ISL Match 7, Day 1: Toronto Titans Lead Short-Handed Cali Condors in Tight Battle

HANSSON Louise TOR Toronto Titans TOR ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 5 day 1 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Toronto Titans' Louise Hansson; Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala/ Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

ISL Match 7, Day 1: Toronto Titans Lead Short-Handed Cali Condors in Tight Battle

The third season of the International Swimming League is turning the corner for the stretch drive, with four of the 10 regular-season matches remaining. The race is on for playoff spots, and Thursday’s match offers an open path to points.

The Cali Condors lead the league standings entering their fourth and final regular-season match in Naples, Italy, a spot in the semifinals guaranteed. But without Caeleb Dressel due to illness, the Condors are coming their first loss since 2019 in ISL Match 6. The Toronto Titans, meanwhile, won Match 5 in chasing a spot in the upper echelon of clubs in ISL Season 3.

At the halfway point of ISL Match 7, two battles have materialized, as expected. At the top, the Titans have an 11-point edge over the Condors. Though Cali has the top four individual scorers of the match, the Titans have flexed their depth with seconds and thirds aplenty. The Titans won both freestyle relays, while the Condors claimed the medley relays and skins controls.

Further down, a mirror-image story is unfolding. The NY Breakers, in fourth place in both of their matches and needing a spark to survive to the semifinals, sit fourth, 13 points in arrears of Team Iron. But the Breakers were flying high, with their distance prowess and a couple of surprise wins, before Iron took back the advantage in the relays.

For the skins, Cali chose fly on the women’s side, after Iron and Toronto made their eliminations. It’s the fourth straight match to go to fly skins, and it’s the most attractive choice for the neutrals. Kelsi Dahlia has won twice, and Toronto’s Louise Hansson won fly in Match 5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo is also in the mix for Iron.

On the men’s side, Cali went with the backstroke, after Iron and Toronto eliminated free and breast. Coleman Stewart won backstroke skins in Match 2, but Toronto’s Shane Ryan and Team Iron’s Robert Glinta will add some spice.

Full event-by-event results of ISL Match 7 are below:

ISL Season 3 standings

  1. Cali Condors* 11
  2. LA Current 9
  3. Energy Standard 8
  4. London Roar 7
  5. Toronto Titans 7
  6. Aqua Centurions* 6
  7. DC Trident* 4
  8. Team Iron 3
  9. Tokyo Frog Kings 3
  10. NY Breakers 2

* Has swum three matches; all others have 2 matches

ISL Match 7 team scores, after Day 1:

  1. Toronto Titans 292
  2. Cali Condors 283
  3. Team Iron 171
  4. NY Breakers 158


Women’s 100 butterfly

The top two swimmers in the event delivered a stellar race. Louise Hansson of the Titans led all the way with a time of 55.42, just 0.2 seconds off Kelsi Dahlia’s season-best and ISL record. Dahlia was second in 55.54 with the Breakers’ Svetlana Chimrova third. Hansson denies Dahlia a four-for-four sweep for the season. The Titans, with Hansson grabbing 12 jackpot points, and the Condors, with Erika Brown in fourth, each take home 12 points.

Men’s 100 butterfly

The Titans go 2-for-2 to take the early initiative with Marius Kusch controlling the field to win in 49.49 over a group that, absent Caeleb Dressel, didn’t have a 100 fly title among them this season. The Breakers’ Matt Temple got into second in 50.16 ahead of Nicholas Santos in third at 50.34.

Women’s 200 backstroke

Beata Nelson has been one of the most valuable swimmers in ISL Season 3, and she keeps getting faster. Nelson went wire-to-wire for the Condors in 2:00.55. That improves what had been the season-best time in the event by more than half a second, and it gleans a 19-point jackpot for Cali. Second was Lisa Bratton of Toronto in 2:00.93, also under Nelson’s previous season-best time. Kylie Masse was third as the Titans limited the damage behind Nelson with 13 points.

Men’s 200 backstroke

Two fly wins for Toronto, two back wins for Cali. Coleman Stewart executed a strong race plan, the new world-record holder in the 100 holding back over the first half of the race and turning seventh at the midway point. He then surged to third and eventually first in 1:50.98, one of three swimmers under 1:52. Early leader Cole Pratt finished second for Toronto in 1:51.59, and Lorenzo Mora and Robert Glinta swept up third and fourth for Team Iron.

Women’s 200 breaststroke

It’s three in a row for the Condors, and four in a row for Lilly King. The ISL’s breaststroke queen separated herself from the field early and did what King does so often in breaststroke races, shutting the door on the field with a thud. The result is a 2:17.59, a full two seconds clear of the pack. She’s won this event all four times this season, the first swimmer in ISL Season 3 to sweep. King picked up 15 points on the jackpot. Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood got the Breakers some key points in the battle for third in second and third, respectively.

Men’s 200 breaststroke

Through 150 meters, it was anyone’s race. Ultimately, that anyone was Erik Persson. With a stellar final 50 of 31.59, the Team Iron breaststroker held off the field to win in 2:03.45. Nic Fink mounted a charge but settled for second for the Condors in 2:03.82. The Breakers’ Marco Koch landed third, while 150-meter leader Anton McKee of the Titans slipped to fifth.

Women’s 400 freestyle relay

Toronto Titans hit the jackpot in the first relay of the day, getting the win in 3:28.56. It’s their third win of the season in an event in which they hold the fastest time of ISL Season 3. Kayla Sanchez started it off with a season-best time of 51.91 that is within a half-second of her national record. She handed off to Kasia Wasick, Michelle Coleman and Louise Hansson for a wire-to-wire victory. The Titans grabbed 30 points via the jackpot, including the Titans B team.

Second was the Cali Condors in 3:29.74 with Olivia Smoliga, Erika Brown, Beata Nelson and Natalie Hinds. Nelson surged the Condors past Team Iron into second, and Hinds held off Costanza Cocconcelli on the end. The Condors took 22 points from the race in second and fifth.

ISL Match 7 Standings (after 7 events)

  1. Cali Condors 94
  2. Toronto Titans 91
  3. NY Breakers 58
  4. Team Iron 47

Men’s 50 freestyle

Even by splash-and-dash standards, there was nothing in this race to separate the swimmers at the front. When the wash settled, .03 seconds separated the top three swimmers and .49 the top seven. Atop the heap was Cali Condors’ Justin Ress in 21.16, just nudging ahead of Team Iron’s Tom de Boer for the bonus win point. Third was Cali teammate and de Boer’s fellow Dutchman Jesse Puts with Toronto’s Shane Ryan in fourth. De Boer, Puts and Ryan, the latter lowering his Irish record, all turned in their top times of the season.

Women’s 50 freestyle

Kasia Wasick continues to be one of the best offseason pickups of the year for the Titans. She supplied 19 more reasons why in this race, pulling away in 23.40 to get the victory. It’s the second fastest swim in the league this year. With it, she swept up 19 points; the 1-2 with Michelle Coleman (23.84) nets the Titans 26 points in the event, a 21-point edge on the Condors, who only got fourth-place points via Erika Brown. Ranomi Kromowidjojo was third for Team Iron.

Men’s 200 individual medley

Finlay Knox rode a stupendous final 50 to get the win in 1:52.32, lowering his Canadian record from ISL Match 5 by two tenths. He overtook Iron’s Leonardo Santos (1:52.50) on the final 50, and Knox got a boost from teammate Alberto Razzetti in third.

Women’s 200 individual medley

The Titans can send Abbie Wood a nice fruit basket as a thank you for her 200 IM performance. Wood continued her excellence by going 3-for-3 on the season, her time of 2:05.08 holding off Beata Nelson of the Condors by .74 seconds. That means the jackpot of 15 points goes to the Breakers instead of the Condors and that the Titans – with Kayla Sanchez fourth and Tessa Cieplucha fifth – win the event, 9-7. Maria Ugolkova was third for Iron.

Men’s 50 breaststroke

It’s jackpot time for the Condors, dipping into its well of breaststroke strength. Nic Fink started fast and held off a charge late, winning in 26.14 seconds. That’s good enough to pocket 15 points via the jackpot. Team Iron’s Kirill Strelnikov made it interesting to finish second in 26.31. Third was Fabian Schwingenschlogl of Toronto.

Women’s 50 breaststroke

Ida Hulkko might have spoiled the party a tad, but there’s no stopping Lilly King in the 50. King was first in 29.42, triggering the jackpot for 15 points. Team Iron’s Hulkko hopped into second in 30.01, nudging Cali’s Molly Hannis to second. It’s still 21 points to surge the Condors into the lead, but not as much as it could’ve been. Dominika Sztandera salvaged five points for Toronto.

Men’s 400 freestyle relay

Back and forth we go … it’s Toronto’s turn to leap into the lead, aided by 38 jackpot points. That’s the result of four swimmers all sub-47, led by the ageless Brent Hayden’s 46.38 on the second leg. Blake Pieroni led it off with the fastest flat-start time at 46.81, then Marius Kusch and Yuri Kisil delivered the Titans to the wall first and back into the lead. The Condors pushed, sitting fourth after 300 meters. But they could only climb as high as second behind Justin Ress’s 45.70 off the end. The NY Breakers, second all the way, landed third with Team Iron fourth, as only the A relays retained their points.

After 14 races in ISL Match 7, the team scores are tight in the battle for first and for third:

  1. Toronto Titans 195
  2. Cali Condors 178
  3. Team Iron 105
  4. NY Breakers 103

Women’s 50 backstroke

NY Breakers has the talent to finish Day 1 strong, and Alicja Tchorz showed why in the 50 back. Over a loaded field, Tchorz got her hand to the wall first in 26.38, her best time of the season. Kylie Masse couldn’t parlay a fast start and settled for second in 26.45, while Cali Condors snuck home some points via Maaike de Waard and Olivia Smoliga in third and fourth, respectively.

Men’s 50 backstroke

Coleman Stewart got the jump on a loaded field, picking up three extra jackpot points. Stewart was first to the wall in 23.12. He got the better of Shane Ryan, who fell to fourth. In between was a huge boost for Team Iron, via Robert Glinta and Guilherme Basseto.

Women’s 400 freestyle

No Summer McIntosh, no problem for the Toronto Titans. Julia Hassler, the swimmer with the second-fastest 400 free time this season, got the win in 4:01.30. With intermediate times, she tallied 16 points. Coupled with eight fourth-place points for Kaersten Meitz, the Titans picked up 24 points to just nine for Cali. Barbora Seemanova and Veronika Andrusenko went second and third, respectively, for Team Iron as its third-place hopes got a huge boost.

Men’s 400 freestyle

Brendon Smith turned around the advantage for the Breakers, getting 15 points for winning the 400 free in 3:40.09. Like Abbie Wood before him, Smith is 3-for-3 in this event. Toronto was the other big winner of the race, with 21 points via Luc Kroon in second and Max Litchfield in third.

Women’s 400 medley relay

It’s a season sweep for the Cali Condors in the women’s medley relay, leading start to finish in taking home maximum points. The team of Beata Nelson, Lilly King, Kelsi Dahlia and Natalie Hinds clocked in at 3:48.02 and added six extra jackpot points to close the margin to Toronto. The Titans (Kylie Masse, Dominika Sztandera, Louise Hansson, Michelle Coleman) were second all the way for 14 points. It’s plus-8 for the Condors in the race for first.

Team Iron finished third, a two-point edge over the Breakers.

Men’s 400 medley relay

Like the women, it’s 4-for-4 on the men’s side, with or without Caeleb Dressel. Coleman Stewart put the Condors into clean water, and Justin Ress brought it home for a win in 3:23.50. Nic Fink and Jose Angel Martinez manned the middle two legs. That’s a 30-point win for the Condors, going plus-16 on the Titans. Toronto was second via Shane Ryan, Fabian Schwingenschlogl, Marius Kusch and Blake Pieroni. Iron was the big winner in the race, splitting it up in third and fifth to net 20 points, a plus-10 margin on New York.