ISL Match 5, Day Two Notes: London Roar Excelling Despite Aussie Absences

London Roar ISL
Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu/ISL

ISL Match 5, Day Two Notes: London Roar Excelling Despite Aussie Absences

The London Roar stayed unbeaten through two meets this season, as the franchise out-dueled the L.A. Current and Tokyo Frog Kings in the fifth match of the International Swimming League season. Here are a few odds and ends from the latest meet to conclude in Season Two of the ISL.


Compensating Just Fine

Ahead of the start of the ISL’s second season, the London Roar was dealt a significant blow when the majority of the Australians involved in the league announced they would not be competing. The decision hinged on a heavy-handed recommendation by Swimming Australia that its athletes not travel out of the country due to COVID-19 concerns, and the withdrawal of numerous Aussies majorly affected the Roar roster.

Among the names missing from the Roar roster include Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon and Minna Atherton on the women’s side, and Kyle Chalmers, Alexander Graham, Matthew Wilson and Elijah Winnington on the men’s side. Obviously, that is some serious firepower to lose, and if they were present, London and General Manager Rob Woodhouse would feature a stacked roster. Still, the Roar has shown strength even in the face of their losses.

While the most difficult portion of its schedule remains, London has secured back-to-back triumphs to start the season and is well-positioned to advance to the semifinals later in the season. The backstroke events have been particularly impressive for London, with the likes of Kira Toussaint, Guillherme Guido and Christian Diener providing consistent scoring. Meanwhile, the franchise’s depth has been on display, which is a key component in the ISL setup.

Another plus for London is the fact that some of its bigger names have not yet shown top form, suggesting those days are to come and may arise later in the season, and at a more critical time. Count Adam Peaty and Duncan Scott in this category. While they have been solid, Peaty and Scott are both capable of performing at a higher level and, given their skill, it’s only a matter of time before they elevate their performances.

Absence of Andrew Seliskar

Andrew Seliskar

Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis/ISL

One of the big names missing for the L.A. Current during the two-day competition was Andrew Seliskar, whose versatility has given coach David Marsh a number of options with his lineup. According to three-time Olympic champion Rowdy Gaines, who was handling the analysis on the CBS broadcast, Seliskar was hit with a stomach bug, and that ailment kept him from competing.

Seliskar has been a force for the Current during the first two seasons of the ISL, providing a punch in freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and individual medley action. That type of versatility, which Seliskar displayed during his collegiate career at Cal, offers Marsh the chance to maneuver his lineup and keep as many weak points from showing up as possible. Seliskar’s next opportunity to race for Los Angeles will be Nov. 9-10.

Tokyo Two-Step

The Tokyo Frog Kings, not surprisingly, put together a strong performance in the individual medley events, especially the 400 I.M. The squad received wins from Kosuke Hagino and Yui Ohashi in the longer medley on Saturday, with both swimmers prevailing comfortably. While Hagino is the reigning Olympic champion in the event, Ohashi figures to be in the mix for a medal at next summer’s Games in Tokyo.

Skins Trend

Through five matches, which equates to 10 Skins competitions, the team that has chosen the stroke for the meet-ending events has prevailed. That trend emphasizes the importance of winning the medley relays on the opening day of action in these two-day meets, as it allows a team to go with its strengths and get strategic against the opposition.

In Match Five, the London Roar’s triumph in the women’s 400 medley relay allowed coach Mel Marshall to tap Alia Atkinson for the 50 breaststroke. Although Atkinson came through for the Roar, the decision nearly backfired as the Current’s Anastasia Gorbenko was closing hard at the finish on Atkinson. Gorbenko narrowly escaped the opening round of Skins, as she tied for fourth. However, she recovered well for the ensuing rounds in a gutsy performance for the Current.

Meanwhile, the Current’s victory in the men’s 400 medley relay led the franchise to go with Tom Shields as the headliner in the 50 butterfly. Previously, the Current opted for Ryan Murphy in the 50 backstroke, but with the Roar featuring Guillherme Guido in the 50 back, it was a wise decision to choose another event.

Next Up

Match Six of the ISL campaign will be held on Sunday and Monday, and the meet features the second appearance of the season for defending champion Energy Standard. James Gibson’s club will be heavily favored when it faces the Toronto Titans, New York Breakers and Aqua Centurions.

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