ISL Playoff Match 6, Day 2: Cali Condors Surge to Another Victory; Set to Defend Title

Hali Flickinger; Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

ISL Playoff Match 6, Day 2: Cali Condors Surge to Another Victory

Entering the final day of the final semifinal match Sunday, there’s not much left to settle ahead of the ISL Grand Final. With Energy Standard (on 11 points) and London Roar (10), two of the spots in the final are spoken for. Anything above last place guarantees the Cali Condors will improve on their seven points to grab a third spot.

That just leaves Toronto Titans (5 team points) needing a win to jump past LA Current (8 points) and into the final. But the Titans were in last place after the first day of competition and drastically shorthanded on the men’s side, robbing oxygen from that storyline and depriving a chance for a different foursome in the Grand Final for the first time in the league’s three seasons. Though the Aqua Centurions had a shock lead after Day 1, the four team points they could stand to take would matter little for their hopes of advancing, with just three points after their last two matches.

It didn’t take long for the Cali Condors, without Caeleb Dressel but packing plenty of punch on the women’s side, to overhaul Aqua’s lead. That sent the ‘Dors on their way to their second playoff win in three matches, in good form as they chase a second consecutive ISL title. The only surprise of the day came via skins, when Team Iron outscored Aqua by 55.5 points to climb into second place.

ISL Playoff Match 6 Final Standings

  1. Cali Condors 532.5
  2. Team Iron 446
  3. Aqua Centurions 444.5
  4. Toronto Titans 331

ISL Semifinal Club Points

(top four advance to Grand Final)

  1. Energy Standard 11
  2. Cali Condors 11
  3. London Roar 10
  4. LA Current 8
  5. Toronto Titans 6
  6. Team Iron 5
  7. Aqua Centurions 5
  8. DC Trident 4

ISL Playoff Match 6, MVP Standings

  1. Matteo Rivolta, Aqua Centurions 55
  2. Hali Flickinger, Cali Condors 51
  3. Beata Nelson, Cali Condors 47.5
  4. Robert Glinta, Team Iron 46
  5. Lilly King, Cali Condors 44
  6. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Team Iron 39.5
  7. Justin Ress, Cali Condors 38.5
  8. Kylie Masse, Toronto Titans 37.5
  9. Kelsi Dahlia, Cali Condors 37
  10. Erika Brown, Cali Condors 36.5


ISL Playoff Match 6 Scores, after Day 1

  1. Aqua Centurions 264
  2. Cali Condors 250
  3. Team Iron 205
  4. Toronto Titans 180

Women’s 100 free

Aqua Centurions’ Day 1 lead is … well, it’s gone. Erika Brown won the 100 free in 51.70 seconds, a fine time for her first win of the season in the event. She picked up 12 points via the jackpot, and with Natalie Hinds fourth, that’s 17 points for the Condors. Aqua Centurions picked up three with Silvia di Pietro in sixth. That brings the teams even at 267 points each. Team Iron’s Barbora Seemanova was second.

Men’s 100 free

It’s a Cali-Aqua battle for the men. Justin Ress separated himself from the field with a time of 45.70, getting 12 points in the jackpot. Teammate Kacper Majchrzak was fourth. That Cali sandwich bottled up the strength of Aqua – Alessandro Miressi second, Vladislav Grinev third – to neutralize their strength.

Women’s 200 fly

Hali Flickinger continues to provide a postseason boost to the condors, winning the event in 2:04.28. She surged on the final 50 to interrupt the two-match winning streak of Toronto’s Laura Stephens by .58 seconds. Katerine Savard added third-place points in 2:05.64 for the Condors.

Men’s 200 fly

Four events, four wins for Cali. Eddie Wang did the honors in his signature event with a time of 1:50.99, taking control over the final 100. Alberto Razzetti of Toronto was second, .83 seconds back. Chase Kalisz turned in a very solid swim for Aqua Centurions in third.

Women’s 100 back

Kylie Masse finally got Toronto on the board, though it might be too little, too late. Even with 15 points from the Canadian’s time of 56.24 seconds, and five points from Lisa Bratton in fourth, the Titans remain in last. Cali again picked up points near the top with Olivia Smoliga second and Sherridon Dressel third.

Men’s 100 back

Team Iron picked up a marker, even if it’s mostly for pride. Robert Glinta got the win in 49.84, a 1-2 with teammate Lorenzo Mora. Toronto had crept within six points of escaping the basement, but those 22 points from Iron (15 on the jackpot) have opened it back up to 20 points. Only Shane Ryan (in fifth) scored for Toronto).

Women’s 100 IM

That’s six wins this season for Beata Nelson in the 100 IM, the Cali Condors swimmer rallying in the final meters to get ahead of Aqua Centurions Mariia Kameneva by .03 seconds. He time of 57.94 was within six tenths of Beryl Gastaldello’s league record. Kayla Sanchez of Toronto was third, with mate Louise Hansson fourth.

Men’s 100 IM

Marco Orsi keeps Iron in third with a win in 51.98, just .06 ahead of Thomas Ceccon of Aqua. Alberto Razzetti ended up third. Just .9 seconds separated the top six finishers.

Women’s 100 breast

Lilly King entered 7-for-7 territory by winning the 100 breast yet again. Her time of 1:03.48 put away the field early, out under world record pace at the 50. She claimed 19 points in the jackpot, and she was able to neutralize the Italian Aqua Centurions duo of Martina Carraro and Arianna Castiglioini, in second and third.

Men’s 100 breast

Arno Kamminga took the breaststroke grudge match for Aqua Centurions, surging over the last 50 again to go 55.85 to augment his win in the 200. Second was Nic Fink, in a really positive sign for Cali, in 56.58. Nicolo Martinenghi, the co-champ of the 50, was third in 56.89.

Women’s 50 fly

Ranomi Kromowidjojo’s penultimate swim in home waters is a memorable one. She won the 50 fly in 24.62 seconds, her fifth win of the event this season. She was within .03 of her ISL record and not far off the world record of 24.38. She also grabbed 12 points for Team Iron in its battle for third in ISL Playoff Match 6.

Second was Kelsi Dahlia, whose 24.88 was within a tenth of Maddy Banic’s American record (24.80). Melanie Henique solidified Iron’s grasp on third with six points, the Titans getting shutout in the event.

ISL Playoff Match 6 Standings

  1. Cali Condors 388
  2. Aqua Centurions 355
  3. Team Iron 296
  4. Toronto Titans 255

Men’s 50 fly

It’s time for the farewells, or near farewells. At age 41, no swim from Nicholas Santos is to be taken for granted. And for the final time in the 2021 ISL season, the co-world record holders, Santos and Szebasztian Szabo, tangled after Szabo swiped a share of that record earlier this fall.

There was no change in history, though Santos pushed, out front all the way before touching in 22.09, well shy of the 21.75 he and Szabo have set. Santos is, because of Team Iron’s participation in the play-in Match 10, a rare 8-for-8 in this event in 2021. Szabo settled for a relatively distant third, with his Aqua Centurions teammate Matteo Rivolta continuing to swim well to take second in 22.39.

Women’s 200 free

This is, almost certainly, the final time that Federica Pellegrini will swim in ISL. And she came within .36 seconds of a special ending.

The Olympic gold medalist ended up third for Aqua Centurions, a program she was the figurehead of from the start of the ISL in 2019. Her bid to win in 1:54.53 was spoiled by Team Iron favorite Barbora Seemanova, who won in 1:54.17. Hali Flickinger also snuck in to get second for Cali in 1:54.36. Katerine Savard of Cali was third in 1:54.60. Pellegrini had led at the 150-meter wall.

Men’s 200 free

The Titans have proven too shorthanded on the men’s side to compete for a finals spot, but Luc Kroon has continued his brilliant playoffs. He picked up his third win of the season in the event with a time of 1:42.72. He worked the third 50 to jump from sixth to first and pulled away from Luiz Altimir Melo in the final 50. Townley Hass was third in 1:44.00 in a swim that could have Grand Final implications.

Mixed medley relay

The Condors have no shortage of stars on the women’s side, and you can maybe add Erika Brown to that pile. Brown’s anchor leg of 51.52 surged the Condors from second to first in 3:34.92, edging out Aqua Centurions by .02. The Condors were fifth after Beata Nelson and Nic Fink started, with Jose Angel Martinez clawing them to second. Aqua ran out front thanks to Thomas Ceccon and Arno Kamminga out front. Elena di Liddo handed off in first to Mariia Kameneva, who split 51.68, but she had only .14 seconds to play with, and Brown took it away from her.

Cali consolidates its leading position with 26 points (via jackpot and sixth place for the B team).

Women’s 400 IM

If this is a dry run for the Grand Final for Hali Flickinger, it’s been an unqualified success. The American won the 200 fly, then finished second in the 200 free and capped it by finishing as the second-highest scorer in the 400 IM. Flickinger didn’t get the win – that went to Tessa Cieplucha of Toronto in 4:28.97 on the way to 16 points via jackpot. But Flickinger was second in 4:29.82, a season-best. She scored 13 points, including six for the 200-meter checkpoint. Second was teammate Kathrin Demler in 4:34.84.

Men’s 400 IM

Ilia Borodin heads out with a fifth 400 IM title of the season. His time of 4:03.20 held off a charge by Toronto’s Max Litchfield by .47 seconds. Borodin picked up 12 points with intermediate time splits. Toronto got 15 points via Litchfield and third-place Alberto Razzetti. Leonardo Santos’ early speed gave Team Iron 14 points, despite Santos falling to sixth.

As we head to the skins, the ISL Playoff Match 6 team standings are

  1. Cali Condors 464
  2. Aqua Centurions 425
  3. Team Iron 371
  4. Toronto Titans 324

Women’s skins (fly)

For the fourth time this season, Kelsi Dahlia claimed a skins win in butterfly. She was second to Ranomi Kromowidjojo for the first two rounds – by .01 and .03 – but she rocketed off the final wall in the third round to blow past Kromowidjojo and finish in a time of 26.13 seconds, 0.53 seconds up on the Dutchwoman.

Most of the drama in the team standings just about ended in the first round. Two from Team Iron advanced, led by Kromowidjojo, and two Cali Condors advanced. That left Toronto unable to budge from fourth place and Aqua Centurions unable to mount a charge past Cali. Maaike de Waard and Melanie Henique joined them in advancing out of the first round. That only left Team Iron with a chance to leap up to second.

Kromowidjojo jackpotted Henique in the second round. That allowed Team Iron to earn a 30-point edge on Aqua, pulling them within 24 points ss they head to men’s skins.

Men’s skins (back)

With a shot at second place, Robert Glinta delivered his second skins win of the season. He was second to Justin Ress in the first two rounds, but he routed the Cali Condors swimmer in the final, his time of 24.25 seconds winning by nearly a second. Team Iron finished plus-25.5 on Aqua Centurions in the men’s skins, to go with plus-30 in women’s skins, to hope into second place on the team standings.

Ress got the win in the first round, buoying the Condors with Coleman Stewart missing out with a tie for sixth. His time was 23.02, .13 ahead of Glinta and .15 ahead of ahead Guilherme Basseto, the other Iron swimmer. Matteo Rivolta provided a brief bulwark to stop Aqua Centurions’ slide, getting the fourth spot ahead in the final.

Ress won the semi in 24.17 with Glinta second. Rivolta was .37 seconds back, and while he kept his six points, so did Basseto with his five for fourth. (It did get Rivolta the consolation prize of sewing up ISL Playoff Match 6 MVP honors.) That meant Glinta could put Iron on top by grabbing the 14 points on offer for winning skins. He obliged, controlling the race from the gun in 24.25 to Ress’s 25.11.

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