Sjostrom & Le Clos Drive Energy Standard To Tight Win Over London Roar: Both Teams Go To Vegas Showdown

Energy Standard - League round 1 winners in Indy - Photo Courtesy: Energy Standard EnergyStandardWinnersIndy
Energy Standard - the Winners - Photo Courtesy: Energy Standard

International Swimming League, London: European Derby, Day 2

London Roar, Energy Standard, Team Iron, Aqua Centurions

Energy Standard and London Roar are the Europe-based teams heading for the Final Match of the first season of the International Swimming League. Energy emerged the derby Match winner in London 467.5 to 458.5 points, courtesy of the decisive triple-points skins events beyond a thrilling contest of close calls.

The top two Europe-based teams, both with British head coaches, James Gibson for Energy and Mel Marshall for Roar, will battle with LA Current and Cali Condors, the top two United States-based teams, at the showdown Final Match of the League’s first season in Las Vegas on December 20-21. Said Gibson:

“We knew it would always be like that. London are such a great team and they’re going to add a lot more strength and depth to their field for Vegas. But, we were confident in our strategy, I didn’t change my tactics once, and we’ve got a great team.”

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If Most Valuable Player award went to Chad Le Clos on 44.5 points, his Energy teammate Sarah Sjostrom, also captain, finished runner-up just half a point adrift.  The biggest contributors for Roar were Emma McKeon, on 43.5 points and Duncan Scott, on 40.

Iron’s Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Vladimir Morozov showed that, while the skins they mastered are significant, they are not what wins a match. Triumph and close to it required quality across the board, 1-2 and 1-3 finishes, the need for victories from Cate Campbell, Adam Peaty,Chad Le Clos and Sarah Sjostrom to be matched by outcomes less expected, such as those delivered by Roar’s Holly Hibbott and Duncan Scott.

  • How the live action unfolded, with RACE VIDEOS added, are at the foot of the highlights and narrative on the art of skins, through the perspective of Sjostrom. 

Curtain-closer highlights:

Mens’ skins – 50 m free

  • Showdown: Vlad Morozov is king of skins: 21.78 to 22.25 for Manaudou
  • Round 2 – It’s Manaudou Vs Morozov, 21.94 to 22.01. Scott and Gkolomeev leave the stage
  • Round 1 Kristian Gkolomeev put a spanner in the works on 21.34; Florent Manaudou (Energy), on 21.35, next in, the last two places a match: Vladimir Morozov (Iron) and Duncan Scott (Roar) on 21.46 apiece.

The women’s skins had left the team battle at 444 for Roar and 442.5 for Energy. The men’s skins, Manaudou’s second-place, left Energy ahead.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo

Team Iron’s Ranomi Kromowidjojo won the 50 free Skins competition once more.

Womens’ Skins – 50m free

  • Showdown: Sarah Sjostrom called it right: short-course, Ranomi is “impressive”. The most impressive. Ranomi Kromowidjojo emerged from the dive head and shoulders up on Sjostrom and the great battle that followed race was all but done in terms of who would win.
  • 24.17 for the Iron sprinter, 24.46 for Energy’s all-round ace. For Kromowidjojo, the win made her the queen of skins as the winningest woman over 3×50 free of League Season 1.
  • Round 2 – Sjostrom, 23.95; Kromowidjojo, 24.19. Mckeon and Sanchez leave the stage.
  • Round 1: Sjostrom (Energy) 23.57; Kromowidjojo (Iron), 23.69; McKeon (Roar), 23.70; Sanchez (Energy), 23.71. Cate Campbell (Roar), 5th and gone… the start is where that happened.

Chad Le Clos – MPV

Last-lap surge. Chad Le Clos, London 2012. Michael Phelps. Olympic gold ahead of the G.O.A.T.

Not quite the same this day of short-course 200m butterfly seven years on but under the League lights in the same pool in London, in the same lane 5 in which he made his name the stuff of household, Le Clos surged down the last lap with a huge drive off the wall on his way to a powerful 1:51.97 victory for Energy.

More on Le Clos later. For now, his thoughts on a fine evening back in London seven years on:

“It was a really emotional night for me because I had my dad in the crowd, my family. I had the same emotions walking out hearing the crowd because it was very loud tonight. It brought out a similar race: I was touching behind at the 150. I just closed my eyes, bit my tongue and counted to 10. I came off the last wall thankfully ahead and put my head down.

“It was almost like a magic night because if that was any other pool I would probably have lost that race.

“I was holding back the tears walking out because it brings back such special memories because the call room is the same and I remember all those sensations of walking out, Phelps was behind me, walking through and seeing the crowd. It was really beautiful.”

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Katinka Hosszu – Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Highlights to the second break

  • the fight is tight, Energy’s relay DQ yesterday potentially as significant as the impending skins – Team Scores: Roar – 406; Energy – 395.5; Aqua – 303.5; Iron – 292.0
  • the winning efforts of Duncan Scott, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell after earlier victories so that Roar could claim the mixed 4x100m freestyle with Alex Graham
  • the closeness of 100m backstroke battles – Minna Atherton and Kira Toussaint the top women, Evgeny Rylov and Guilherme Guido the top men – one for Roar, one for Energy
  • Katinka Hosszu keeping her 200IM run of wins alive
  • Duncan Scott taking the men’s 200IM to show the versatility of a 100m free ace plus

Highlights to the first break:

  • Roar’s cate Campbell and Emma McKeon playing a big role in their team coming from behind Energy to take the top of the leaderboard by the first break, with a 1-2 finish in the 100m free and a big contribution to victory in the double-points score 4x100m medley, Roar 2 third for close to max impact and a changed seascape on team scores: Roar – 315; Energy – 305.5; Aqua – 245.5; Iron – 235
  • Adam Peaty keeping his unbroken run of 100m breaststroke victories alive
  • Holly Hibbott – a personal best by 2sec for a 3:57.96 win for Roar over one of the biggest freestyle names in swim history, Federica Pellegrini, in the 400m freestyle. Coach Sean Kelly was in the venue to watch his charge Hibbott step up in illustrious aquatic company.

Energy and London Roar were split by just 14 points after the first day of action at the London Aquatic Centre. All eyes on the roll of the dice, the double-score relays and the triple-points skins during the decider this evening.

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Adam Peaty – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

And what of Adam Peaty? Fourth in the 50m breaststroke yesterday – and a run of 100m victories unbroken since 2014 at staked today. The verdict is in: Olympic champion Peaty, 56.18 for top-score to Roar, drew level with Ilya Shymanovich in the closing 10m of battle, and snatched victory with his last stroke. The Energy ace clocked 56.32, third place going to his mate national and League Anton Chupkov, World 200m champion, on 57.18.

Peaty finished second yo Chupkov over 200m yesterday. He said: “Don’t get me started on the 50: short-course for me is difficult at times but when I am in hard training I lose my legs.

“It’s good for the sport and its good for me and it keeps me on my toes. Every time I lose I come back even faster so I will use as a fuel now and use that to hopefully polish up into Vegas seeing as we have made it now.”

The Olympic 100m breaststroke champion also featured in the mixed 4x100m freestyle – all about being a team member, he said.

“That is what it is. ISL isn’t an individual sport: it s a team sport so I stepped up when I needed to step up and got the job done as well as I could.”

If Florent Manaudou and Vladimir Morozov were expected to scrap for breath and honour in the men’s freestyle skins, the women’s 50 fight promised keen insight into the art of racing three two short-course laps within six minutes. Expectation and promise were delivered this evening.

Kromowidjojo has been the outstanding act in skins this season. The double Dutch Olympic sprint champion in this very pool back in 2012 when she claimed 50m and 100m free gold, has defeated Roar’s Cate Campbell in skins even though the Australianhas been the sprint queen of the season so far among women in solo events. Three back-to-back 50s is something else.

Sarah Sjostrom, the 50 and 100m world-record holder racing for Energy, has her eye on the prize today but takes nothing for granted. She told Swimming World: “I love watching the skins. Ranomi was great. She can use her starts and turns so well. I was impressed with how she did and also [Beryl] Gastaldello and how she came through the rounds. If I compare the times, they swim much faster than me in skins.”

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Sarah Sjostrom – Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Then the smile and the thinly veiled threat:

“But I’m much fitter now than I was in the previous rounds. I was not fit in Indy and Naples. I was not race ready. I will be sharper here. It was the first time in a very long time that I took three years off; after the world championships, three weeks in which I never touched the pool. I’d never done that before. It takes time to build back up and now I’m in a really good place and I feel like I’m going to be much faster here.”

She recognised the need to be: “I need to be because it will be even tougher in my events here: it’s like a world champs in my events her.”

Asked how she felt as fatigue set in during the six minutes of repeat sprints, she said:

“It’s quite weird because I don’t feel too bad until I dive in the water. The best would be for me to have less rest in between: it’s like I build more lactate the more rest I get. So, a little shorter rest would help. I have a 200m base but short-course is ten times harder  in some respects.”

She added: In long-course, no-one would beat me in skins – but short-course is a tough act. You need to turn and use your legs and the dives count for much. In long course I can swim really fast without using my legs too much. Short-course is a much bigger challenge.”

And the challenge is all about her, as the first race proved, as she finished third in the 100m free, Cate Campbell and Emma Mckeon ahead of her.

Live Action:

Contemporaneous notes of the action as it unfolded (latest news at the top), with Race Videos and interviews added

Mens’ skins – 50 m free

  • Showdown: Vlad Morozov is king of skins: 21.78 to 22.25 for Manaudou
  • Round 2 – It’s Manaudou Vs Morozov, 21.94 to 22.01. Scott and Gkolomeev leave the stage
  • Round 1 Kristian Gkolomeev put a spanner in the works on 21.34; Florent Manaudou (Energy), on 21.35, next in, the last two places a match: Vladimir Morozov (Iron) and Duncan Scott (Roar) on 21.46 apiece.

The women’s skins had left the team battle at 444 for Roar and 442.5 for Energy. The men’s skins, Manaudou’s second-place, left Energy ahead.

Womens’ Skins – 50m free

  • Showdown: Sarah Sjostrom called it right: short-course, Ranomi is “impressive”. The most impressive. Ranomi Kromowidjojo emerged from the dive head and shoulders up on Sjostrom and the great battle that followed race was all but done in terms of who would win.
  • 24.17 for the Iron sprinter, 24.46 for Energy’s all-round ace. For Kromowidjojo, the win made her the queen of skins as the winningest woman over 3×50 free of League Season 1.
  • Round 2 – Sjostrom, 23.95; Kromowidjojo, 24.19. Mckeon and Sanchez leave the stage.
  • Round 1: Sjostrom (Energy) 23.57; Kromowidjojo (Iron), 23.69; McKeon (Roar), 23.70; Sanchez (Energy), 23.71. Cate Campbell (Roar), 5th and gone… the start is where that happened.

Men’s 200m butterfly

chad-le-clos-

Chad le Clos Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

As stated – Last-lap surge. Chad Le Clos, London 2012. Michael Phelps. Olympic gold ahead of the G.O.A.T.

Not quite the same this day of short-course 200m butterfly seven years on but under the League lights in the same pool in London, in the same lane 5 in which he made his name the stuff of household, Le Clos surged down the last lap with a huge drive off the wall on his way to a powerful 1:51.97 victory for Energy.

Next home was Vini Lanza, on 1:52.90, third to James Guy, on 1:53.48, both for Roar.

Women’s 200m butterfly

When the going gets tough, call Katinka Hosszu. The race was her’s and Iron’s in a dominant 2:03.94, Franziska Hentke, of Aqua, and Holly Hibbott, the 400m free winner from Roar, on 2:06.01 and 2:06.93 respectively.

Second Break: Team Scores

  • Roar – 406
  • Energy – 395.5
  • Aqua – 303.5
  • Iron – 292.0

Mixed 4x100m freestyle

Alex Graham, Duncan Scott, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell took the win for the Roar in 3:16.04 ahead of Aqua 2, on 3:16.38 and Energy 2 on 3:17.59. The minor placings left all three on 22 points.

That left Roar’s lead over Energy 1 point bigger than it had been at the first break, the all-powerful triple-point skins to come.

Women’s 100m backstroke

Minna Atherton

Minna Atherton gets set to maul another world record – ISL

No world record today but a boiling battle off backstroke needs no clock in this company: Minna Atherton, on 54.89 for the global standard in Budapest last month and just 0.02sec shy off the world 200m record yesterday, drove off the last wall to gain the decisive edger on the way to a 55.29 victory for Roar. Kira Toussaint, for Iron, added another line to her Dutch record-breaking season in 55.58, with Energy’s Emily Seebohm on 56.49 for third. A rare moment for Australian backstroke swimming, Seebohm, the 2015 double World champion, behind her former training partner Atherton.

Men’s 100m backstroke

Like a bat of hell off his blocks, Guilherme Guido set a blistering opening pace for a 23.58 split. By the last turn his lead was commanding yet. Underwater off the last wall, Energy’s Evgeny Rylov, the World 200m champion, thundered back like a submarine on a hunt, emerged level with his prey.

The two spent the rest of the lap ;locked in the thrash of battle, Rylov getting the touch in 49.75, Guido on 49.86. Third went to Kliment Kolesnikov in 50.79, for Energy.

Women’s 50m butterfly

World champion and record holder Sarah Sjostrom took the race in 24.83 but next home were Roar’s Marie Wattel and Jeanette Ottesen, on 25.22 and 25.28 respectively, converting to 14 points for Energy and 13 for Roar. The tight fight goes on. Said Sjostrom after her win:

“I’m very happy with it, it’s great to win my first race here in London. It feels great. It’s my best event this year, so I’m very pleased with that.”

Men’s 50 Butterfly

Szebazstian Szabo, for Iron, clocked 22.13 for the win over Energy’s Chad le Clos, on 22.56, third his mate Florent Manaudou, on 22.64, for solid points as Energy try to catch Roar ahead of the all-important skins.

Women’s 200m medley

Katinka Hosszu is used to racing hard many times over. The experience and grit helped the Iron captain to keep an unbroken record in the 200 medley at the touch: 2:04.16, Sydney Pickrem on 2:04.34 for Roar, a 2:05.32 granting Energy’s Kayla Sanchez, 200m free winner yesterday, third place.

Men’s 200m medley

Duncan Scott - Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

Duncan Scott – Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

Duncan Scott, the 100m free ace, raced 400m medley yesterday and took second place in 4:04, versatility, endurance and all-round threat bristling. He just won the 200m medley, in 1:53.97, as an outside smoker in lane 8, his freestyle force not to be denied, Philipp Heintz, for Aqua, on 1:54.67, and Gunnar Bentz, for Iron, on 1:54.70, following him into the wall in a fight across the width of the pool.

First Break – Team Scores:

  • Roar – 315
  • Energy – 305.5
  • Aqua – 245.5
  • Iron – 235

Women’s 4x100m medley

Minna Atherton, Sydney Pickrem, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell, with help from teammates making up a second line-up in green put the Roar ahead off Energy for the first time at this Derby with a 3:46.99 win over Iron’s 3:47.69, Roar 2 on 3:49.84.  That meant 30 points for Roar … and the top of the leaderboard.

Men’s 400m freestyle

Roar’s James Guy looked good for the win and his 3:40.64 but that was not good enough for the win: Iron’s Norwegian 1500m ace Henrik Christiansen got his hand to the wall first in 3:40.14. Christiansen is among those though to be locked out of the League a touch courtesy of the lack of any events over 400m but today he proved otherwise. Third went too Poul Zellmann, of Aqua, in 3:41.97.

Women’s 400m freestyle

Holly Hibbott roared for the Roar as she wiped two second off her personal best for a 3:57.96 win over one of the biggest freestyle names in swim history, Federica Pellegrini. The Aqua captain stopped the clock at 3;59.18, third place to another with a treasury greater than Hibbot’s but unable to cope with her today: Charlotte Bonnet, for Energy, on 3:59.64. A delighted coach Sean Kelly was in the venue to watch his charge Hibbott step up in illustrious aquatic company.

Men’s 100m breaststroke

As stated – Adam Peaty: fourth in the 50m breaststroke yesterday – and a run of 100m victories unbroken since 2014 at staked today. The verdict is in: Olympic champion Peaty, 56.18 for top-score to Roar, got past Ilya Shymanovich in the closing 10m of battle, the Energy ace on 56.32, third to his mate national and League Anton Chupkov, World 200m champion, on 57.18.

Women’s 100m breaststroke

Alia Atkinson

Alia Atkinson checks her time after winning the 50 breaststroke at the ISL meet in Budapest.

In 1:03.94, Alia Atkinson took the win for Iron, ahead of Martina Carraro and Arianna Castiglioni, on 1:04.11 and 1:04.43 and good for top points for the Aqua Centurions, the big two locked out but their finishes in the wash significant to the fall of points.

Men’s 100m freestyle

Roar have no Kyle Chalmers in town, Vladimir Morozov making hay for Iron in 46.14, Ivan Grinev, Aqua, and Chad le Clos, Energy, matched on 46.48, Roar’s Duncan Scott just locked out.

Women’s 100m freestyle

Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon gave Roar a great start with a 1-2 top-score victory over Energy’s Sarah Sjostrom 51.20, 51.27 to 51.50. The gap between the big two teams in the hunt for tickets to the Final Match in Las Vegas on December 20-21 gets tighter.

 

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