ISL Playoff Match 5: Shymanovich, Haughey, Sjostrom Lead Energy Standard Past London

ilya-shymanovich, ISL
Energy Standard's Ilya Shymanovich -- Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

ISL Match 5: Shymanovich, Haughey, Sjostrom Lead Energy Standard Past London

The fifth match of the ISL playoffs saw London Roar leading Energy Standard by 16 points after day one. Halfway through day two, the teams were still close together in the standings. But then, Energy Standard took off and never looked back.

The 100 IM was a big turning point, as Sarah Sjostrom and Kliment Kolesnikov each picked up victories for Energy, and Sjostrom ended up with a second win in the women’s 50 fly. But then, Ilya Shymanovich took down the world record in the men’s 100 breaststroke, and Energy’s 1-2 finish (with Felipe Lima) plus a jackpot gave the team all 37 points awarded in the event. Shymanovich ended up earning MVP honors in this match after sweeping the breaststroke event. Then, Energy’s Siobhan Haughey swam the second-fastest time ever in the women’s 200 freestyle after she won the 100 free earlier in the session.

London got a handful of early wins, including Kyle Chalmers and Dylan Carter finishing 1-2 in the men’s 100 free, and then Sydney Pickrem and Duncan Scott won the 400 IM late in the match, but London could not close the gap any further, and Energy won by 63 points, making Energy the only team to win two matches so far in the ISL playoffs. However, with its second-place finish, London clinched a spot in next week’s ISL final. Energy, London and Cali Condors are expected to be the three teams in the hunt for the championship.

LA Current finished third, and the Current, winners of the second playoff match, will could also advance to the final if Cali wins the sixth and final ISL playoff match over the weekend as expected. However, if the Toronto Titans can upset Cali, then Toronto will claim the fourth spot in the final, so LA will be rooting hard for Cali over the next two days.

Final Team Scores:

  1. Energy Standard 561.5
  2. London Roar 498.5
  3. LA Current 415.5
  4. DC Trident 289.5

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Women’s 100 Freestyle

With a 16-point deficit to make up heading into day two, Energy Standard got the day started with a huge win by Siobhan Haughey in the 100 free. Haughey set the ISL record in the event last year at 50.94, and here, she was only a couple tenths off that time with her winning time of 51.13. There are two swimmers at the match who have been quicker than Haughey, Energy Standard’s Sarah Sjostrom and London Roar’s Emma McKeon, but neither competed in this race. LA Current’s Abbey Weitzeil was also absent. In that weakened field, Haughey jackpotted the final two swimmers in the field, and she won by 1.33 seconds.

LA Current’s Madison Wilson finished second in 52.46, and third went the Energy’s Femke Heemskerk in 52.55. That 1-3 finish for Energy brought that squad to within two points of London’s lead.

Men’s 100 Freestyle

After Energy Standard’s 1-2 finish in the women’s 100 free, London Roar struck back with a 1-2 finish in the men’s version of the event. Kyle Chalmers, the world-record holder in the event and the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the event, won in 46.23, well off his record of 44.84. The 23-year-old Australian was out quick and then held off teammate Dylan Carter. Carter touched in 46.47 for second, followed by Energy Standard’s Adam Barrett (46.86) and DC Trident’s Aleksandr Shchegolev (46.93).

“It’s good to get one for the Roar early I’m really enjoying racing against Dylan since we’re in every race together at the moment,” Chalmers said in an on-deck interview after the race. “I think this is going to be a back-and-forth battle tonight, but I really hope we can beat Energy Standard. We’ve never done it, and I hope tonight’s the night.”

Women’s 200 Butterfly

In a wide-open field London Roar’s Ilaria Bianchi went out fast and opened up a lead that she held as Energy Standard’s Helena Rosendahl and DC Trident’s Zsuzsanna Jakobos closed the gab on the final length. Bianchi touched in 2:06.33 to give London its second consecutive win, and she was followed by Rosendahl (2:06.88) and Jakobos (2:07.18). The winning time was actually the second-slowest of any ISL match this season, with the only slower winning time coming in the very first match in late August.

Men’s 200 Butterfly

The fastest 200 fly season-best time of any swimmer in the ISL playoffs belongs to Tom Shields, but he did not compete in the event this time. In his absence, Shields’ LA Current teammate Tomoe Hvas held the lead by more than a half-second at the 150-meter mark, but Hvas then faded badly on the last 50. At the same time, London Roar’s Teppei Morimoto closed in an amazing 28.15, more than a half-second faster than anyone else in the field and more than two seconds faster than Hvas, to steal the win. This was the third win in a row for the Roar.

Morimoto won in 1:51.27, while Energy Standard’s Chad le Clos also finished hard to take second in 1:51.74. This was le Clos’ first appearance in the 200 fly of the playoffs after he missed about a month of racing while dealing with a knee injury. DC Trident’s Zach Harting finished third in 1:51.90, just behind le Clos, while Hvas faded to fourth (1:52.45).

Women’s 100 Backstroke

LA Current has fallen a bit off the pace of the top two teams in this match, but here, Ingrid Wilm picked up a huge win in the women’s 100 back. Wilm was first by three tenths at the halfway point, and then she fought hard to the end to hold off London’s Kira Toussaint by eight hundredths, 55.91 to 55.99. Toussaint swam the season’s fastest time (55.45) last weekend, but Wilm was just a little bit better this time.

“That’s very exciting. Day two, we always try to come in fighting, so I’m very, very happy with that,” Wilm said after the race. On racing Toussaint, she said, “She is an amazing competitor, and I always try to always see her on the last underwater. I know going into the last five meters, I’m doing my (best) to get my hand on the wall for my team.”

Energy Standard’s Anastasiya Shkurdai took third in 56.96, while world-record holder Minna Atherton took fourth in 57.35.

Men’s 100 Backstroke

It was expected to be a matchup between the last two Olympic gold medalists, LA Current’s Ryan Murphy and Energy Standard’s Evgeny Rylov, with London Roar’s Guilherme Guido as the potential spoiler. But the winner here was actually DC Trident’s Mark Nikolaev, who out-split the field by four tenths on the final 50 to pull ahead of Murphy. Nikolaev won in 49.43, just 0.18 ahead of Murphy in 49.61.

Rylov settled for third in 50.11, followed by LA Current’s Apostolos Christou (50.20) and Guido (50.26).

Women’s 100 IM

Sarah Sjostrom skipped the 100 free in this session and instead dove in to race the 100 IM, taking advantage of her sprint skills across multiple strokes to race an event in which she rarely appears. And Sjostrom actually took the win here, pulling away on the freestyle and touching in 57.94. That ties Sjostrom for No. 3 in the ISL this season (behind Beryl Gastadello and Beata Nelson and tying her with Maria Kameneva), but she is less than a tenth off the league lead. We’ll see if Sjostrom decides to pursue this event in the ISL final next week an go head-to-head with Gastadello and Nelson.

Abbey Weitzeil was another 100 freestyler who skipped that event to swim the 100 IM instead, and she took second for LA Current in 58.46, just six hundredths ahead of Energy Standard’s Mary-Sophie Harvey (58.52). That 1-3 finish moved Energy Standard closer to erasing London’s early lead.

Men’s 100 IM

The London Roar lead is gone. In the men’s 100 IM, Energy Standard’s Kliment Kolesnikov chose to swim this event after skipping two races in which he won Olympic medals (100 free and 100 back), and he went out hard and held on to claim the win. Kolesnikov swam a time of 51.51, just off the 51.15 he swam last week, and he will definitely be in contention to win this event should he race it in next week’s ISL final.

Kolesnikov barely held off London’s Duncan Scott, who claimed second in 51.78, while LA Current’s Brett Pinfold took third in 52.31. But Energy’s 1-4 finish (with Kolesnikov and Andrey Zhilkin) were enough for Energy to tie London at 358 points.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke

London jumped back into the lead with a big win from Alia Atkinson in the women’s 100 breast. The co-world-record holder in the event led wire-to-wire and swam a 1:04.38, winning by three-quarters of a second over versatile Anastasia Gorbenko of LA Current. Gorbenko took second in 1:05.13, and third went to Energy’s Evgeniia Chikunova in 1:05.79.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

One week after Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus and Energy Standard swam a 55.32 to break his own world record in the men’s 100 breast by two hundredths, he did it again during the fifth playoff match. Here, Shymanovich went out in 25.85, just off his opening-half pace of 25.77 from last week, but then he closed in 29.43 to touch in 55.28 for the new record. Shymanovich out-split the entire heat by more than a second on the second 50.

Shymanovich won by more than two seconds as Energy teammate Felipe Lima touched in 57.34. That barely got Lima inside the 2.1-second jackpot margin, but Shymanovich jackpotted the other six swimmers in the field, including third-place finisher Tommy Cope of DC Trident (57.57). Shymanovich scored 30 points on his own, and Lima scored seven — so Energy Standard scored 37 points here while no other team scored a single point. That is the exact same outcome as what transpired in Thursday’s 50 breast.

Energy trailed London by five going into this race, but afterward, Energy ended up with a huge 32-point advantage, 401 to 369, thanks to this 37-point sweep.

Women’s 50 Butterfly

Energy Standard kept on rolling here as Sarah Sjostrom picked up her second victory of the day, and the team scored a 1-2 finish. Sjostrom holds the league’s top time in the 50 fly at 24.64, and she was just a tenth off that here as she touched in 24.74. Meanwhile, teammate Maddy Banic placed second in 25.14, and DC Trident’s Linnea Mack came in third in 25.39.

Men’s 50 Butterfly

LA Current’s Tom Shields made his first appearance of the day after skipping the 200 fly, and he rolled to a win in this much shorter event. Shields swam a time of 22.15 to beat Energy Standard’s Ben Proud (22.25) by a tenth. London Roar’s Dylan Carter finished just off the pace with his time of 22.27 being good enough for third — and more than a half-second ahead of the other four swimmers in the field.

The only swimmer to beat that time by Shields during this ISL season is world-record holder Nicholas Santos. Given that Santos’ Team Iron will not advance to the ISL final, Shields and fellow American Caeleb Dressel should be the class of the field in the event next week.

Women’s 200 Freestyle

Through her first six appearances in the 200 freestyle this ISL season, Siobhan Haughey was undefeated, and the fifth playoff match was no different as she dominated the field and won by 3.71 seconds. This time, Haughey was under world-record pace at the 100 and 150-meter splits, and she ended up recording the second-fastest time in history in the event.

Haughey finished in 1:50.65, clipping her ISL record of 1:50.66 set at her previous match by one hundredth, and that was the second-fastest time in history. Only Sarah Sjostrom, her Energy Standard teammate, has ever been faster. Sjostrom’s world record stands at 1:50.43, set more than four years ago in the same pool in Eindhoven. Haughey, who won the 100 free earlier in the day, has an excellent chance to top that world record in next week’s ISL final as Energy Standard looks to reclaim its league title first won in 2019.

“Coming into this race, I wasn’t really expecting much. I’m a little sick right now, but I guess it doesn’t really matter,” Haughey said on deck after the race. “I know I can definitely go faster. I stil have another week to recover and train a little bit and work on the details, so I’m excited for the final.”

DC Trident’s Joanna Evans finished second to Haughey in 1:54.36, and she was the only other swimmer to keep points as Haughey jackpotted six swimmers for a 30-point jackpot. Those jackpotted included LA Current’s Madison Wilson, who was third in 1:55.22.

The race extended Energy Standard’s lead to an amazing 78 points (460-382), just a handful of events after London held the lead.

Men’s 200 Freestyle

DC Trident picked up its second win of the day as Aleksandr Shchegolev opened up an early lead in the men’s 200 free from lane eight and then held on as Kyle Chalmers surged down the stretch. Shchegolev finished in 1:41.72, almost a half-second ahead of London’s Chalmers (1:42.17), while LA Current’s Fernando Scheffer finished third (1:41.99).

Following a huge stretch for Energy Standard, James Guy and Kregor Zirk ended up fifth and sixth, respectively, but Energy has built such a huge lead over London that one event will not devastate that team.

Mixed 400 Medley Relay

Many of the teams’ top backstrokers (including Kira ToussaintIngrid WilmRyan MurphyKliment Kolesnikov and Guilherme Guido) were absent here as they prepare for backstroke skins coming up, but Energy Standard still managed to put together a really strong team here and pull off a big win. Energy’s team of Simona Kubova (56.88), Ilya Shymanovich (55.15), Chad le Clos (49.89) and Sarah Sjostrom (51.40) won the race in 3:33.32, more than 2.5 seconds ahead of the field. Shymanovich, fresh off his world record in the men’s 100 breast, was the critical leg here, while Sjostrom allowed Energy to rest Siobhan Haughey after Haughey’s impressive 100 free-200 free double.

LA Current’s Apostolos ChristouAnastasia GorbenkoTom Shields and Abbey Weitzeil placed second in 3:35.87, with Shields splitting a swift 49.06 on fly. London’s teams finished third (3:37.17) and fourth (3:37.64) to claim 22 points, but Energy jackpotted three teams to score 30 with just its first team.

Women’s 400 IM

London Roar’s Sydney Pickrem is best known for the second half of her 400 IM and her ability to come back on her competitors in breaststroke and freestyle, but here, Pickrem was already out in front by more than a second at the halfway point. From there, it was all over for her competition. Pickrem extended the lead on breaststroke, and even though DC Trident’s Bailey Andison managed to close slightly on freestyle, there was no way Andison was going to catch Pickrem.

Pickrem won for the second straight match in 4:29.21, and she jackpotted three swimmers for a 21-point total (including her checkpoint points). Andison, in her final match of the season with DC Trident about to be eliminated, placed second in 4:31.21. That was a disappointing swim for Andison as she owns the season’s top time at 4:26.31. Energy Standard’s Viktoriya Gunes placed third in 4:34.65.

Men’s 400 IM

After Pickrem’s win in the women’s 400 IM, London Roar picked up another win in the men’s race as Duncan Scott dominate the event for a second straight match. Scott led wire-to-wire, and although the field closed the gap on the breaststroke leg, he extended a 1.35-second lead after 300 meters to 4.59 seconds at the finish. Scott won in 4:01.80, about a second and a half off the 4:00.37 he swam in last week’s match. Scott, never known for his 400 IM skills prior to this ISL season, will be favored to win the event in next week’s ISL final.

Energy Standard’s Charlie Swanson placed second in 4:06.39, narrowly holding off the typically-strong finish from DC Trident’s Jay Litherland (4:06.51).

Women’s 50 Backstroke Skins

In the first round, LA Current’s Ingrid Wilm touched out London Roar’s Kira Toussaint for the top spot, 26.03 to 26.05, while DC Trident teammates Ali DeLoof and Linnea Mack tied for third in 26.35. That locked out London’s Minna Atherton, the winner of the 50 back skins in the previous match, as Atherton finished three hundredths behind the two swimmers from DC. Also not advancing were Energy Standard swimmers Mary-Sophie Harvey and Anastasiya Skurdai, leaving the door open for London’s longspot comeback chances.

The second round saw Wilm and Toussaint advance and set up a final round showdown between the swimmers who have been the clear-cut top two female backstrokers in this match. Wilm then dominated the final round over Toussaint, 27.67 to 28.55.

Despite London closing the gap, Energy still leads 527.5 to 492.5 heading into the men’s skins.

Men’s 50 Backstroke Skins

LA Current’s Ryan Murphy easily won the first round of 50 back skins in 22.71, not far off his ISL record of 22.53 in the 50 back set Saturday, but more significantly, the first round officially clinched the match for Energy Standard as London’s Christian Diener and Guilherme Guido both failed to advance. However, two Energy Standard swimmers did advance, Evgeny Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov, while 100 back winner Mark Nikolaev of DC Trident also made the second round.

Round two saw Rylov get the win in 23.48, barely beating Murphy (23.49) and Kolesnikov (23.52). But only Rylov and Murphy, both of whom made the Olympic podium in both backstroke events, advanced to the final round. Finally, Murphy took first in the final round in 24.22, while Rylov finished in 24.38.

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