The Week That Was: Australian Swimmers Withdraw From ISL Over Travel Concerns

Foto Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse 21 Dicembre 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming League. Nella foto: McKEON Emma Photo Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse December 21, 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League. In the picture: McKEON Emma
Emma McKeon of the London Roar. Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse

The Week That Was is sponsored bySuit-extractor-logo

The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

Some major news came out of the International Swimming League this past week as the league announced a media rights agreement with CBS Sports ahead of this season. The second season of the ISL will primarily take place in Budapest in October as the athletes will participate in a bubble-like environment, in hopes of limiting the spread of the virus, similar to how the NBA and WNBA have done so in the United States.

But because of the league taking place in Budapest, Swimming Australia recommended its swimmers to not travel to Hungary because of concerns over the global pandemic. This is a big blow to all of the teams that have Australians on their team.

Read below the five biggest stories in The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #1: Australian Swimmers Withdraw From ISL Over Travel Concerns

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Ariarne Titmus of the Cali Condors. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Ian Hanson, Oceania Correspondent

The biggest names in Australian swimming were not prepared to risk career ending health issues or their places on next year’s Olympic team with their decisions to withdraw from this year’s multi-million dollar International Swimming League (ISL) – scheduled for Budapest next month.

Dual Olympian Rob Woodhouse – general manager of the London Roar and Queensland-based coach Dean Boxall – a coach on the US-based Cali Condors have spoken exclusively to Swimming World after a tumultuous day which saw the majority of the Australian Dolphins reluctantly withdraw from the second season of the League.

Swimming Australia’s advice from the travel and health perspective was to stay home – but at the end of the day the swimmers and the coaches had to weigh up all the information and all the risks and make their individual decisions.

#2: ISL Signs Media Rights Agreement With CBS Sports

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross

The International Swimming League (ISL) announced a multi-year media rights agreement with CBS Sports on Thursday to showcase the league’s events across CBS Sports platforms to the American audience, according to a release sent out by the league.

The ISL, which debuted in 2019 on ESPN’s online streaming platform ESPN3, will hold its second season in Budapest, Hungary starting October 16 and will last only five weeks, due to concerns over the current COVID-19 pandemic with a strict medical protocol in place to ensure safety for all competitors and working staff. The ISL Grand Finals location and dates will be announced separately.

Swimmers will be tested twice for Covid-19 before leaving their country of origin and then twice in Budapest before they can be cleared to train with athletes to be tested every five days.

ISL competition will take place without spectators with five matches in October starting on 16 of that month.

The Week That Was #3: Southeastern Conference Announces Dates For Swim Season

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Matthew De George

The Southeastern Conference on Monday announced new dates for the swimming and diving season, with the SEC schedule beginning no earlier than Oct. 1 and ending no later than Jan. 25, 2021.

The season will include “regionalized competition permitted upon the adherence of opponents to SEC Medical Guidance Task Force Requirements for COVID-19 Management.” Contests will be dual meets only – “unless alternative strategies are identified to limit the overall number of participants to ensure proper distancing” – and schools have control over what events will be contested. There is no restriction on the number of contests teams can engage in.

The release does not include information about the SEC Championships, which normally would be scheduled for February. Such a meet, obviously, would exceed the dual-meet stipulations in the regular season need some special dispensation to occur.

#4: USA Swimming Announces Formation of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council and Black Leadership in Aquatics Coalition

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Giles Smith, core group member of Black Leadership in Aquatics Coalition. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross

USA Swimming, the national governing body for swimming in the United States, is proud to announce the formation of two diverse leadership groups developed as part of a long-term action plan to provide expertise and strategic guidance to USA Swimming staff and swimming leaders regarding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The 22-member DEI Council is comprised of athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers, and non-members representing diverse races, ethnicities, abilities, and LGBTQ+ people that make up USA Swimming’s membership. Its purpose is to bring together a group of diverse individuals to consult, deliberate and provide strategic DEI feedback to USA Swimming.

The Black Leadership in Aquatics Coalition, also known as Team BLAC, consists of former and current USA Swimming National Team athletes and is chaired by 2004 Olympic silver medalist Maritza McClendon. Team BLAC’s mission is to be the aquatics leaders of the Black voice and to impact the sport of swimming through exposure, resources, and mentorship.

The Week That Was #5: USA Swimming Giving Meet Sanctioning Controls to LSCs in October

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Matthew De George

In a letter to members Tuesday, USA Swimming announced that effective Oct. 1, it will allow local swimming committees (LSCs) to resume sanctioning meets.

The USA Swimming Board of Directors voted Monday to allow two stipulations to lapse as of Sept. 30: The geographic restrictions on meet sanctioning, and the centralization of meet sanctioning powers to USA Swimming, which had been in place since the return to swim from the initial COVID-19 shutdown in the spring. That means LSCs can sanction meets and compete against athletes from other LSCs, opening the path for greater normalcy.

From the letter:

To be clear, this is not a mandate from USA Swimming to LSCs to sanction competitions, but rather returns authority over the process to the LSCs to make informed decisions within their respective regions. It is critical that our LSCs, teams, and facilities work together to ensure safe environments in which to hold practice and competition. For a sanction to be granted the meet plan must address all current safety requirements.

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