Off European Training Base, Ian Finnerty Seeking World Record in ISL Action


Off European Training Base, Ian Finnerty Seeking World Record in ISL Action

By Madison Hoehn, Swimming World Intern 

Ian Finnerty, current American record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke (SCM), has his eye on smashing major records during this 2020 ISL Season.

An Indiana University alumni and ISL returnee, Finnerty has had major success both in college and international competitions. This will be his second year swimming for the D.C. Trident and he is hoping to repeat his success from last year, in which he became the first American man to break 26 seconds in the 50 breaststroke. He also took the American record in the 100 breaststroke during the season.

The past several months, Finnerty has been training with Energy Standard, the 2019 champion ISL team based in Paris. He was able to begin his international training back in March before COVID-19 halted all American swimming.

“At that time, I finished my masters at IU, and I decided that I wanted to train internationally,” he told Swimming World via Zoom. “My GM, Kaitlin Sandeno from D.C. Trident, helped contact them for me to train up until ISL, and after ISL I will go back to train with them for Trials. I’ve been training pretty much uninterrupted. I’m very grateful to have gotten out before everything went down.”

Despite facing difficulties due to the pandemic, Finnerty’s training has been just as i


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

ntense as before. Finnerty now has a different approach to his training style, after having been accustomed to IU’s rigorous practices under head coach Ray Looze. Finnerty’s practices are more specifically tailored to his sprint events – specifically the 100, which he is focusing on for this season.

“That’s why I got with Energy Standard, as they have an emphasis on feeling good in the water, lifting, and technique,” Finnerty said.

However, quality training isn’t the only thing getting Finnerty ready for the ISL season. The D.C. Trident is known for being one of the most enthusiastic teams at ISL matches, and they are determined to continue carrying that fun energy again this year. With new faces such as Amy Bilquist and Margo Geer joining the team, the team is determined to make its mark on the league and the world.

“We want the team to grow and people to be invested in our sport. We want to be the best team in supporting one another and getting excited about one another’s swims,” Finnerty said.

Although the ISL promotes fun, spectator-friendly swimming matches, Finnerty is focused on other things outside of having a good time.

Last November, Finnerty swam his last ISL meet in the semifinal match at College Park, Maryland. In an incredible show of speed and grit, he broke both the 50 and 100 breast American records within two days. However, fellow U.S. teammate Nic Fink re-broke the 50 record a month later at the ISL Finals. Ever since then, Finnerty has been looking for a way to take the title back – and accomplish a bit more.

“I would like to sweep the American records for sure, at least in breaststroke. It’s been on my mind ever since the last D.C. meet where I barely missed the 200, and then the 50 was taken,” Finnerty said.

However, reclaiming the American records is not the only focus.

“The end goal would be more world-record focused for the 100,” he said when asked how he wants this ISL season to finish. He also gave a nod to his current coach, James Gibson, if this were to happen.

“James Gibson is the old coach for Cameron van der Burgh so it’s kind of funny that if I were to break it, he would have two athletes who took that record. I’m trying to get all of his secrets,” he joked.

While world records are once again in sight for Ian Finnerty, he still remains grateful to those who have made high-level swimming competitions possible again.

“If it weren’t for [the ISL], there would be no high-class swimming going on right now,” he said. “Being able to sponsor all these athletes and getting them out here so we can actually do this is a huge step for the sport in general. Bravo to all the ISL staff members.”

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