ISL Match Four Notes: King Is Queen As Condors Forge Big Lead; Sakci Sets European 50br Record

Lilly King
Lilly King: Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis/ISL

The first day of match four of the 2020 International Swimming League concluded with Cali Condors in a commanding position as Lilly King extended her unbeaten streak and Caeleb Dressel gave a sprinting masterclass.

However, it was by no means one-way for the Condors and whatever general manager Tina Andrew said to the New York Breakers, it certainly worked as they sit second ahead of Team Iron and DC Trident.

Emre Sakci set a new European record of 25.50 in the 50 breaststroke, rattling the world record in the process, before the Turkish swimmer split 56.1 as Team Iron won the men’s medley relay meaning they get to choose the stroke for Tuesday’s skins, knockout races where the remaining pair go head to head.

So too did Marco Koch issue a warning that the 200 breaststroke world record in his sights and he may well have propelled himself there on Monday had he not had groin struggles in recent days.

It all added up to a great mix of competition with surprises that raised the eyebrows, extraordinary performances and unpredictability.

Sakci Sets European Record; Rattles World Mark

Iron general manager Dorina Szekeres said ahead of the match the team would be employing tactics and switching personnel in the hope of springing a surprise.

Sakci certainly did the latter.

First up was the 50br where his time of 25.50 was within sight of the world record held by Cameron van der Burgh of 25.25 which has stood since 2009.

He became the third-fastest swimmer in history behind only Van der Burgh and his fellow South African Roland Schoeman whose best was 25.45.

It eclipsed the previous continental mark set by Russia’s Vlad Morozov – competing for Tokyo Frog Kings in Budapest – at last year’s European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow. So too did it lower his Turkish record of 25.74.

Sakci then anchored the men’s 4×100 free for Iron in 46.99 before his astonishing split of 56.15 in the medley relay.

Flight Of The Condors

Cali Condors won three of the first four races with victories for Caeleb Dressel (100 fly), Beata Nelson – with superb underwaters – and Radoslaw Kawecki  – both in the 200 back.

Kawecki broke the ISL record in 1:48.23 – the mark having been lowered three times during the current season.

Lilly King, Olivia Smoliga, Melanie Margalis, Hali Flickinger and Justin Ress all won individual races with the women taking a one-two in the medley relay to be in charge of the choice of skins stroke once more.

The sight of Dressel in full Condor flight is a fine one: power, explosiveness and grace combined, all fast-twitch fibres.

First up was the 100 fly in 49.35 with the bottom three forfeiting their points in the jackpot system; then 20.69 in the 50 free and third in the 50 breaststroke in 26.31.

The double Olympic relay champion then anchored Cali to the 4×100 free before splitting 58.11 on the breaststroke leg as the Condors came third in medley relay behind Iron and DC Trident.

It was all enough to propel Dressel to the top of the MVP standings with 36 points ahead of Koch (30) and Sakci (27.5).

King Continues To Reign

King came into the match unbeaten in the ISL since its inception and extended that streak to 20 for 20 in breaststroke events.

Such was her domination in Cali’s first match that she still lay third in the overall MVP standings with 87.5pts behind only Ryan Murphy (135) and Beryl Gastaldello (116.5) with the LA Current pair having competed in two matches.

The Olympic 100m breaststroke champion was all smiles arriving on poolside for her first race – the 200m – but she soon had her business face on.

A body length ahead after 50m and through the first 100 in 1:05.05, King came home in 2:16.04, a new personal best and ISL record, much to her own apparent surprise.

She became the sixth fastest performer in history and the second swiftest American behind only Rebecca Soni whose world record of 2:14.57 from December 2009 still stands today.

It was an American record though. USA Swimming decided that American records set in shiny suits after October 1, 2009 – when USA Swimming implemented the shiny suit ban domestically – would not be ratified. This is the case even for times swum legally in international events where ban was not yet in effect.

There was 29.16 to win the 50 and a 4x100m medley relay triumph.

New York Make A Brand New Start Of It

New York Breakers were fourth in opening match and had just one win thanks to Koch in the 200br.

But it was an entirely different story on Monday when there were victories for Arina Surkova, Kasia Wasick, Felix Aubock and Koch.

The German stopped the clock at 2:00.81, the seventh-fastest time in history and 0.65secs off the world record of 2:00.16 set by Kirill Prigoda at the World Short-Course Championships in 2018.

Koch became the third-fastest performer in history and told Eurosport that he had been struggling with his groin in recent days. He had in fact hoped to go “a little bit faster” but will hopefully do so in the coming weeks.

The extent of Koch’s domination of the race is evidenced by the fact he stole the points (21) of all but second-placed Tommy Cope of DC Trident in the jackpot as he earned 30 points.

They made the perfect start with Surkova winning the women’s 100 fly in 56.49 and team-mate Svetlana Chimrova in third.

Kasia Wasick won the women’s 50 free ahead of world-record holder Ranomi Kromowidjojo of Team Iron in 23.43.

Aubock swam a four-second PB in the 400 free in 3:37.48 to win ahead of Zane Grothe.

Abbie Wood went stroke for stroke with Melanie Margalis for the first 300m new PB of 2:05.36, homing in on Loughborough team-mate Siobhan O’Connor‘s British record of 2:05.13.

Emily Escobedo was second in the women’s 200 breaststroke, Melanie Henique and Caroline Pilhatsch were second and third in the 50 back and Boglarka Kapas took third over 400 free.

Michael Andrew was second in the 50 breaststroke while Joe Litchfield was second in the 100 fly and 50 back and third in the 200IM.

Phew. A fantastic response by the Breakers.


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1 comment

  1. avatar

    Sakci’s 25.50 is new European Record (previous Morozov, 25.51).

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