ISL Match 7: Skins Strength Sees Cali Condors Surge Past Toronto Titans

DAHLIA Kelsi CAC Cali Condors (CAC) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 7 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Cali Condors' Kelsi Dahlia; Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

ISL Match 7: Skins Strength Sees Cali Condors Surge Past Toronto Titans

With a nine-point lead after the first day of ISL Match 7, the question Friday was if the Toronto Titans could stay in front of the Cali Condors and nab a second straight match win.

The answer, delivered emphatically by Kelsi Dahlia and Beata Nelson, was no. Even without Caeleb Dressel, even with Toronto setting a slew of best times, even with Cali having fallen to second in their last match, the reigning International Swimming League champions aren’t letting go of the crown lightly.

The Toronto Titans gave them a scare in ISL Match 7, going blow for blow in a match that was tied after 35 of 39 races. The Titans surged ahead by 20 points entering skins, but the sprint depth of the Condors proved to be too much. On the women’s side, Dahlia and Nelson provided the capstone performance in butterfly skins, a 41.5-point reversal to put the ‘Dors ahead for good. Nelson also set an American record in the 100 IM on the day and was named the match MVP with 60 points. Coleman Stewart followed with a runner-up finish in the men’s backstroke skins, lending some cushion to the final margin.

At the other end of the standings, a battle between Team Iron and the NY Breakers never really materialized for third, Iron coasting to the points even before Robert Glinta won skins. The final ISL Match 7 standings:

  1. Cali Condors 581
  2. Toronto Titans 529.5
  3. Team Iron 362.5
  4. NY Breakers 293

ISL Season 3 standings

  1. Cali Condors 15
  2. Toronto Titans 10
  3. LA Current 9
  4. Energy Standard 8
  5. London Roar 7
  6. Aqua Centurions 6
  7. Team Iron 5
  8. DC Trident 4
  9. Tokyo Frog Kings 3
  10. NY Breakers 3

Event-by-event summary below:


Team scores after day 1 of ISL Match 7

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

Women’s 100 freestyle

Kasia Wasick signaled the early intent for the Titans, getting to the wall first in 51.44 seconds. It’s the Polish swimmer’s personal best, breaking her own national record from last year (51.81). It’s also the second-fastest time in ISL this season. The Titans pick up 12 points via the jackpot, plus Michelle Coleman’s fifth-place result. Erika Brown and Natalie Hinds were second and third, respectively, for the Cali Condors.

Men’s 100 freestyle

Jesse Puts set the pace early, and Justin Ress swooped in late for the Condors’ first win of the day. His time of 46.58 was .12 up on Toronto’s Blake Pieroni. Puts finished third for a 16-point haul for the Condors.

Women’s 200 butterfly

The Toronto lead survived all of two events on Friday, thanks in large part to Kelsi Dahlia. The Cali Condor picked up her third win of the season in the event, going 2:04.85 for the victory. She was first at every wall in holding off the New York Breakers’ Svetlana Chimrova by more than a second. Cali got a boost from Katerine Savard finishing third, gleaning 16 points from the event to six for the Titans. That puts the Condors up three points in the team standings.

Men’s 200 butterfly

Back and forth we go. Alberto Razzetti has been outstanding in the individual medleys this season, and in an event where no one in the field had previously finished higher than third this season, Toronto sensed opportunity. Razzetti cashed it in, going 1:51.20 for the victory. That sets an Italian record, his second of the season, downing the 1:51.98 set in March by Federico Burdisso. Razzetti picked up 12 points via jackpot, and he was followed by Jay Lelliott, who destroyed the Canadian record in 1:52.13. He takes down Stefan Hirniak’s record from 2000 (1:53.43).

Jose Angel Martinez limited the damage for Cali in third, .2 behind Llelliot. But the plus-13 margin shoves the Titans ahead by 10 points.

Women’s 100 backstroke

The beauty of the ISL jackpot is the way it heightens each team’s specialties: When you’ve got the advantage, you’ve got to press it, and you’ve got to collect as many points as possible.

Enter Kylie Masse, one of the world’s premier backstrokers in the world. The Canadian turned in a personal-best 55.83 for the Titans, grabbing first place and a 19-point jackpot. It’s the second-fastest time in ISL this season, behind the LA Current’s Ingrid Wilm (which is the Canadian record). Second was Lisa Bratton, who nearly even split it (28.0, 28.9) to go 57.05. She edged Cali Condors’ Olivia Smoliga by .01. The points swing puts the Titans up by 30 points at the top.

Men’s 100 backstroke

The race between Coleman Stewart and the field never materialized, Stewart made sure. He went out fast and came back fast with a time of 49.31 that was a full second clear of the field. He picked up 15 points via the jackpot. Second was Robert Glinta of Team Iron in 50.31. Shane Ryan of Toronto was third in 50.91; he and Cole Pratt in fifth both kept their points to limit the Stewart-led gain to just plus-5 for the Condors.

Women’s 100 individual medley

Beata Nelson grabbed a bit of history with an American record of 57.90 to get the win. It’s the top time in ISL this season. She grabbed 15 points via the jackpot, aided by a DQ to Alicja Tchorz of the NY Breakers that will hamper their chances of finishing third. Toronto limited the damage with Kayla Sanchez grabbing second place in 58.60 and Louise Hansson third in 58.72. That means that the Condors are only plus-2 on the event, 15-13.

Men’s 100 individual medley

Finlay Knox knocked .05 off his new Canadian record in the event to get to the wall first in 51.77 seconds for the Titans. He picked up 12 points, including those of teammate Cole Pratt, via jackpot. Marco Orsi nearly stole the win but settled for second in 51.90 for Iron. New York’s Joe Litchfield was third in 52.29.

Women’s 100 breaststroke

What Toronto Titans did in backstroke, the Cali Condors just reciprocated in breaststroke. Lilly King destroyed the field in 1:03.53, within a tenth of her season-best time in the league this season. She picked up 19 points in the jackpot, and she paced teammate Molly Hannis into second place. That’s 26 points the Condors, and the jackpot was funded by all of the Titans’ points, bringing the Condors within four points of Toronto’s lead.

Men’s 100 breaststroke

And that lead is gone, thanks to Nic Fink dropping a 56.74 in the 100 breast, his fastest of the season by more than a tenth. He needed it to get past Toronto’s Fabian Schwingenschlogl (57.25) for the victory and a jackpot point. Kevin Cordes pushed up from fourth at the halfway point to third in 57.74. the result nudges the Condors back into the lead by three points.

Women’s 50 butterfly

It’s go time for Team Iron, and with the New York Breakers not making a move, third place is theirs for the taking. Ranomi Kromowidjojo is the first to oblige, using the rest accrued from not being in the 100 free to start the day. She controlled the field in 24.90, within nine-hundredths of her league-best time this season. She added 12 points via the jackpot and offered a preview of the skins race.

The Breakers claimed second via Arina Surkova in 25.43 with the Condors following in third and fourth, Maaike de Waard topping Beata Nelson. Kelsi Dahlia, who has won the race once, was rested for skins. The result puts the Condors up 11 points at the summit and Iron up 38 for third.

Men’s 50 butterfly

Behold the ageless Nicholas Santos. The Brazilian went 22.09, a season-best time in the league to get 12 points for Iron. The Titans picked up a tidy haul with Marius Kusch second and Girgori Pekarski third. That leaves the Condors up two in the race for first and Iron up 42 in the race for third.

ISL Match 7 Team scores

  1. Cali Condors 431
  2. Toronto Titans 429
  3. Team Iron 263
  4. NY Breakers 221

Women’s 200 freestyle

It’s 3-for-3 for Iron in all but guaranteeing itself third-place points. Barbora Seemanova blitzed her final 50 to get the win in 1:54.09 to get to the wall first for 10 points for Iron. Second was Erika Brown in 1:54.49 with Katerine Savard grabbing her second third-place of the day in 1:55.53. That means 13 points for Cali to just two for the Titans to consolidate their lead at the top. In a perfect distillation of the Breakers’ day, Marrit Steenbergen went from first after 150 meters to seventh.

Men’s 200 freestyle

In scripting a potential win, the 200 free might not have been regarded as an area of particular strength for Toronto. But in an open race, the two Titans did the job. Luc Kroon picked a fine time for his first win of the season in 1:43.15. Blake Pieroni surged from fifth at 150 meters to second in 1:43.89 to make it a 16-point 1-2 for the Titans. Cali gleaned only seven points from the race, led by Townley Haas in fourth. Jakub Kraska was third for New York.

Mixed Medley Relay

We. Are. Tied.

After 35 of 39 races in ISL Match 7, there is not a single point to separate the Toronto Titans and Cali Condors. The most recent reason why is Kayla Sanchez. The Toronto Titans anchor jumped in with a .38 edge on Natalie Hinds and the Condors, saw that turned around by eight tenths in the first 50 and then clawed it back on the final 50 to have the Titans touch first. The squad of Kylie Masse, Fabian Schwingenschlogl, Marius Kusch and Sanchez set the fastest time in ISL this season at 3:35.51, .06 ahead of London Roar. Just .07 behind the Roar is the Condors’ foursome of Olivia Smoliga, Nic Fink, Jose Angel Martinez and Hinds.

Toronto went first and fifth, the Condors went second and fourth. That puts the Titans up four on the event, and it means both teams have 475 points as we enter the 400 IMs and skins.

Women’s 400 individual medley

We’re unlikely to see Abbie Wood and her NY Breakers swimming in the semifinals of ISL this season, with New York on pace for its third straight fourth-place finish. But the British Olympian has been absolutely outstanding this season. She’s now 3-for-3 in the 400 IM after going 4:27.79 to get the win in ISL Match 7. That’s an improvement more than two seconds on her previous best time this season and second-fastest in ISL this season, trailing only DC Trident’s Bailey Andison. It’s also a 21-point yield for the breakers, getting them within 47 points of Iron, likely too much to bridge.

Cali jumps into the lead by two points, with Kathrin Dimler in third and Anastasia Sorokina in fifth. That cancels out the 11 points that Tessa Cieplucha notched for Toronto in second.

Men’s 400 individual medley

So you’re wondering what value the intermediate points in the long events are? Ask the Toronto Titans. Not only did Alberto Razzetti get the win, but as a front-halfer, he also had ample points to chase early at the intermediate checkpoints. That meant 16 points for Razzetti in the win at 4:01.59, plus 11 for bin second. It’s Razzetti’s second win of the day and second IM win of the season. It also buzzes within .02 of his Italian record from the last match.

Litchfield was second in 4:05.33. The Condors salvaged fourth via Mark Szaranek. But with Brodie Williams jackpotted, the Condors were minus-22 in the event, which means they trail by 20 points headed into skins.

The scores as we head to skins

  1. Toronto Titans 513
  2. Cali Condors 493
  3. Team Iron 314
  4. NY Breakers 276

Women’s butterfly skins

Who wants a little extra drama? For a moment, it appeared that Toronto was shut out of the second round of skins, but via a tie between Melanie Henique and Louise Hansson, the Titans snuck one into the five-swimmer second round. That was only damage control behind the 1-2 of Beata Nelson and Kelsi Dahlia of the Condors, and it merely delayed the inevitable. Hansson was third in the second round, but it wasn’t enough to break the Cali Condor blockade.

Nelson and Dahlia finished 1-2 at every level. Nelson was fastest by .02 in Round at 25.25. Dahlia set the pace with a 25.48 in the semifinals, but Dahlia took home the win in 26.01, .07 seconds over her teammate.

Hansson and Michelle Coleman salvaged 11.5 points for the Titans, but the Condors picked up 53 big ones. That leaves the Condors 21.

That leaves the Condors 21.5 points to the good heading into the final race, 546-524.5.

Men’s backstroke skins

The Toronto Titans were locked out of the second round of skins, with Shane Ryan finishing fifth. That offered an anticlimax to an otherwise pulsating battle between the Titans and Cali Condors.

Coleman Stewart and Justin Ress got into Round 2, joined by Robert Glinta of Team Iron and Joe Litchfield of the New York Breakers in the spoiler role. Stewart and Glinta squared off in the final, but the Team Iron swimmer played spoiler in 24.02, by exactly .2 tenths.

Glinta had the fastest time of skins with 23.03 in Round 1, ahead of Ress (23.17) and Stewart (23.26). Ryan missed out by .08 seconds. Stewart was quickest in Round 2 at 23.80, but Glinta met Stewart’s surge off the wall to get the win in the final.

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Joel jeffries
Joel jeffries
2 years ago

Hrniak’s Canadian Butterfly record was in 2009 not 2000

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