International Swimming League Begins Second Season Friday; SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Leads London Roar

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, October 15, 2020—Despite increased COVID-19 concerns across Europe, the International Swimming League gets under way this weekend.

The five-week season begins Friday in Budapest, Hungary with the league finale set for Nov. 21-22.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 31, one of the oldest swimmers in the pro league, makes her debut with her new team, the London Roar, on Sunday.

On Friday, 10-a.m.-noon and Saturday 2-4 p.m. EST, reigning champion Energy Standard, Cali Condors, LA Current and NY Breakers open the season. On Sunday, 12-2 p.m. and 10 a.m.-noon EST on Monday, Atkinson and her London Roar, DC Trident, Aqua Centurions and Iron begin their title run.

The ISL is taking all COVID-19 safety precautions according to league officials.

ISL officials said a comprehensive medical protocol allowed its swimmers to enter the country.

ISL technical director Apostolos Tsagkarakis said everyone travelling to Budapest underwent two COVID-19 tests prior to departure and another on arrival.

More tests were 48 hours before training could start. There are tests every five days.

Swimmers are staying in single rooms exclusively reserved for them on Margaret Island which houses the ISL Village at Ensana Thermal Hotel on the Danube. It is much like the same bubble format used for the NBA and WNBA seasons in a “bio-secure” environment. Atkinson arrived earlier this week.

The London Roar was runners-up without Atkinson in the inagural season. Atkinson joined London Roar as a free agent. Brit Adam Peaty leads the men’s lineup. The Roar lost its talented Australian swimmers because of COVID-19.

The ISL meets will be broadcast in more than 140 countries by some major networks. The 13-meet season will air on CBS in the U.S. The BBC and Eurosports are carrying it in Europe and CBC in Canada. The Caribbean islands can view Atkinson on ESPN.

The regular season ends on Nov. 10, with the two-meet semifinal on Nov.14-15 and Nov. 15-16, followed by the final a week later.

The 320-swimmer, 10-team professional league, sponsored by Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Grigorishin, is funding its contracted salaried athletes with additional monthly payments of $1,500 from September through the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Olympics.

The league format differs from other swimming events and takes some getting accustomed to.

Ten teams with four competing in each meet. Each team will have two athletes per event and two squads per relay event.

Each team has 32 swimmers on their roster, 16 men and 16 women, and 28 will compete in each meet.

There will be 32 individual races, five relay events and two skins events.

Each athlete scores points according to their ranking with the winner getting nine points, the runner-up seven points and the third six in descending order with the eighth-placed swimmer taking home one point.

The 2020 schedule:

Oct. 16, 17: Energy Standard, Cali Condors, New York Breakers, LA Current.

Oct. 18, 19: London Roar, DC Trident, Aqua Centurions, Team Iron.

Oct. 24, 25: Aqua Centurions, Tokyo Frog Kings, LA Current, Toronto Titans.

Oct. 26, 27: DC Trident, Team Iron, Cali Condors, New York Breakers.

Oct. 30, 31: London Roar, DC Trident, LA Current, Tokyo Frog Kings.

Nov. 1, 2: Energy Standard, Aqua Centurions, New York Breakers, Toronto Titans.

Nov. 5, 6: London Roar, Tokyo Frog Kings, Cali Condors, New York Breakers.

Nov. 5, 6: Energy Standard, DC Trident, Toronto Titans, Team Iron.

Nov. 9, 0: Energy Standard, Team Iron, Tokyo Frog Kings, Toronto Titans.

Nov. 9, 10: London Roar, Cali Condors, LA Current, Aqua Centurions.

Nov. 14, 15: Semi-Finals.

Nov. 15, 16: Semi-Finals.

Nov. 21, 22: Grand Final.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Author: South Florida Aquatic Club - SOFLO Swimming

Welcome to the South Florida Aquatic club, a premier community swim team dedicated to providing opportunity and encouragement to all team members, from the beginner to the seasoned Olympic athlete in their pursuit of excellence. The year-round development program for competitive swimming features life-enhancing qualities including integrity, discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship and health and fitness. We invite you to navigate the club’s portal for information about the team.

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