October 5th, 2019.
Yesterday will go down in the swimming history books: the debut of the International Swimming League (ISL), the first professional swim league.
The quad meet is 2 days (Saturday & Sunday) for 2 hours each session. It was a little like watching a college dual meet, as it is a lot of events in a little bit amount of time.
If you want to read all the ISL technical rules, click here.
If you want to look at results (both POINTS and TIMES) from yesterday, click here.
The weirdest thing about the broadcast was the absence of times...
Seems as thought the ISL is really focusing on points and not on times -- they aren't even showing times. Sort of like British Swimming on Twitter.— swimnerd (@SwimNerds) October 5, 2019
What’s the point of the meet then?— Ryk Neethling (@RykNeethling) October 5, 2019
Do you want to see the times on the ISL broadcast?— swimnerd (@SwimNerds) October 5, 2019
The poll above still has 5 hours to go but so far 130 out of 137 voted for times to be put on the broadcast. The ISL should triple down on times and fill the screen with the names of the swimmers, their splits, and final results. Bet you didn't even know Penny Oleksiak swam yesterday...
The ISL is looking to appeal to the average person -- someone that doesn't swim -- and I think that is huge mistake. They should be feeding THE BASE aka us, the swim nerds of the world. From a sales standpoint you ALWAYS go for the low lying fruit first -- the slam dunks -- the people that are already interested!
There is an already existing large base of people interested in watching swimming. In politics, do you ever see a Republican trying to convince a Democrat to vote for him or her? Heck no. They pump THE BASE. If the ISL pumped the base, IUPUI would have been sold out. Instead, they pulled in 500 or 600 people (according to Braden Keith), in one of the most iconic swimming states in America.
If I was the ISL, I would have had Chad Le Clos call every club coach in Indiana asking them to attend. Then the next week have Sarah Sjostrom call them all again.
If Coach Hilton and Coach Glenn aren't enjoying watching swimming why would they tell their team or their brother-in-law or their neighbor to tune in?
Yes they need to add the times in! to be honest i suspect the atmosphere looks better for those actually there. It did struggle to come over well on tv.— Glenn Smith (@ThelegendGlenn) October 5, 2019
Katie Ledecky. Lilly King. Chad Le Clos. Sarah Sjostrom. Florent Manaudou. Evgeny Rylov.
These are just a few of the big name swimmers that won events yesterday. The superstars of swimming are in every event. Unfortunately, we did not hear from a single one of them. This pains me tremendously.
You've got Florent Manaudou swimming in the America for the first time in probably a decade. He wins the 50 Free by an astonishing amount and nobody gets to look at his insanely sculpted physique. Nobody gets to listen to him in his little French accent tell the world he's back because he loves winning and eating Ben Proud's lunch.
The meet was so rushed it was difficult to live tweet.
ISL is awesome and all for creating more opportunities but where are the distance events 💔— Haley Anderson (@SwimHaley) October 5, 2019
Look, I've written many blogs about the 50's of Stroke and focusing on shorter events (especially if you want to attract non-swimmer fans). But this is another no brainer. The ISL made a big mistake when they basically ruled out distance events. Instead of watching Ledecky swim the 1500 we get to watch her swim the 400 IM. Instead of watching Zane Grothe swim the 1500 we get to watch him swim the 200 Free. The world's best distance swimmers will never compete in their favorite/best events?
Is Haley Anderson really just sitting at home watching on her laptop?
Haley Anderson is in a freaking Apple commercial. She is someone that you want representing your brand. In fact, we'd love for her to represent our brand. Haley, if you are reading this, give me a shout. Would love to work with you. My cell is 757-955-6273.
IMO, they should go back to the drawing board for a meet lineup (maybe have multiple). They should add the 25's of every stroke, add the 100 IM, swap 100 Relays for the 400 Relays, and add 1 distance event on each day.
Also, times are going to be necessary when we have gambling/fantasy leagues. Not a day one issue though. (I’m kinda serious here, but time-based gambling would be so easy to tank. It’s probably problematic for wagering $$$.)— Mr. Dunlo (@MrDunlo) October 5, 2019
If they really want to try and get the "common man" into the sport of swimming, sports betting will certainly help. Whether or not that is a good or bad thing for humans I'm not quite sure. I don't really bet on anything. In fact, I don't even fill out a bracket in March or play Fantasy Football. But I know a lot of people that bet on sports.
Ok now on with the show...— swimnerd (@SwimNerds) October 5, 2019
Don’t forget today’s meet is in Short Course Meters.
Whatever that is.
They also swam in SCM, something we don't do in the USA very often. Why not swim in SCY when in America? Would be more exciting for the American viewership and I think would also spark some fun into the foreign folks that never really got to race in SCY before. And, many foreign swimmers pay attention to the NCAA so they understand SCY way better than American swimmers understand SCM. Is shorter better because faster is better?
“Everybody wants Dressel to be the Tom Brady of swimming, but I’m not sold. To me, he’s the Patrick Mahomes. He’s got the numbers on paper, but it’s week one and he’s not out there with his teammates. Say what you will, but Mark Spitz would be out there.” - Skip Bayless, probably pic.twitter.com/u2uMKqXlMO— Mr. Dunlo (@MrDunlo) October 5, 2019
Lastly, I couldn't help but to be bummed after hearing that Caeleb Dressel wasn't there swimming and Gregg Troy (Head Coach of Cali Condors) wasn't there coaching, as they were being inducted into the UF Hall of Fame. That is a big deal -- congratulations -- well deserved undoubtedly.
But can you imagine Tom Brady and Bill Belichek not showing up for the first game of the season?
In closing, there is much for the ISL to improve upon. It is my hope that they listen to the true fans of swimming: me and you.