International Swimming League to return in October

General view as competitors dive in the pool during the International Swimming League on 24 November 2019 in London (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
General view as competitors dive in the pool during the International Swimming League on 24 November 2019 in London (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The second instalment of the International Swimming League (ISL) will return next month

The dates have been set for the 2020 International Swimming League (ISL) after a successful inaugural season last year.

The season will launch in Hungary's capital Budapest on 16 October and will feature 10 teams with the Toronto Titans (Canada) and Tokyo Frog Kings (Japan) joining this year's fray.

The Tokyo Frog Kings will be led by four-time Olympic gold medallist KITAJIMA Kosuke and will feature the top swimmers from Japan including 200m and 400m individual medley World Champion SETO Daiya and Rio 2016 gold medallist HAGINO Kosuke.

Meanwhile, the Titans will feature backstroke specialist and Olympian Kylie Masse along with Kayla Sanchez, who led Energy Standard to the title last season.

The two new teams join the eight from last season: London Roar (UK), Cali Condors (USA), Iron (Hungary), Energy Standard (France), Aqua Centurions (Italy), DC Trident (USA), LA Current (USA) and NY Breakers (USA).

During the inaugural season, there were six qualifying events held across Europe and the United States before the Grand Final took place in Las Vegas in December. Energy Standard took the bragging rights in the first season, beating London Roar (second) and Cali Condors (third).

For the upcoming season, swimmers will be living, training and competing in Budapest with 10 qualifying races and semi-finals to be held between 16 October - 22 November.

The top eight teams will qualify for the semi-finals with the top four qualifying for the Grand Final.

At this stage, the ISL hopes that the Grand Final will take place in the Olympic host city of Tokyo prior to Christmas.

The events are set to be held behind closed doors.

As for the 320 swimmers from more than 80 countries competing, including the likes of Olympic champions Caeleb Dressel, Katinka Hosszu and Sarah Sjostrom, they are expected to undergo frequent COVID-19 testing.

When in Budapest, each team will also be designated their own training pool and swimmers will stay in single rooms at isolated hotels.

What athletes are saying

During the press conference for the official launch, Great Britain's Adam Peaty said: "Everyone's lives have changed this year due to COVID-19 and people have missed sport, so hopefully the ISL will be exciting for everyone to watch."

Meanwhile, in a video message, London Roar and reigning 100m freestyle Olympic champion Kyle Charmers couldn't wait to race again.

"To be given the opportunity to travel internationally and race against the best athletes in the world and be reunited with my team mates, it's going to be exciting," he said. "I'm counting down the days until I get over there and get stuck in again."

Across social media, swimmers set to compete also shared in the excitement of the official launch.