International Swimming League: Season two to be mainly held in Budapest

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Energy Standard celebrate winning the International Swimming League
French-based team Energy Standard won the inaugural International Swimming League

Season two of the International Swimming League (ISL) will be held predominantly in Budapest with athletes forming training 'bubbles' and organisers promising regular Covid-19 testing.

Ten qualifying races will take place between 16 October and 15 November, before the top eight take part in the semi-finals 19-22 November.

The top four will qualify for a Grand Final which the ISL hopes will be staged in Tokyo, Japan, just before Christmas.

"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," said Britain's Adam Peaty.

Olympic champion Peaty will lead London Roar with fellow GB Olympic medallists Siobhan-Marie O'Connor and Duncan Scott also part of the line-up, with 22 Britons currently signed up for the 10 ISL franchise teams this year.

Caeleb Dressel (Cali Condors), Katinka Hosszu (Iron), Sarah Sjostrom (Energy Standard) and Chad Le Clos (Energy Standard) are among the leading international names who have signed up for the event, which will include around 320 of the world's best swimmers.

It will be sport's first major event since the cancelation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics because of coronavirus.

Organisers say events will be held behind closed doors to reduce the potential risks associated with large gatherings.

Athletes are expected to have two Covid-19 tests before departing from their country of origin and will then be tested upon arrival in Hungary and again within 48 hours.

Assuming all results are negative, swimmers will then be cleared to begin training, with each franchise forming a 'bubble' and allocated their own training pool to reduce social interaction between teams.

The ISL was launched by billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin following a legal battle with the sport's governing body Fina, which was concerned the move would see private companies and individuals potentially profit from the sport while reducing interest in its own competitions.

However, after a host of leading swimmers threatened to boycott Fina events in protest, the governing body reluctantly withdrew its objection and the first ISL meet took place in October 2019.

During the debut season eight teams (franchises) competed in six qualifying events across Europe and the United States before the Grand Final - won by Energy Standard - took place in Las Vegas in December.

The second season will see teams from Japan (Tokyo Frog Kings) and Canada (Toronto Titans) join the previous line-up with all athletes set to be paid a minimum of £11,500 for taking part in the event.

Full ISL team line-up inc. GB swimmers for 2020:

Aqua Centurions (Italy)

Cali Condors (USA)

DC Trident (USA)

Energy Standard (France) - Ben Proud, Georgia Davies, Max Litchfield, and Imogen Clark

Iron (Hungary)

LA Current (USA)

London Roar (UK) - Adam Peaty, Siobhan-Marie O'Connor, Duncan Scott, Holly Hibbott, James Guy, Freya Anderson, Tom Dean, Luke Greenbank, Anna Hopkin, Aimee Willmott.

NY Breakers (USA) - Sarah Vasey, Abbie Wood, Joe Litchfield, Matt Richards, James Wilby.

Tokyo Frog Kings (Japan)

Toronto Titans (Canada) - Jocelyn Ulyett, Jay Lelliott, Ross Murdoch.

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