Daiya Seto and Caeleb Dressel both wrote new entries in the history books as the first day of the grand finale of the International Swimming League finished with the top three teams separated by 17 points as Energy Standard led the way at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas.
Seto marked his first ISL appearance for Energy Standard by unleashing a thunderous time of 3mins 54.81secs in the 400m individual medley to cut 0.69secs from the previous record set by Ryan Lochte at the World Short-Course Championships in 2010.
Dressel then set his first short-course world record when he stopped the clock at 20.24 in the 50m freestyle on an afternoon when he also won the 100m butterfly and took second with Cali Condors in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay in the final race of the day.
Energy Standard lead with 219 points ahead of Cali Condors (205.5pts), London Roar (202) and LA Current (185.5) while Dressel tops the match MVP rankings on 52pts from Fink (41) and Sarah Sjostrom (37).
It means the race for Season MVP – which is worth USD 50,000 – could well come down to the final race of the entire championship with Sjostrom’s lead 17.5pts over Dressel.
Seto finished five seconds of London Roar’s Duncan Scott, who became the first British man to crack four minutes in 3:59.81.
He also stopped the flight of the Cali Condors after the team captained by Dressel had won the first five races.
Speaking through a translator, Seto said: “I was not surprised by the time, I was going for it.”
The 25-year-old, who won bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, only arrived in Las Vegas two days ago and had contended with jet lag and a headache but it clearly affected him not at all. “It worked out,” he grinned. “I just did my best.”
Seto, who will be in the spotlight at a home Games next July, had drawn confidence from his recent form coming into Las Vegas, including a performance at the Japanese Championships which propelled him to second-fastest in history behind Lochte.
Now the speediest ever, Seto explained: “I have been training really hard towards the Tokyo Olympics so I was just very confident. In my recent meets I have been beating all my personal bests so I was quite confident.”
He described his first ISL experience as “very, very fun” adding: “I think it has to do with the fact you are in a team and even when you are struggling and you feel you are not doing well, you can hear the encouragement by the other team members and it helps you to push forward.”
Dressel dived off the blocks in the 50m in the first of two races in the space of seven minutes but he rose ahead and touched in 20.24, 0.02secs inside the previous record set by 2012 Olympic champion Florent Manaudou in 2014.
Dressel and Manaudou were in adjoining lanes and there was a hug from the Frenchman although the American’s coach Gregg Troy showed little emotion on poolside.
Manaudou of Energy Standard was second in 20.69 while Kyle Chalmers, the Olympic 100m freestyle champion, set a new Australian record of 20.74 in third.
Dressel will be hot favourite to win the skins, which are back-to-back, eliminator 50m freestyle races which culminate in two swimmers in a head-to-head final worth up to triple points, having won in both his outings in Naples, Italy, and College Park, Maryland.
Should he do so, the Florida Gator could well overhaul Sjostrom to take the Season MVP award.
Lily King saw off all challengers to win the 50m and 200m breaststroke with the double Olympic champion now 11 victories in 11 races with just the 100m left with United States team-mate Nic Fink completing the men’s double, beating long-course world record-holder Adam Peaty in the two-lap dash on the way.
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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.
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