SWIMMING: Four American 25 m Records in ISL U.S. Derby as Dressel wins MVP

U.S. sprint superstar Caeleb Dressel

The swimming was fierce at the University of Maryland’s natatorium in College Park for the two-day U.S. Derby in the International Swimming League, which decided which two American team qualified for December’s final in Las Vegas.

The star, as expected, was sprint superstar Caeleb Dressel, who won five individual events and two relays and was named Most Valuable Player, scoring 61.5 points.

But the meet also re-wrote the U.S. Short-Course (25 m) record book with four new marks:

Men/50 m Breaststroke: 25.99, Ian Finnerty (old, 2615, Cody Miller, 2016)

Men/100 m Breaststroke: 56.29, Finnerty (old, 56.43, Cody Miller, 2015)

Men/50 m Butterfly: 21.21, Caeleb Dressel (old, 22.32, Michael Andrew, 2018)

Women/400 m Medley: 4:24.46, Melanie Margalis (old, 4:24.62, Caitlin Leverenz, 2011)

In addition to his 50 Fly record, Dressel won the 50-100 m Frees, 50-100 m Flys and the 50 m Free Skins event at the end of the program. His times in the 100 m Free (45.69) and 100 m Fly (49.16) are 2019 world leaders.

Of the 50 m Fly record, Dressel said – with a straight face – “That was actually a really bad race. My breakout and turns were really bad. No matter what, there will never be a perfect race. There is always something to work on.”

Also scoring world-leading marks was Breaststroke superstar Lilly King, who won the 50-100-200 m triple for the third straight meet. Her 1:03.00 in the 100 m and 2:18.78 in the 200 m are on top of the world list.

Katie Ledecky, for whom this would have been a home meet, did not participate as she is in the middle of a heavy training period. But she would not have made a difference for her D.C. Trident team, as the L.A. Current came back in the final three events to win the meet, 495.0 to 489.5 for the Cali Condors. The Trident was third at 322.5 and the New York Breakers were fourth with 315.0. The Current and Condors will advance to the final in Las Vegas; the two European teams will be confirmed next week in the European Derby in London, with Energy Standard and the London Roar sure to advance.

Click here for full results.

ISL founder and funder Konstantin Grigorishin (UKR) told The Washington Post late last week that the plan for the second ISL season is to expand the league to 10 teams and have 27 meets instead of seven, in a season that would run into April 2021.

“We’re in the most tough financial stage. We’re investing the money,” Grigorishin said. “But how do you convince a sponsor to sponsor something that does not exist? Now we have a product.”

Grigorishin is a reported billionaire, so he can afford to wait. But a post-Tokyo schedule into the spring of 2021 places him directly in competition with the top pro leagues in basketball, ice hockey and the European soccer season. Time will tell.