The Week That Was: ISL Announces Bubble Schedule & International Broadcast Deal

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The International Swimming League finalized its schedule for the bubble, which begins this coming weekend in Budapest as the swimmers have descended on Margaret Island for the second season of the league. The league has also finalized its broadcast deal with BeIN Sports, which will bring the league to many European and north African audiences.

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

The Week That Was #1: ISL Sets Bubble Schedule, Announces International Broadcast Deal

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross & Liz Byrnes

The International Swimming League unveiled its schedule for the upcoming season in Budapest which will get underway October 16. There will be ten teams participating this year, up from eight in the inaugural season in 2019. Energy Standard is the defending champion after taking the inaugural title in Vegas last year over the London Roar, Cali Condors and LA Current.

The match series represents the qualifiers for the semi-finals set to happen in Budapest from November 19th, 2020.

  • October 16 – 17: Energy StandardCali CondorsNew York BreakersLA Current
  • October 18 – 19: London RoarDC TridentAqua CenturionsTeam Iron
  • October 24 – 25: Aqua Centurions, Tokyo Frog Kings, LA Current, Toronto Titans
  • October 26 – 27: DC Trident, Team Iron, Cali Condors, New York Breakers
  • October 31 – 1: London Roar, DC Trident, LA Current, Tokyo Frog Kings
  • November 2 – 3: Energy Standard, Aqua Centurions, New York Breakers, Toronto Titans
  • November 7 – 8: London Roar, Tokyo Frog Kings, Cali Condors, New York Breakers
  • November 9 – 10: Energy Standard, DC Trident, Toronto Titans, Team Iron
  • November 14 – 15: Energy Standard, Team Iron, Tokyo Frog Kings, Toronto Titans
  • November 14 – 15: London Roar, Cali Condors, LA Current, Aqua Centurions
  • November 19 – 20: TBD

The League has announced a rights deal with beIN SPORTS to broadcast the upcoming 2020 season across France, Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Pacific.

The second season of the ISL is to be held in Budapest, Hungary, starting on 16 October and lasting five weeks, culminating in the semi-finals. The location and date for the final has yet to be announced although Tokyo has been mooted as a possible venue in late December.

It was announced last month that CBS Sports will showcase the league’s events across CBS Sports platforms to the American audience with beIN Sports now broadening access to fans which, as well as Turkey and France, includes 24 countries in the Middle East and North Africa and 10 countries in Asia Pacific.

#2: Greensboro to Replace Iowa as 2021 Men’s NCAA Host

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Greensboro. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Swimming World Editorial Team

The 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be hosted by the Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina, a source tells Swimming World.

The decision is subject to approval by the NCAA’s Championship committee.

The championships had been slated to take place in Iowa City, Iowa, at the University of Iowa Natatorium, which had hosted the 2015 NCAA men’s championships and the 2020 Big Ten women’s champs. But with Iowa’s decision to cut the swimming programs in August, a campaign to strip the school of hosting duties was successful.

The Greensboro Aquatic Center will host the women’s championships from March 17-20. The men’s meet would follow March 24-27. All of that, of course, is subject to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the cancellation of last year’s swimming championships as well as the spring and fall NCAA championships.

The Week That Was #3: USA Swimming Announces Nine Regional Sites For US Open

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross

Following its early fall announcement of a multi-site Toyota US Open event, USA Swimming today confirmed the nine selected host sites for the event from November 12-14, 2020. The targeted goal is for athletes to compete across the country in Beaverton, Ore.; Des Moines, Iowa; Greensboro, N.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Irvine, Calif.; Richmond, Va.; San Antonio, Texas; and Sarasota, Fla.

While the tentpole fall event has traditionally featured 700-800 athletes in one location, the multi-site Toyota US Open, which will consist of four-timed finals sessions and both a women’s and men’s flight per session, will allow for more than 1,800 athletes to compete asynchronously from coast to coast. All local, state and federal health guidelines will be strictly adhered to at each competition site and entry limits will reflect these local restrictions. Results from each site will be combined by USA Swimming and published in a comprehensive results report.

  • Beaverton, Oregon – Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center
  • Des Moines, Iowa – Wellmark YMCA-The YMCA of Greater Des Moines
  • Greensboro, North Carolina – Greensboro Aquatic Center
  • Huntsville, Alabama – Huntsville Aquatics Center
  • Indianapolis, Indiana – Indiana University Natatorium *pending approval from Indiana University
  • Irvine, California – William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center
  • Richmond, Virginia – SwimRVA
  • San Antonio, Texas – North East ISD Blossom Athletic Complex
  • Sarasota, Florida – Selby Aquatic Center

#4: NESCAC Cancels Winter Sports Season

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Photo Courtesy: Brian Beard/Creative Image Photography

By Matthew De George

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Thursday announced a unanimous decision by its school presidents to cancel the conference’s winter athletics season and championships.

The decision affects sports like swimming and diving as well as men’s and women’s basketball. It delayed a decision on the fate of spring sports. It follows the model of NESCAC’s actions in July, when it postponed the fall season but deferred a decision on the winter. The statement does, however, leave open the door for some competition outside of the conference at the discretion of individual schools.

Citing students’ delayed returns to campus for the spring semester due to caution over the COVID-19 pandemic and limits on travel and campus visitors already in place due to coronavirus, the presidents decided that it would be too onerous to conduct a sports season. With conference competition in the NESCAC usually attached to students’ return from winter break, the presidents determined that “there will not be enough time to conduct meaningful conference play.”

The Week That Was #5: Physical Tests Won’t Be Part of Chinese Olympic Qualification

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Matthew De George

September’s Chinese National Swimming Championships in Qingdao included an unexpected and controversial wrinkle, with non-swimming physical fitness tests added as part of qualification for finals. But a Chinese official has gone on record saying such tests won’t factor into qualification for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Li Jianming, the deputy director of the General Administration of Sport of China, told the media Saturday that the tests won’t affect who goes to the Olympics.

“This is not a fundamental change to the competition rules of the event, nor will it affect the selection of high-level athletes for the Olympic Games and international competitions,” Li said, according to the South China Morning Post.

Swimmers with times worthy of finals in certain events were denied spots at the National Swimming Championships. Among the aggrieved were Wang Jianjiahe, who set an Asian record in the women’s 1,500 freestyle (15:45.59), and Yu Hexin, who set a national record in the men’s 50 free (21.79). The SCMP also cites Ye Shiwen and Fu Yuanhui as also excluded from finals, apparently by poor fitness-test results, as well as Xu Jiayu in the 200 backstroke.

The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

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