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Dressel makes immediate impact for Condors on ISL debut

by ZwemZa on October 13th, 2019

More swimming history was made on Saturday in Naples, Italy, when the 2nd International Swimming League match took place as the first in Europe. There was hardly an empty seat in the 4,500-capacity Piscina Felipe Scandone, and the enthusiastic crowd was rewarded with a pair of tight team battles on Day 1.

The addition of Caeleb Dressel to the Cali Condors (after missing the first match in Indianapolis) proved to be a major difference-maker as the Condors exit Day 1 with a 7.5-point advantage over Energy Standard.

“It’s been a blast,” said Dressel in an interview after the session concluded. “It’s my first ISL (match), I missed Indy, but this is absolutely fantastic.”

He raced four times during the two-hour, fast-paced session, and is prepared to do what’s necessary to give his club a chance to win.

“I don’t really care about my body right now, it’s just about getting points for the team,” he said when asked about putting his body on the line. “Whatever they need me to do, I want to be there.”

Dressel contributed a total of 22.5 points to Cali Condors’ effort, the most in the field, including a win in the men’s 50 freestyle over Energy Standard’s Florent Manaudou in what was the first head-to-head matchup between the two superstars in their careers. Manaudou was the winner in Indianapolis.

The two will battle once again in the skins event on Sunday, a three-round elimination 50 free, which could very well decide who wins the match. The skins event is worth triple points, and it was a major reason why Energy Standard won in such a blowout (82-point advantage) in Indianapolis (Manaudou won that race there as well).

Dressel, 23, also faced off with Energy Standard captain Chad Le Clos, the top male scorer in the first match, in the 100 butterfly, finishing the smallest possible margin behind him for second (0.01 seconds). Le Clos was the second-highest point-getter on the day with 22.

The two teams, the Condors and Energy Standard, are developing a strong team rivalry after one-and-a-half meets so far in season 1 of the ISL. Aided by a relay disqualification for Energy Standard, which cost them double-digit points, the Cali Condors hold a 7.5 point lead after Day 1 in Italy. After Day 1 in Indianapolis last weekend, with the same 4 teams competing, Energy Standard held a 20.5-point lead.

The Condors won a total of seven events on Day 1, highlighted by Lilly King keeping her undefeated streak alive in the league individually with a pair of victories in the women’s 50 and 200 breaststroke. King swept all three female breaststroke races in Indy.

The club held the lead throughout most of the match, with their advantage peaking at 18.5 points after King’s win in the 200. However, a win from Ilya Shymanovich in the men’s 200 breast and a strong 1-4 finish in the men’s 4×100 free relay brought Energy Standard’s deficit down to 7.5 points heading to Day 2.

Sarah Sjöström, the Energy Standard female captain who was the MVP (top point-scorer) at the first match, won the women’s 50 free for the second straight time, but was upset by Cali’s Kelsi Dahlia in the women’s 100 fly. That marks the first (and still only) loss for Sjöström so far in the series.

“The crowd is amazing here,” said Sjöström after the 50 free. “It’s always very cool to race in Italy because they don’t only like the Italian swimmers, they love all the stars here.” The crowd was a sell out.

Sjöström also swam a critical leg on Energy Standard’s women’s 4×100 free relay which managed to win for the second straight time, as she finished off the opening day with 20.5 points to lead all women.

The relays are crucial in the ISL format, as they’re worth double the points of an individual event. Energy Standard took advantage with 64 of their points coming from them on day 1.

The battle for third was just as exciting as the race for first, as the DC Trident and hometown Aqua Centurions went back and forth, exchanging third and fourth place throughout.

A surprise win from the Centurion men in the 4×100 medley relay kickstarted their charge past the Trident for third, but a strong finish, including a win in the men’s 50 backstroke from Jeremy Stravius, gave DC a lead of 11.5 points heading into Sunday.

Team Standings Through Day 1:

  1. Cali Condors, 237.5
  2. Energy Standard, 230.0
  3. DC Trident, 174.0
  4. Aqua Centurions, 162.5

Day 1 Winners:

  • Women’s 100 Butterfly – Kelsi Dahlia, Cali Condors – 55.91

  • Men’s 100 Butterfly – Chad Le Clos, Energy Standard – 49.35

  • Women’s 50 Breaststroke – Lilly King, Cali Condors – 29.12

  • Men’s 50 Breaststroke – Nicolo Martinenghi, Aqua Centurions – 25.98

  • Women’s 400 Individual Medley – Melanie Margalis, Cali Condors – 4:24.95

  • Men’s 400 Individual Medley – Jay Litherland, DC Trident – 4:06.35

  • Women’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay – Energy Standard (Oleksiak, Sjostrom, Sanchez, Heemskerk) – 3:28.77

  • Men’s 200 Backstroke – Evgeny Rylov, Energy Standard – 1:49.24

  • Women’s 200 Backstroke – Kylie Masse, Cali Condors – 2:01.90

  • Men’s 50 Freestyle – Caeleb Dressel, Cali Condors – 20.64

  • Women’s 50 Freestyle – Sarah Sjöström, Energy Standard – 23.63

  • Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay – Aqua Centurions (Sabbioni, Martinenghi, Rivolta, Miressi) – 3:24.13

  • Women’s 200 Freestyle – Siobhan Haughey, DC Trident – 1:52.01

  • Men’s 200 Freestyle – Breno Correia, Aqua Centurions – 1:43.56

  • Women’s 50 Backstroke – Olivia Smoliga, Cali Condors – 26.26

  • Men’s 50 Backstroke – Jeremy Stravius, DC Trident – 23.13

  • Women’s 200 Breaststroke – Lilly King, Cali Condors – 2:19.48

  • Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Ilya Shymanovich, Energy Standard – 2:04.60

  • Men’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay – Energy Standard (Shevtsov, Manaudou, Bilis, Le Clos) – 3:07.58

About the ISL: The International Swimming League is a global professional swimming competition launching in 2019 with teams in both Europe (Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron, and London Roar) and the United States (Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current, NY Breakers). The inaugural season will include matches in Indianapolis IN, Naples ITA, Lewisville TX, Budapest HUN, College Park MD, London GBR, and the championship finale at the 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The ISL aims to create groundbreaking projects, in both form and content, exploring the full potential of competitive swimming while securing sustainable commercial growth in the sport.

Key Dates:

5-6 October 2019 – IU Natatorium, Indianapolis, USA

12-13 October 2019 – Aquatic Swimming Complex, Naples, Italy

19-20 October 2019 – The LISD Westside Aquatic Center, Lewisville, Texas, USA

26-27 October 2019 – Duna Area, Budapest, Hungary

16-17 November 2019 – Natatorium at the Eppley Recreation Center, Maryland, USA

23-24 November 2019 – London Aquatic Centre, Great Britain

20-21 December 2019 – Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, USA


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