ISL Playoff Match 2, Day 1: London Dominates Relays; Ryan Murphy Stellar in Season Debut

CHALMERS Kyle LON London Roar (LON) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 9 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

ISL Playoff Match 2, Day 1: London Dominates Relays; Ryan Murphy Stellar in Season Debut

As the International Swimming League (ISL) playoffs opened its second match in Eindhoven on Saturday, double points were available in four relay events. The London Roar took advantage of those opportunities, as it won every relay event and surged to a 33.5-point lead over the L.A. Current in the team standings. The Roar claimed bonus jackpot points in every relay, a major reason why the squad will be favored to walk away with the team win when action resumes on Sunday.

Among the highlights for the Roar was Kyle Chalmers‘ anchor leg on the closing 400 medley relay, as the 2016 Olympic champion in the 100 freestyle rallied his team to first place with a superb split of 45.38. Emma McKeon contributed to a pair of winning relays for London, and also topped the field in the 100 butterfly.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles was fueled by the efforts of Ryan Murphy, who made his ISL debut for the season after sitting out the regular campaign. Murphy doubled in the 50 backstroke and 200 backstroke.

The ISL postseason officially started on Thursday and Friday, when the Cali Condors and Energy Standard engaged in a tight team battle. Even without Caeleb Dressel, who is expected to join the team later in the playoffs, Cali was able to edge Energy Standard. The difference for the Condors was their ability to heavily outscore Energy Standard in the Skins events.

Here is how the action unfolded:


Team Standings (Through Day One)

London Roar 280.5
L.A. Current 246
Toronto Titans 231.5
Aqua Centurions 138

Men’s 400 Medley Relay

On the strength of Kyle Chalmers’ anchor leg of 45.38, the London Roar ran down the L.A. Current in the final event of the day. The Roar went into the freestyle leg trailing, but Chalmers gradually cut into L.A.’s advantage and pulled out the decision at the wall. Chalmers was preceded by Guilherme Guido (49.62) on backstroke, Ross Murdoch (58.41) on breaststroke and Vini Lanza (50.17) on butterfly.

Women’s 400 Medley Relay

The London Roar continued to pile up the points in relay action, this time with the women’s medley relay totaling 38 points in a wire-to-wire triumph. After Kira Toussaint led off with a 55.81 split on the backstroke leg, Alia Atkinson came through with a 1:04.21 swim on the breaststroke leg. On butterfly, Marie Wattel went 56.13 and set the stage for Emma McKeon to close in 51.02. Second place went to Toronto.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

Toronto’s Luc Kroon led for only the final few meters of the race, but that is all that mattered as he won in 3:40.96. Kroon charged down the final laps, and overtook the Current’s Fernando Scheffer in the closing stroke, with Scheffer touching in 3:41.30. London’s Duncan Scott led through the first half of the race, but fatigue set in over the closing 200 meters and Scott finished fifth.

Women’s 400 Freestyle

Rising teenage star Summer McIntosh unleashed a dominant outing in the 400 freestyle, as she recorded a time of 3:59.30 and accumulated 16 points for the Toronto Titans. McIntosh led from the 150-meter mark and finished ahead of London’s Freya Anderson, who posted a swim of 4:01.67, with the Current’s Valentine DuMont placing third.

Men’s 50 Backstroke

How much did the L.A. Current miss Ryan Murphy during the regular season? The American star’s impact has certainly been felt during his first match of the season. After winning the 200 backstroke earlier in the session, Murphy emerged as the victor in the 50 backstroke behind a mark of 22.79, which comfortably topped the 23.03 of London’s Guilherme Guido (23.03). Murphy was supported by teammate Apostolos Christou, who was third.

Women’s 50 Backstroke

London’s Kira Toussaint was fueled by her pure speed and took first place in 25.91, but Toronto offset that winning effort by placing second and third. The Titans’ tandem of Louise Hansson (26.12) and Kylie Masse (26.21) were not far behind and kept their team in striking distance.

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay

As was the case in the women’s version of the event, London did damage in the 400 freestyle relay as the foursome of Kyle Chalmers, Katsumi Nakamura, Zac Inserti and Dylan Carter prevailed in a time of 3:05.43. Chalmers got the Roar going with a leadoff leg of 46.04 and the team never looked back while accumulating 36 points and moving into first place. The Current placed second in 3:08.03.

Women’s 50 Breaststroke

In a surprise, the Current’s Imogen Clark beat London’s Alia Atkinson, with Clark going 29.32, to the 29.54 of Atkinson. With that victory, Clark was able to pick up 19 points for L.A. (with the help of jackpots) and coach David Marsh.

Men’s 50 Breaststroke

The Aqua Centurions rode their breaststroke prowess to big points as Nicolo Martinenghi and Fabio Scozzoli went first and second for the Italian franchise, which garnered 26 points. Perhaps bigger was Toronto’s third and fourth-place finishes from Fabian Schwingenschlogl and Tobias Bjerg, as the Titans avoided losing their points and took over first in the team standings – at least temporarily.

Women’s 200 IM

Competing in her lone individual event of the opening session, London’s Sydney Pickrem made the most of her time in the water as she went 2:06.46 to grab 10 points, which included a jackpot point. Pickrem was followed by the Current’s Anastasia Gorbenko, who recently captured the European Short Course Champs gold medal in the event.

Men’s 200 IM

Toronto’s Alberto Razzetti delivered a significant win for the Titans when he stopped the clock n 1:52.86, a mark that was quicker than the 1:53.77 of London’s Duncan Scott. For Razzetti to finish ahead of the Olympic silver medalist was a boon for Toronto in what has been a superb three-way battle in the team standings. Max Litchfield backed up Razzetti for Toronto by placing third.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

Toronto has quietly put together a consistent session and watched Kasia Wasick speed to a triumph in the 50 free, on the strength of a time of 23.46. Wasick, who raced minutes earlier in the 400 freestyle relay, touched ahead of the Current’s Abbey Weitzeil, who went 23.67, while Emma McKeon was third in 23.72. Weitzeil and McKeon, too, were in the relay, and McKeon was coming off a 51-low leg to lead her team to the win..

Men’s 50 Freestyle

With the 100 freestyle to come on the second day of action, London’s Kyle Chalmers warmed up at half the distance and emerged on top of the field with a 21.10 marker, good for a win by the slimmest of margins. Chalmers was followed in second at 21.11 by teammate Dylan Carter and Toronto’s Lorenzo Zazzeri, who hit the wall in identical times.

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay

In the first relay of the session, the London Roar received a 38-point showing from its top squad, which produced a time of 3:28.04 and was jumpstarted by a 51.36 split from Emma McKeon. The seven-time medalist from the Olympic Games was followed by Marie Wattel (52.32), Kira Toussaint (52.34) and Freya Anderson (52.02). A 52.04 split from Michelle Coleman on the third leg helped Toronto to second place in 3:29.80.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

The Aqua Centurions got on the board behind the skill set of Arno Kamminga, the Dutchman who stands out regardless of long course or short course competition. Kamminga bettered the field in the 200 breast behind a performance of 2:02.52, while Toronto’s Anton McKee placed second for the Titans in 2:03.54. Toronto also claimed third-place points, courtesy of Fabian Schwingenschlogl.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

The bronze medalist in the 200 breaststroke at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Annie Lazor supplied London with a convincing win in the short-course version of the event. Lazor came through with an effort of 2:19.01, which was more than two seconds ahead of the 2:21.63 of Kotryna Teterevkova of L.A.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

In his season debut, Ryan Murphy was dominant. The American, who opted to bypass the regular season, went 1:48.43 to win the 200 backstroke by nearly two seconds. More important, he tallied 24 points with a massive jackpot showing. Murphy’s ability to flourish individually and, potentially, in Skins events, will play a factor in the Current’s pursuit of a spot in the final. London was the only team to avoid losing points to Murphy, as Christian Diener and Luke Greenbank were second and third.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

It was a big scoring event for the Toronto Titans, as Kylie Masse and Lisa Bratton secured first and third-place finishes to collect 21 points. Masse was the winner in a Canadian record of 2:01.45 and grabbed jackpot points to the tune of 15 points. Second place went to Kathleen Baker of the Current, as she clocked 2:02.11.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

Consistently reliable throughout the season, Tom Shields got the job done once again for the Current, as he covered the four laps in 49.47, with the Aqua Centurion’s Matteo Rivolta (49.66), the only other swimmer to get under the 50-second mark.

Women’s 100 Butterfly

Emma McKeon got the momentum rolling for the Roar, as she delivered a winning time of 55.57, which was more than a half-second clear of the 56.10 of Toronto’s Louise Hansson. The Current’s Anna Ntountounaki checked in with third-place points.