ISL Season 4 Will See Swimmers Choose Status as Pro or Semi-Pro; Prize Money Pool at $13M

Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

The International Swimming League (ISL) has announced changes to the athlete status and prize money for the upcoming Season 4.

The ISL said it has consulted with coaches, general managers and athletes on the changes. The biggest change is the status of swimmers as a Pro or a Semi-Pro. This will allow teams to know how many matches swimmers will be participating in and hold athletes to a certain number of meets.

This comes after a year when several of the big names in the sport on each team did not participate in the entire season following the Tokyo Olympics.

Here is the specifics on the rule announced by the ISL:

Swimmers can choose their status: PRO vs. Semi-PRO

In order to increase the flexibilty for swimmers to plan their schedules for the coming Season, a key change from previous seasons is the introduction of two categories of swimmers, namely:

  • Professional (PRO)
  • Semi-Professional (Semi-PRO)

Swimmers can indicate when they sign up for the ISL Season 4 draft which category they want to be considered for. Also, there are provisions for swimmers who start in the PRO category to revert to Semi-PRO if they realize they cannot fulfill the obligations required by a PRO contract.

PRO swimmers are required to be available for all matches of the ISL Season 4, with the exception of skipping 1 match during the Regular Season for any reason.

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Crucially, PRO swimmers will receive a salary and additional bonuses (explained below), alongside any prize money that they win in competition. This comes with commercial obligations to both the ISL, alongside restrictions on entering all other commercial competitions not as part of their national federations (e.g. participating in the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, European Championships etc. is allowed).

Semi-PRO swimmers have more flexibility. They can skip up to 3 matches in the Regular Season, and 1 match of the Playoffs for any reason. They can win prize money in the equivalent way as PRO swimmers, have less commercial obligations and face less restrictions, including being able to compete in external commercial competitions outside of the ISL season. However, they will not receive a salary and certain bonuses.

As before, all athletes in Season 4 (both PRO and Semi-PRO) can miss matches where they are not selected to compete by the Head Coach, or if they are injured and/or sick, or with the prior consent of the League.


Athlete Compensation and Total Money Pool 

In ISL Season 4, the Total Money Pool (TMP) for athletes will increase by $3.2M. For ease of comparison, the TMP for Season 3 was $9.8M. The TMP for Season 4 will total S13M. 

Importantly, the structure for the TMP is composed differently to previous seasons. The main differences are:

  • The introduction of Salaries this year, compared to the solidarity payments of previous seasons. Salaries start at a minimum of $10K for all PRO-status athletes, and go up to $60K.
  • PRO swimmers have the opportunity to supplement their salaries through the introduction of loyalty bonuses for returning swimmers with continuity with their former teams, bonuses for top rookies who are drafted, aggregated ratings bonuses and ‘jewel’ bonuses (e.g. for swimmers who are undefeated, and have ‘diamond’ status in their events).
  • The total prize money pool is $5,930,800 – this is divided between prize money won through the prize money point system, MVP awards and Club ranking bonuses.

The ISL said it will announce other upcoming changes regarding technical rules and jackpot times.