of Leonardo de DeusArno KammingaSzebasztian Szabo and Marcelo Chierighini swam a 3:24.52 for second, and the B-team (Thomas CecconNicolo MartinenghiMatteo Rivolta and Alessandro Miressi) was just 0.02 back in third.

In picking skins, the Current again eliminated breaststroke as an option, and the Centurions again took out backstroke, but this time, the Condors went with freestyle, where Dressel and Ress will be the headliners for their team.

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
  • Central/Latin America: México, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panamá, República Dominicana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay — Claro Sports
  • Brazil: TV Globo
  • Asia: Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, East Timor and Singapore: BeIn Sports
  • Japan: TV Asahi
  • Singapore: StarHub
  • Caribbean: Anguilla, Antarctica (available to US military base only), Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Falklands Islands, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent/Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos — ESPN
  • France, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden:  Eurosport
  • Italy: Sky
  • Russia: Match TV
  • Belarus: Belarus 5 TV, Sport 1/2
  • Ukraine, Lithuania, Moldova, Latvia, Estonia: Sports 1/2
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia: Sportklub
  • Middle East & North African Territory: including Palestine (Gaza Strip), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen, Iran, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Chad, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan — BeIn Sports
  • Australia: BeIn Sports
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