ISL Championship (Live Results): Daiya Seto Makes Debut with 400 Medley WR; Caeleb Dressel Sizzles to WR in 50 Free

Foto Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse 20 Dicembre 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming League Nella foto: SETO Daiya Photo Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse December 20, 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League In the picture: SETO Daiya
Daiya Seto High Fives The Energy team after setting the World Record over 400m medley at the International Swimming League Final in Las Vegas - Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse

ISL Championship (Day One – Live Results)

Upon the announcement of the formation of the International Swimming League, much hype accompanied the unveiling of the sport’s first professional league. The reasons for the hoopla were quite evident.

  • Most of the sport’s top names opted to participate.
  • The format promoted a team atmosphere not often found on the deck.
  • Athletes were recruited onto their respective teams.
  • Multiple cities would serve as hosts, enabling showcases around the globe.
  • The championship competition was slated for one of the world’s party capitals: Las Vegas.
Foto Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse 20 Dicembre 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming League Nella foto: SETO Daiya Photo Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse December 20, 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League In the picture: SETO Daiya

Daiya Seto delight at setting the World Record over 400m medley at the International Swimming League Final in Las Vegas – Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse

Foto Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse 20 Dicembre 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming League Nella foto: DRESSEL Caeleb Photo Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse December 20, 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League In the picture: DRESSEL Caeleb

Caeleb Dressel prepares to break the mould at the ISL Final in Las Vegas – Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse

Well, championship weekend has arrived and the first day of the final was nothing short of spectacular. Not only are three of the four teams in position to capture the team title, a pair of world records were established, thanks to the efforts of Japan’s Daiya Seto and American Caeleb Dressel.

Energy Standard exited Day One on top of scoreboard with 219.5 points, with the Cali Condors sitting in second with 205.5 points, and just ahead of the 202 points of the London Roar. The L.A. Current rounds out the field with 185.5 points.

For Energy, Seto made his ISL debut and became the first Asian participant in the league.  The Japanese star made his presence immediately known as his initial ISL swim produced a world record of 3:54.81 in the 400 individual medley, an event in which Seto is the reigning world champion. Seto was under world-record pace throughout the race and left no doubt at the finish, while also providing a significant momentum boost for an Energy Standard team that went through the regular season undefeated.

While Seto cooked up a world record over 400 meters, Dressel went faster than any man before him over the shortest distance of 50 meters. Dressel, representing the Cali Condors, fired off a clocking of 20.24 for the 50 freestyle, an effort that was .02 quicker than the previous record of Florent Manaudou. It was Dressel’s second world record of the year, joining his global mark in the 100 butterfly from the World Championships over the summer.

Nic Fink

Nick Fink – Photo – livestream

Dressel piled up 52 points on the afternoon to take the lead in the MVP race, with teammate Nic Fink next at 41 points, on the strength of his victories in the 50 and 200 breaststrokes. Sarah Sjostrom, the season-long leader in the MVP chase, is the top female in the Las Vegas MVP race with 37 points.

The triple-point Skins events on Saturday will go a long way in determining which team is crowned as the inaugural ISL champion. With the top three teams tightly bunched, the team champion will almost certainly need a victory in either the female or male Skins competition, which makes the Cali Condors even more dangerous, given Dressel’s talent and ability to bounce back quickly between races.

“I think the whole point of this competition is to race and you are racing for places and for points for your team,” said the London Roar’s Cate Campbell. “I think that in a way it takes a lot of the stress out of racing because we do get very time-focused and you can lose a lot of sleep over hundredths and tenths of a second which to most people sounds a little strange but for us it’s quite liberating in that you just want to get the places on the board and execute really good races.

“I think we have seen some really incredible swims on this first day and we promised it would be it would be furious and the competition has definitely lived up to that.”

Here are the Day One results.

Team scoring after Day One:

  • Energy Standard – 219
  • Cali Condors – 205.5
  • London Roar – 202
  • L.A. Current – 185.5

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MVP scoring after Day One:

  • Caeleb Dressel – 52
  • Nic Fink – 41
  • Sarah Sjostrom – 37
  • Lilly King – 36

Here is an event-by-event recap of the Day One action:

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay

The London Roar capped the first day of the championship event with a key win in the 400 free relay. The Commonwealth quartet of Cameron McEvoy, Kyle Chalmers, Yuri Kisil and Duncan Scott was timed in 3:05.11. The Cali Condors came up for second place and Energy Standard picked up third place.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

ISL: Nic Fink

Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse

Following a surprise win over Adam Peaty in the 50 breaststroke earlier in the session, the Cali Condors’ Nic Fink earned a more expected victory in the longer breaststroke event, his winning time of 2:02.34 falling just .01 shy of Cody Miller’s American record. The L.A. Current posted a two-three finish in the form of Will Licon and Josh Prenot.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

ISL: Lilly King & Kelsey Wog

Photo Courtesy: Livestream

As was the case in the 50 breaststroke, the Cali Condors received a major boost from their female breaststrokers, this time Lilly King and Kelsey Wog leading a one-two finish.

King improved to 11-for-11 in ISL breaststroke events, thanks to a winning time of 2:17.03.

Third place went to the L.A. Current’s Annie Lazor.

Men’s 50 Backstroke

Throughout the season, the London Roar’s Guilherme Guido has been superb in the backstroke events, and Friday was no different as he stormed to victory in the 50-meter distance with a performance of 22.77. Florent Manaudou showed his sprint diversity by finishing second for Energy Standard, with Kliment Kolesnikov touching in third.

Women’s 50 Backstroke

The Cali Condors got back into the winning column as Olivia Smoliga cruised ahead of the field in 25.89, swift enough to turn back Beryl Gastaldello of the L.A. Current. Energy Standard was paced by Georgia Davies in third place while Minna Atherton was unable to replicate her regular-season success with a fourth-place showing.

Men’s 200 Freestyle

ISL: Alexander Graham

Photo Courtesy: Livestream

Alexander Graham secured his fourth victory of the season in the 200 freestyle, this time behind a clocking of 1:41.74 for the London Roar, which also received a third-place outing from Elijah Winnington. Placing between the Roar athletes was American Blake Pieroni of the L.A. Current.

Women’s 200 Freestyle

ISL: Charlotte Bonnet

Photo Courtesy: Livestream

Energy Standard padded its lead in the team scoring as Charlotte Bonnet was the victory in 1:52.88, just 0.7sec shy of her season best, and Kayla Sanchez got up for crucial fourth-place points.

Ariarne Titmus was the runnerup for the Cali Condors and the London Roar benefited from Holly Hibbott placing third.

Team scoring after the second session:

  • Energy Standard – 149
  • Cali Condors – 130
  • London Roar – 124
  • L.A. Current – 113

Men’s 400 Medley Relay

Energy Standard has been consistent all day long, putting together the deepest finishes, and a triumph in the first men’s relay of the meet was key. Standard was propelled to victory by the foursome of Kliment Kolesnikov, Ilya Shymanovich, Chad Le Clos and Sergey Shevtsov, a time of 3:21.24 doing the job. The London Roar managed to finish second and third, and with points doubled for relay action, they collected 26 points.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

ISL: Sarah Sjostrom

Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse

Following a poor showing in the first event of the meet, Sarah Sjostrom bounced back in a big way for Energy Standard, as she hit the wall in 23.43 and paced her squad to a 1-3 finish, Femke Heemskerk also earning a podium spot. Splitting the Energy Standard duo was Aussie Cate Campbell of the London Roar.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Foto Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse 20 Dicembre 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming League Nella foto: DRESSEL Caeleb - new world Record Photo Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse December 20, 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League In the picture: DRESSEL Caeleb

Photo Courtesy: Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse

Relying on his trademark superb start, Caeleb Dressel blazed to the front of the field and kept pouring on the pressure en route to a world record of 20.24, an effort that wiped .02 off Florent Manauodu’s previous mark. Manaudou had an up-close-and-personal view of Dressel’s world record as the Frenchman and Energy Standard athlete was in the race and finished second to the American, with the London Roar’s Kyle Chalmers finishing third.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

Heading into the event, the London Roar’s Minna Atherton had been untouchable in ISL action. But Kathleen Baker of the L.A. Current found a way to dent the Australian, with Baker winning the eight-lap event in 2:01.22, Atherton settling for second place. Third place went to Canadian Kylie Masse of the Cali Condors.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

Reigning Olympic champion Ryan Murphy handed the L.A. Current its first victory of the championship meet as he fended off Energy Standard’s Evgeny Rylov and prevailed in 1:48.81. The Cali Condors occupied the third and fourth positions behind the duo of Mitch Larkin and Radoslaw Kawecki.

Team scoring after the first session:

  • Energy Standard – 84
  • Cali Condors – 80
  • London Roar – 72
  • L.A. Current – 60

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay

Energy Standard moved into first place in the team standings with first- and fourth-place showings in the double-scoring event. The first-place squad of Penny Oleksiak, Sarah Sjostrom, Kayla Sanchez and Femke Heemskerk was timed in 3:26.48, quick enough to deny the London Roar (3:26.71). The Cali Condors finished in third place.

Men’s 400 Individual Medley

Energy Standard brought Daiya Seto to Las Vegas as a new addition and major weapon, and the Japanese superstar did not disappoint as he broke the world record with a splendid performance of 3:54.81, which broke the nine-year-old standard of 3:55.50, formerly held by Ryan Lochte. Seto was under world-record pace throughout the race and as the final lap unfolded, there was little doubt that the reigning world champion would get the global standard. The London Roar’s Duncan Scott placed second.

Women’s 400 Individual Medley

And the beat goes on for the Cali Condors, who watched Melanie Margalis maintain her consistency in ISL competition. Margalis covered the race in an American record of 4:24.15 to give the Condors a fifth straight win to start the meet. The American was followed by the London Roar’s Sydney Pickrem and the L.A. Current’s Ella Eastin.

Men’s 50 Breaststroke

In a surprise finish, the Cali Condors’ Nic Fink covered his two laps in 25.75, good for an American record, to upend the London Roar’s Adam Peaty and extend the Condors’ winning streak to the opening four events. Although Peaty is best known for his long-course skill, any loss by the breaststroke great is stunning. Energy Standard got a third-place finish from Ilya Shymanovich.

Women’s 50 Breaststroke

Raising her streak to 10 consecutive wins in ISL breaststroke action, Lilly King paced the Cali Condors in 28.90, her teammate Molly Hannis finishing second for a 16-point surge. King was credited with an American record, although Jessica Hardy was quicker with a 28.80 later in 2009, at which point USA Swimming was not recognizing record swims from the tech-suit era. Third place went to Imogen Clark of Energy Standard.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

A late flourish from the Cali Condors’ Caeleb Dressel enabled the American star to overtake Energy Standard’s Chad Le Clos and prevail in 49.10, with Le Clos next in 49.15. Le Clos had the lead for the majority of the race, but Dressel powered through the final strokes to grab first place. Tom Shields secured third place for the L.A. Current.

Women’s 100 Butterfly

ISL: Kelsi Dahlia

Photo Courtesy: Livestream

Fueling her team with an upset triumph in the first event of the meet, American Kelsi Dahlia got to the wall in 55.35.

That left behind the London Roar’s Emma McKeon and Energy Standard’s Olympic champ Sarah Sjostrom, the pre-race favorites.

Dahlia led from the start and was followed in second by Energy’s Anastasiya Shkurdai, with McKeon taking third in front of Sjostrom.