The Week That Was: Caeleb Dressel Not Competing in Opening ISL Match

DEVINE Abrahm LAC LA Current (LAC) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 8 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

This week in swimming was highlighted by the ISL semi-final and playoff matches. Caeleb Dressel missed the first match enabling Ryan Murphy to shine. In world swimming news, Alex Kostich won his 19th St. Croix’s Coral Reef Swim during the race’s 25th year.

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

The Week That Was #1: Caeleb Dressel Among Notable Swimmers Not Competing in First ISL Semifinal Match

Caeleb Dressel (photo: Mike Lewis)

Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis/ISL

by Dan D’Addona 

Caeleb Dressel opted not to swim in the first International Swimming League (ISL) semifinal match in Eindhoven, Netherlands on Thursday. It hasn’t hurt the Cali Condors.

The Condors lead with 290 points, ahead of Energy Standard (276), DC Trident (183) and Team Iron (171) after the first day of the first semifinal match.

Cali’s Caeleb Dressel, Hali Flickinger, Sherridon Dressel and Energy Standard’s Chad le Clos, Benedetta Pilato and Florent Manaudou were not among the start lists for this meet.

In Dressel’s absence, Justin Ress won the 50 free for the Cali Condors, minimizing the first-day point differential without Caeleb Dressel, the defending ISL MVP.

There were several other big names not competing in the meet, many of them European stars who just competed in the Short Course European Championships last week.

For DC Felipe Franca Silva, Zsuzsanna Jakabos and Jay Litherland are not slated to compete, while Team Iron will be without Marco Orsi.

Week That Was #2: ISL Semifinals Match 1: Beata Nelson Wins Twice, Propels Cali Condors ahead of Energy Standard

isl-NELSON Beata CAC Cali Condors (CAC) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 7 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

by Dan D’Addona 

The International Swimming League (ISL) semifinals began from Eindhoven, Netherlands on Thursday. Energy Standard and the Cali Condors have the top two spots and are facing Team Iron and the DC Trident in the first of six semifinal matchups to see who makes the final.

The Cali Condors took the lead behind two victories from Beata Nelson.  Energy Standard was within striking distance, just 14 points behind heading into the second day.

Team Scores

  1. Cali Condors 287
  2. Energy Standard 270
  3. DC Trident 179
  4. Team Iron 166


Week That Was #3: ISL Playoff Match 2: Anastasia Gorbenko, Tom Shields Rally LA Current to Win

GORBENKO Anastasia LAC LA Current (LAC) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 8 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Anastasia Gorbenko; Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

by Matthew de George

Relays, as we saw in the first playoff match of the International Swimming League’s third season, can change matches. Skins races were designed by the league’s architects to do just that.

The L.A. Current knew that and used that on Sunday.

A big performance in the mixed medley relay put the Current in position to strike, and a breaststroke skins win by Anastasia Gorbenko consolidated by Tom Shields’ runner-up finish in the butterfly skins gave the Current a come-from-behind victory in ISL Playoff Match 2. They outlasted the London Roar, who faded down the stretch without their usual mid-distance and IM prowess.

There’s something positive to take for all four teams. The Current needed a win, knowing the schedule gets more difficult down the road. They also got a burst from the return of Ryan Murphy, who scored 58 points to win ISL Playoff Match 2 MVP ahead of London’s Emma McKeon and Toronto’s Summer McIntosh. The Toronto Titans have easier matches ahead and building blocks from this meet, despite being shorthanded on the men’s side. And the Aqua Centurions might face a long climb to make the Grand Final, but five wins down the stretch plus Matteo Rivolta’s skins victory are results to build on.

ISL Playoff Match 2 Final Standings

  1. LA Current 506
  2. London Roar 494.5
  3. Toronto Titans 398.5
  4. Aqua Centurions 357

Week That Was #4: Return of Ryan Murphy a Deciding Factor in L.A. Current’s ISL Playoff Victory


Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

by John Lohn

Coach David Marsh made all the right moves when it came to designing his lineup. An argument can be made, however, that the biggest factor in the L.A. Current’s victory in International Swimming League (ISL) playoff action was the return of Ryan Murphy.

After winning three medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, raising his career medal count to six, Murphy opted to bypass the ISL regular season. It was a decision Murphy was more than entitled to make, especially with the work he has logged to become one of the greatest backstrokers in history. And the Current compensated the best they could without Murphy.

But this much is true: A team with Ryan Murphy is significantly better than a team without him.

As the postseason opened in Eindhoven, Murphy swept the backstroke events and captured MVP honors for the match with 58 points. That type of output was necessary as the Current eked out a 506-494.5 triumph over the London Roar. In addition to his backstroke contributions, Murphy helped the 400 medley relay to a second-place finish and he twice scored in the 50 butterfly, an off event for the Team USA veteran.

Without Murphy, the outcome of the Current’s playoff match would have been markedly different. Simply, Los Angeles would not have won, or been in position to have Gorbenko and Shields put the team over the top.

Week that was #5: Alex Kostich Wins His 19th St. Croix’s Coral Reef Swim in 25th Anniversary

2015-coral-reef-swim (4)

Photo Courtesy: Steve Simonson

by Matthew de George

The 25th edition of the Coral Reef Swim off Mermaid Beach, St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands went to a familiar winner in Alex Kostich.

Kostich won the five-mile race from Buck Island to Mermaid Beach in a time of 1 hour, 47 minutes, 49 seconds. The 51-year-old from Los Angeles won the event 19 times in the 21 years he has entered, finishing second in 2008 and 2019. He last won the race in 2017, having not competed in 2018. (The 2020 race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Kostich first swam in the fourth iteration of the race in 1999. He set the event record of 1:36.12 in 2002.

Full results are available here.