Dressel Favored For MVP: After his dominant showing in Naples, Caeleb Dressel comes in
as the overwhelming favorite to secure a second MVP title in College Park.
The Cali Condor captain has the highest single match point total so far this season at 57.5,
and is the only athlete from a US-based club who has won MVP, which is awarded to the
top scorer at every match (man or woman). The 23-year-old is a threat across the sprint
freestyle and butterfly events, will race a ton of relays, and after what we saw in Italy, will be
very tough to beat in the men’s skins (the 8-4-2 three-race eliminator).
Coming in, the biggest potential threat to Dressel in the MVP race is his co-captain Olivia
Smoliga, the only woman from an American club who has topped 40 points in a single
match so far. The backstroke specialist had 44 in both Indianapolis and Naples, and with a
relatively weaker field in the women’s skins in College Park, she may be able to bridge the
gap to Dressel for the title.
With the ability to win up to five individual events, including the triple-point skins, Dressel is
the man to beat as he’ll look to become the first athlete in the ISL to win multiple MVP
â— State Rivals Condors, Current Collide: Even before the ISL season began, there was an
instant rivalry between the Cali Condors and LA Current as in-state California rivals. And
now that they’ve established themselves as the top two US-based clubs in the league, they
finally get a chance to meet in College Park.
The Current arguably have the best male roster in the entire ISL, but the Condors have one
of the best women’s teams. LA is loaded with depth, but Cali has the star power. So, what
will make the difference?
The impact of the new additions will be key – Chase Kalisz and Leah Smith enter for the
Current, while Tate Jackson should prove to be a valuable commodity in the sprints for the
Condors. Besides that, it’s likely going to come down to relay performances, and which of
each team’s weaker sides (LA women, Cali men) can step up and perform.
The California rivals will finally collide in College Park, as the star-studded Condors meet the
depth-heavy Current in one of the most anticipated matchups of the season.
â— Adrian, Shields Present Challenges To Dressel: While Caeleb Dressel may have no trouble winning MVP, that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to win all of his individual events. LA’s Tom Shields was dynamite in the 100 fly in his first two matches, winning both times, including a 49.39 in Budapest that is just 0.03 seconds shy of Dressel’s time in Naples. That was the only race Dressel didn’t win there, falling to Energy Standard’s Chad Le Clos by 0.01, and it could be his biggest challenge once again. In the sprint freestyle events, Dressel’s top competitor will likely be Shields’ teammate Nathan Adrian. Though Adrian didn’t win any individual events in his first two matches, he was consistently fast, and seemed to get better as things moved along. Dressel and Adrian have raced numerous times in the US, and will do so once again here in Maryland. Tom Shields and Nathan Adrian are the two athletes with the best chance to prevent Caeleb Dressel from running the table. â— King, Larson Set To Face Off In Women’s Breaststroke: Lilly King ran through her first two ISL matches with the Cali Condors, going a perfect six-for-six individually across the women’s breaststroke events. However, the two-time Olympic gold medalist will face her toughest test yet this weekend in College Park, as she’ll face the NY Breakers’ Breeja Larson. Larson, a 2012 Olympian who took some time off from the sport in 2018, was a force for the Breakers in their first two matches, including a victory over world record holder Alia Atkinson in the 100 breast in Dallas. Her time of 1:03.80 is the fastest we’ve seen in the ISL so far, with King’s best sitting at 1:04.21. King’s Condor teammates Molly Hannis and Kelsey Wog, Larson’s Breaker teammate Emily Escobedo, and Annie Lazor of the LA Current, will also add some spice to the women’s breast events in College Park that should be the most exciting we’ve seen so far. With so many different threats across the three distances, Lilly King will have to be on her A-game if she wants to keep her undefeated streak intact. 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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