New Pro Swim League Makes Debut Saturday In Indianapolis; SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Will Compete For Team Iron Next Week In Italy

By Sharon Robb

INDIANAPOLIS, October 4, 2019—The new International Swimming League kicks off on Saturday with some of the biggest names in swimming competing for cash prizes at IU Natatorium.

The league features eight teams with four of them competing on Saturday and Sunday, the first of six meets in the U.S. and Europe culminating with a splashy season finale in Las Vegas.

Americans Lilly King, Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel and Natalie Coughlin along with world record holder Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, Chad le Clos of South Africa, Ariarne Titmus of Australia, Federica Pellegrini of Italy and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary will compete this weekend.

King will compete for the Cali Condors, one of four American-based clubs in the league. She will be joined by Dressel, Kylie Masse and Olivia Smoliga.

The three other American clubs are DC Trident, LA Current and NY Breakers. The international teams are Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron and London Roar.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Condors will compete against DC Trident, Energy Standard and Italy-based Aqua Centurions.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson, 30, a four-time Jamaican Olympian, will compete in the league for Team Iron, led by Iron Woman Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, who owns the team. Atkinson is one of more than 100 Olympians on the eight teams including 41 gold medals from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I’m very excited to be part of this huge movement,” Hosszu said. “I know that we are going to change a lot of things in the sport of swimming. For me, it’s more like a double excitement because I’m an owner of Team Iron and a swimmer in Team Iron, so I see how both sides and how everything unfolds.”

At 37, Natalie Coughlin will compete in her first meet since the 2016 Olympic Trials. She was 12 Olympic medals that equals the most ever by a female swimmer.

There will be no heats. The events will be held over two hours in a 25-meter pool featuring four swimmers per final.

Swimmers will race for team points, with relays worth double. Skins sprints feature three heats, with eight swimmers reduced to four and then a head-to-head of the fastest two. Points earned in skins are worth triple.

The top four finishers in each race are eligible for prize money beyond what they receive from team revenue. The ISL has committed to a 50-50 split of revenue with the teams and swimmers, who receive base salaries as well.

Other ISL stops are in Italy, Texas, Hungary, Washington, D.C., and London. The top two teams from the U.S. and Europe after the six regular-season meets advance to the finals on Dec. 20-21.

Two aspects the ISL has implemented outside of the pool is a zero tolerance stance on doping (any athlete with a positive test is not allowed to compete) and equal pay between men and women.

Also, every ISL competitor will have access to financial benefits, including substantial prize money, personal insurance and pension plans. Each of them have signed two contracts – one with their team and another with the league – with central revenues, generated through sales of sponsorship, media rights and merchandise, distributed equitably.

Each team will pay its swimmers from a total salary budget of $150,000, with additional cash bonuses offered based on performance.

Ukrainian Konstantin Grigorishin, the ISL’s founder and financier, talks about bringing a “paradigm shift” in swimming, a sport he believes has huge untapped commercial potential but which has suffered from inertia on the part of Fina, which controls the amateur sport.

ESPN will provide live and delayed streaminh of the ISL on ESPN3, which can be accessed through the ESPN app. It will also be shown on CBC Sports for Canadian viewers.

ISL Schedule:

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

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Boys Rule The Pool; Atkinson Tunes Up For ISL Debut At SOFLO Distance IMX/IMR TYR Challenge

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, September 28, 2019—The South Florida Aquatic Club boys stole the show Saturday on the second day of the SOFLO Distance IMX/IMR TYR Challenge at Academic Village Pool.

Lance Lesage, Juan Vallmitjana, Juan Pablo Pineda and Rafael Rodriguez won their individual events.

Lesage, 16, won the 200-yard backstroke in 1:54.22. Lesage was one of five swimmers in the top six.

Vallmitjana , 10, won the 200-yard freestyle in a best time 2:14.43 with a drop of 4.86 seconds.

Pineda, 17, won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:12.45.

Rodriguez, 17, won his second event of the meet in the 400-yard individual medley in 4:09.92.

SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian and short course world record holder Alia Atkinson, 30, competed in the 200-yard breaststroke as a tuneup race for her pro debut in a new swimming league. Atkinson won in 2:20.44.

The International Swimming League will open its inaugural season in October. The opener is Oct. 5-6 in Indianapolis. The league will take place in seven cities across the U.S. and Europe and culminate December 20-21 at a custom-built pool in the heart of Las Vegas.

Other dates and sites are Oct. 12-13 in Naples Italy, Oct.19-20 in Lewisville, Tex., Oct. 26-27 in Budapest, Hungary, Nov. 16-17 in College Park, Md. and Nov. 23-24 in London.

The league is attempting to make the sport more exciting and lucrative for swimmers.

Atkinson will swim for Team Iron along with Katinka Hosszu, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Kira Toussaint, Vlad Morozov, Kristof Milak and Gunnar Bentz.

The three-day SOFLO meet concludes Sunday at 9 a.m.

In addition to host SOFLO, other teams competing are City of Miami Parks, Hialeah Swim CLub, Midtown Weston, Pompano Beach Piranhas, St. Andrew’s and Shelton Doral.

Over three days, swimmers are getting the opportunity to get a chance to see how they stack up against the rest of the nation’s age group swimmers.

Up-and-coming swimmers will compete in the IMR (Ready) Challenge. All sessions are timed finals.

The USA Swimming-sanctioned meet is a fun, motivational meet to help young swimmers reach the next level in their swimming careers.

The IMR Challenge allows swimmers to see how they compare to other swimmers around the nation in their age group. Swimmers must compete in all the events required for their age group to establish a score.

Once a swimmer competes in each IM Ready event at least once in an official meet, swimmers and parents can check their rankings on USA Swimming’s website.

The IMX (Xtreme) Challenge is the next step-up from the IMR competition. It includes a series of five or six events. Once swimmers complete the IMX program they can also see where their score ranks nationally, among their local LSC and own swim club.


100-yard individual medley:
10-and-under, 1. Ava Wolfe, MWA 1:16.44; SOFLO: 4. Sofia Gomez 1:23.98, time drop, 6. Shelby Evans 1:25.26, time drop, 7. Mackenzie McPherson 1:25.96, 8. Amanda Grubbs 1:26.87, time drop.

200-yard individual medley:
12-and-under, 1. Lillia Blanco, PB 2:18.98; SOFLO: 2. Fiorella Di Salvo 2:25.51, time drop, 4. Mariana Pinto 2:27.17, 5. Izzy Wilson 2:28.08.

200-yard backstroke:
13-and-over, 1. Ella Martinez, SAS 2:05.44; SOFLO: 2. Mallory Schleicher 2:09.97, 3. Elena Dinehart 2:10.08, 5. Molly Golding 2:14.86, 6. Olivia Dinehart 2:15.31.

100-yard freestyle:
10-and-under, 1. Dylan Kanell, SAS 1:04.25; SOFLO: 4. Sofia Gomez 1:12.29, time drop, 7. Mikhel Martin 1:13.48, time drop, 8. Mackenzie McPherson 1:13.77, time drop, 10. Olivia Wilson 1:16.43, time drop.

200-yard freestyle:
10-and-under, 1. Ava Wolfe, MWA 2:22.10; SOFLO: 3. AlessandraGendarmi 2:29.06, time drop, 5. Sofia Gomez 2:36.10, 7. Jemma Baldwin 2:39.10, 8. Mackenzie McPherson 2:43.87, 9. Saree Young 2:44.93, 10. Olivia Wilson 2:46.00, time drop.

200-yard breaststroke:
13-and-over, 1. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 2:20.44; SOFLO: 2. Olivia Dinehart 2:24.66, 3. Molly Golding 2:26.81, 6. Sophia Grubbs 2:34.54, 7. Mallory Schleicher 2:34.62, 8. Sara QWuintero 2:36.49, 10. Sally Golding 2:41.95.

500-yard freestyle:
11-12, 1. Lillia Blanco, PB 5:20.30; SOFLO: 2. Izzy Wilson 5:30.92, 3. Mariana Pinto 5:32.20, 6. Fiorella Di Salvo 5:47.83, 8. Sarah Vasquez 5:52.72.

400-yard individual medley:
13-and-over, 1. Ella Martinez, SAS 4:27.54; SOFLO: 3. Mallory Schleicher 4:35.19, 4. Olivia Dinehart 4:38.46, 5. Molly Golding 4:42.71, 6. Elena Dinehart 4:43.11, 7. Maddie Smutny 4:44.84, 8. Sara Quintero 4:44.97, 9. Sarah Acevedi 4:46.24.


100-yard individual medley:
10-and-under, 1. Caleb Caponera, SAS 1:13.74; SOFLO: 3. Ryan Harries 1:16.32, time drop, 4. Alex Viazmetinov 1:16.48, 7. Eugene Oh 1:25.87, 8. Martin Petkov 1:26.82, 10. Logan McPeek 1:28.26, time drop.

200-yard individual medley:
12-and-under, 1. Carlos Viada-Coroba, CM 2:19.67; SOFLO: 2. Kevin Moya 2:21.47, time drop, 3. Ethan McPeek 2:23.69, time drop, 6. Derek Hau 2:27.17, time drop, 10. Felix Gonzalez 2:29.18.

200-yard backstroke:
13-and-over, 1. Lance Lesage, SOFLO 1:54.22; SOFLO: 2. Dominic Bono 1:56.13, 3. Rafael Rodriguez 1:57.49, 4. Philopatier Ibrahim 1:59.12, time drop, 6. Juan Colmenares 2:01.58, 8. Miguel Sierra 2:03.92, 10. Alejandro Mateus 2:05.52, time drop.

100-yard freestyle:
10-and-under, 1. Bruno Sinchi, CM 1:05.12; SOFLO: 2. Alex Viazmetinov 1:06.56, 5. Ryan Harries 1:10.90, time drop, 9. Ethan Hall 1:19.64, 10. Logan McPeek 1:20.07, time drop.

200-yard freestyle:
10-and-under, 1. Juan Vallmitjana, SOFLO 2:14.43, time drop; SOFLO: 3. Connor Jimenez 2:21.87, time drop, 6. Ryan Harries 2:33.88, time drop, 9. Dylan McVeigh 2:50.77, 10. Aryav Thakur 2:51.25, time drop.

200-yard breaststroke:
13-and-over, 1. Juan Pablo Pineda, SOFLO 2:12.45; SOFLO: 2. Rafael Rodriguez 2:14.01, time drop, 3. John Paul Handal 2:18.59, 4. Dominic Bono 2:20.81, time drop, 5. Juan Colmenares 2:20.94, time drop, 7. Leonardo Mateus 2:23.10, time drop, 8. Christopher Hau 2:23.20, time drop, 10. Logan Gonzalez 2:25.92.

500-yard freestyle:
11-12, 1. Carlos Viada-Coroba, CM 5:28.05; SOFLO: 2. Kevin Moya 5:29.27, 4. Ethan McPeek 5:37.40, 5. Felix Gonzalez 5:42.71, time drop, 7. Derek Hau 5:48.63, time drop.

400-yard individual medley:
13-and-over, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 4:09.92; SOFLO: 2. Dominic Bono 4:15.86, 3. Philopatier Ibrahim 4:17.42, 4. John Paul Handal 4:17.98, 5. Leonardo Mateus 4:23.35, 6. Juan Pablo Pineda 4:23.36, 10. Miguel Sierra 4:28.11, time drop.


What: SOFLO Distance IMX/IMR TYR Challenge

When: Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.

Where: Academic Village Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines

Admission: $5 per session. Heat sheets are free and available on Meet Mobile or For information call 954-538-3721.

Sharon Robb can be reached at