ISL Set to Expand to 10 Teams for 2020 Following Opening-season Success
ISL founder Grigorishin announces expansion plans after the success of the inaugural season of the first professional swimming league.
International Swimming League founder Konstantin Grigorishin has announced the league will be extended to at least 10 clubs next season which will compete in a total of 27 matches starting in September 2020.
The Ukrainian was speaking on the eve of the European derby at the London Aquatics Centre where the top two teams will qualify for the inaugural grand final in Las Vegas next month to conclude the opening season of the first professional swimming league.
Olympic champions Adam Peaty, Cate Campbell and Sarah Sjostrom are among the swimmers competing this weekend for Energy Standard, London Roar, Team Iron and Aqua Centurions.
Energy Standard and London Roar currently occupy the top two places going into the match following previous legs with the teams looking to join the LA Current and Cali Condors at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center on 20-21 December.
The competition is run on a points basis with swimmers competing in several races during the meet with last week’s American derby coming down to the final race.
It has proven so popular with swimmers and spectators alike that Grigorishin is already planning for its expansion.
He said: “I would like to extend the ISL season. This is the first step because seven matches is not enough and eight clubs is not enough. So next season we are planning to organise 27 matches for 10 clubs and the season will start in the middle of September and finish in the beginning of April."
“It is a much bigger competition but I think we need it because if you would like to have big exposure and want to be on the screens you have to compete more often."
“Maybe after that we will extend even more the number of clubs but I don’t think we have to have more than 12 clubs - at least for the next few years because we would dilute the competition a little in this case.”
Campbell, the double Olympic champion who races for London Roar, also praised the ISL which has the swimmers at the forefront of its drive for change.
She said: “I think it has shown the power of a united athlete front. Something to unite behind is really important."
“There had been a bit of talk among us athletes for a couple of years but we didn’t have a cause or direction to put that energy into."
“I think what the ISL has done for us has allowed us to come together as one and has given a focus to those energies."
“It’s a good thing for the sport: I don’t think any change comes from doing the same thing that you have done over and over and we live in a world that is constantly changing."
“Competition drives excellence and we are hoping that the competition between FINA and ISL will drive excellence in the sport and that is really what we are hoping for: for us as athletes but also for swimming fans all round the world and hopefully the growth of swimming in the future."
“This isn’t just about us and our futures, it’s about safeguarding the sport for future generations as well.”
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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