The Week That Was: Toronto Titans, London Roar Win ISL Matches; Dressel Held Out

Toronto Titans (TOR) Toronto Titans (TOR) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 5 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
The Toronto Titans won Match #5 of the ISL regular season -- Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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This week, the Toronto Titans and London Roar each won an ISL match to cement themselves as contenders to get to the ISL final scheduled for January, while superstar Caeleb Dressel made an appearance in the 200 IM but missed the second day of his match as he was feeling sick. Meanwhile, Ahmed Hafnaoui, the shocking winner of Olympic gold in the men’s 400 freestyle, committed to swim in the NCAA at Indiana University.

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

The Week That Was #1: Match #5 and Match #6 Complete at ISL in Naples

SCOTT Duncan LON NAKAMURA Katsumi LON London Roar (LON) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 6 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

London Roar’s Katsumi Nakamura, left, and Duncan Scott — Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia /Insidefoto/ISL

By Matthew De George and Dan D’Addona

It’s been a very long time since an International Swimming League match has proceeded without the Cali Condors on top. The ‘Dors were dominant in the 2020 bubble season, winning all four regular-season matches, taking the second semifinal and then the Grand Final in grand fashion.

But for the first time, the Condors look, if not vulnerable, at least in the same atmospheric strata and their fellow competitors. They entered the second day of ISL Match 6 trailing the London Roar and without Caeleb Dressel in the lineup, a chance to show their considerable if unheralded depth on the men’s side and to showcase an outstanding women’s contingent that is not to be overlooked. They endured a big mid-meet DQ to dent their comeback chances.

In the end, though, the depth of a surging London Roar proved to be too much, adding a layer of intrigue to an ISL 2021 season that no longer looks like a two-horse race between the Condors and Energy Standard. On the other end of the standings, Aqua Centurions moved its way into third place in the skins, covering a 28-point deficit heading into the final swims and leap-frogging the Tokyo Frog Kings.

During Match #5, the Toronto Titans won four relays and showed some impressive depth to lead throughout before Louise Hansson won butterfly skins to nail down the victory. Toronto upset the LA Current, a team that had challenged the reigning league champion Cali Condors in their previous match. Lisa BrattonKasia WasickShane Ryan, Fabien Schwingenschlogl and impressive 15-year-old Summer McIntosh were among the individual event winners for Toronto in the match.

#2: Olympic Gold Medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui Verbally Commits to Swim in NCAA at Indiana University

Jul 25, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Ahmed Hafnaoui (TUN) celebrates after winning the men's 400m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network

Ahmed Hafnaoui after winning Olympic gold in the men’s 400 freestyle — Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

By David Rieder

Six weeks after he won a shocking Olympic gold medal in the men’s 400 freestyle, Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui is taking his talents to college swimming. Hafnaoui, 18, hails from Tunis, and he will head to Bloomington in the fall of 2022 to compete for the Hoosiers.

Hafnaoui arrived in Tokyo, his first Olympics and first major international long course meet, as the 16th-seeded swimmer in the 400 free before dropping a few tenths from his best time to sneak into the final as the eighth seed. But in the final, Hafnaoui hung tough with Australia’s Jack McLoughlin, one the of the pre-meet favorites, and then stormed past him on the last 50 to claim gold. Hafnaoui crushed his lifetime best by more than two seconds and swam a 3:43.36, moving him into a tie for 14th-fastest all-time in the event.

Hafnaoui announced the news in an Instagram post. “I am happy to announce my commitment to Indiana University! I want to thank my family and coaches. I am very excited to swim in the NCAA! Go Hoosiers!” he said.

In addition to his 400 free skills, Hafnaoui ranks seventh in the world this year in the 800 free in 7:45.54, but he ended up finishing 10th in the event at the Olympics, swimming about four seconds off his best time following his emotional gold medal win. We will see how Hafnaoui’s skills can translate to the 25-yard pool, but his commitment is undoubtedly a huge get for Ray Looze and the Hoosiers.

Hafnaoui became just the second Tunisian man to win a medal or a gold medal in swimming following Ous Mellouli, who won gold in the 1500 free at the 2008 Olympics and then gold in the 10K and bronze in the 1500 free in 2012.

The Week That Was #3: Caeleb Dressel Held Out of Sunday ISL Action With Illness

DRESSEL Caeleb CAC Cali Condors (CAC) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 6 day 1 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Caeleb Dressel — Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

By Matthew De George

The Cali Condors were without Caeleb Dressel for Day 2 of the sixth International Swimming League (ISL) match of the 2021 season due to illness.

Dressel was not in the lineup for the Condors in its meet with the London Roar, Tokyo Frog Kings and Aqua Centurions. According to Rowdy Gaines on the ISL broadcast, the cause was an illness, though there was no indication if it was COVID-19 related or not.

Dressel had swum in the first day of the meet on Saturday. He won the men’s 100 butterfly and finished second in the 200 IM in a battle with Daiya Seto, Duncan Scott and Chase Kalisz. (Seto got the win by .02, both swimmers within four-tenths of the league record that Seto owns from 2019.)Dressel also anchored the men’s 400 free relay to fourth place for the Condors and swam fly as its men’s medley relay won.

Even without swimming on Sunday, Dressel finished tied for 16th in the Match 6 MVP standings, having scored 27.5 points. That was tied for sixth among men’s swimmers.

#4: Bill Wadley, Former Ohio State Swimming Coach, ASCA CEO, Succumbs to Pancreatic Cancer


Bill Wadley in 2010 — Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Dan D’Addona

Former Ohio State swimming coach and American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) CEO Bill Wadley has died, multiple sources have confirmed.

He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer earlier this year.

Bill Wadley had retired as head coach at Ohio State in March 2017 where he coached 16 Olympians, 30 Big Ten Champions, and was named 2010 Big Ten Coach of the Year.

“Our Ohio State swimming and diving family are grieving the loss of Coach Bill Wadley,” Ohio State director of swimming and diving Bill Dorenkott said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Gail, and his two sons, Brian and Michael. Coach Wadley left an indelible mark on all those who were fortunate enough to spend time on a pool deck with him. He was a coach, friend, peer and mentor to countless individuals who he inspired in his over four decades in the sport. Bill was so proud of being a Buckeye. He loved the university and his greatest joy was the young men he coached and the amazing things they have done after graduating from Ohio State. Last week, we were able to spend some time together reminiscing. His smile was wide as he recalled cherished memories. There is no doubt in my mind that his heart was full.”

Wadley previously served on the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Board of Directors and was the past president for ASCA.  He was named executive director of ASCA in October 2020, taking over for Steve Roush, who is now the project manager for the 65-year-old organization.  Roush was hired at ASCA in July 2019, succeeding John Leonard who had held the position for 35 years.

In the pool, 19 of Bill Wadley’s swimmers have been named All-Americans and 63 have earned honorable mention All-America status. In 2010, while hosting the Big Ten Championships, his team brought home the first conference title since 1956 and the 13th in program history. Under his tutelage, he had a swimmer compete at seven consecutive Summer Olympic Games.

The Week That Was #5: Texas Swimmer Carson Foster Signs NIL Deal with Mizuno Swim

Carson Foster Image 1

Carson Foster — Photo Courtesy: Mizuno Swim

By Matthew De George

University of Texas swimmer Carson Foster has signed with Mizuno Swim, the company announced on Thursday. He’s the first college swimmer added to Mizuno’s roster of athletes.

Foster is a sophomore at Texas. He won an NCAA title for the Longhorns in the 800 freestyle relay as a freshman and finished in the top six in three events – second in the 400 individual medley, fourth in the 200 IM, sixth in the 200 backstroke – in his first NCAAs.

Foster will don Mizuno gear in training and competition, including its GX Sonic tech suits. Mizuno said in a press release that it will work with Foster to get his insight in developing future products and services.

“I am excited to partner with Mizuno USA because they are a fast-rising company in the swimming world,” Foster said. “Their continuous product advancement and my personal experience gives me great confidence in their products.”

The native of Cincinnati, Ohio, came close to qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, finishing third at U.S. Olympic Trials in June in the 400 IM. He was eighth in the 200 freestyle, missing the top six relay spots by .18 seconds. But before the Olympics, the 19-year-old set a time of 4:08.46 at Sectionals in Austin that was the fastest in the world in 2020 and quicker than the time used by Chase Kalisz to win gold in Tokyo.