ISL to Test Pilot a Men’s 800 Freestyle at League Final With Romanchuk, Auböck, Grothe & Others

Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

The International Swimming League will test pilot a men’s 800 freestyle race this weekend at the league final in Budapest on Saturday. Three swimmers who swam in the ISL this season, but had their teams eliminated, will be participating in the race: Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Aqua Centurions, Zane Grothe of the DC Trident, and Felix Auböck of the New York Breakers.

The five other swimmers participating in the 800m freestyle are: Akos Kalmár (Hungary), Damien Joly (France), Worlds bronze medalist David Aubry (France), Worlds silver medalist Henrik Christiansen (Norway) and Lander Henrickx (Belgium).

Zane Grothe

Zane Grothe. Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis / ISL

“The 800m freestyle pilot features some of the best swimmers in the world at this distance and the ISL is keen to give them a taste of the atmosphere and excitement of Season 2020,” ISL chief executive Andrea Di Nino said.

“We are always exploring ideas for thrilling new races and this is a good opportunity to test new formats for the future. This event potentially adds even more unpredictability, intrigue and excitement.

“We will analyze the outcome of this test and hold discussions with our stakeholders on different formats for the future.”


Henrik Christiansen, on the podium at the 2019 World Championships in Gawngju – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

The men’s 800 freestyle test event will be a non-scoring event this weekend. Participants earn points from their positions at three checkpoints in the race – 100m, 400m and 800m. The winner is the swimmer with most points collected.

Points are awarded on a sliding scale. At the 100m, 400m checkpoints, the first-placed swimmer gets 9 points, second receives 7 points, third placed 5 points, with 3 points awarded for fourth and 1 point for fifth.

At the 800m finish, points are awarded to all swimmers on a sliding scale from 9 points for the winner to 1 point for eighth.

The ISL has introduced jackpot times for each of the checkpoints, rewarding the quickest swimmers and penalizing the slowest.

  • If the swimmer is outside the jackpot times at 100m (2 seconds from the leader) and 400m (9 seconds from the leader), their points are awarded to the athlete passing those checkpoints in first place.
  • If the swimmer is outside the jackpot time at 800m (15 seconds from the leader), they lose ALL points earned from the three checkpoints, which are ‘stolen’ (redistributed) by those athletes inside the time.
  • And if the swimmer is outside the cutoff time for the men’s 800 freestyle (7:56.00), they receive a penalty of -1 from the total points they have accumulated from the three checkpoints.

ISL organizers believe the 800m race will help grow the attraction of the competition as they look to add innovations.


  1. Steve

    They should do it like those velodrome bike races: 8th place at 300m is eliminated, then 7th is eliminated at 400m, 6th at 500m, 5th at 600m, 4th at 700m, then the last three battle for top three finishes. They put the orange counter in at the next 25 to indicate elimination (or somone does a cannonball on them).

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