Brits braced for ISL's big Budapest finale

20 Nov 2020

Five weeks, 10 qualifying matches, two semi-finals, three world records, 468 races and a whole load of jackpot points have come and gone - and now the International Swimming League (ISL) is set for a dramatic conclusion this weekend.

A host of Britain's best swimmers have been involved throughout the league's second season, in the Budapest bubble of the Duna Arena, as competitive swimming has made an eye-catching return following the turbulent disruptions coronavirus has caused to elite sport for much of the year. 

Those British athletes, alongside a wealth of top-class stars from across the globe, will all be hoping to make their mark on the two-day showpiece (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November), as London Roar, Cali Condors, LA Current and the defending champions Energy Standard face off.

The Roar team is brimming with home-grown talent, which has continually come to the fore over the past month. 

Adam Peaty has again proved his dominance of the breaststroke world with a series of victories across the 50m and 100m events, as well as picking up valuable triumphs in the dramatic skins contest and breaking the Men's 100m Breaststroke short-course world record in last weekend's semi-final. The reigning Olympic, world and European champion will be looking to carry that form into the final - and he will not be alone. 

Freya Anderson's second ISL campaign has been a breakthrough competition, with repeated successes in the sprint freestyle events, both individually and in the relays, where the National Centre Bath athlete has challenged some of her more established rivals every time she enters the pool. 

Adam Peaty celebrates ISL World Record
Adam Peaty celebrates his 100m Breaststroke world record in the ISL semi-finals

The same can be said for Duncan Scott, who has grown with each passing round, securing both Men's 200m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley wins last time out. He is also a crucial factor on the anchor leg of the Men's 4x100m Medley Relay and as part of the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay team, where Anderson and new National Centre Loughborough recruit Anna Hopkin have also been impressing. 

Aimee Willmott, Tom Dean and Luke Greenbank are among the other Brits who will be primed for big final swims over the weekend, for a London team led by Mel Marshall and with David McNulty and Steve Tigg also on the coaching roster.

They face a big challenge to win the competition, though, with a quintet of British athletes very much hopeful of keeping the ISL title in the hands of Energy Standard.

Max Litchfield won the Men's 400m Individual Medley contest in the opening match of the campaign and then, following two matches out due to illness, returned to help boost Energy's ranks with a second-place in that same event in the semi-final, suggesting he could be an important points supplier in the finale.

Backstroke specialist Georgia Davies will again aim to supply individual and relay points in her favoured events, while Ben Proud, Imogen Clarke and Lucy Hope are also all on the roster of the reigning champions. 

Cali Condors, meanwhile, come into the final showdown as the only unbeaten team in ISL 2020 - and Mark Szaranek will be among the ranks as they look to extend that streak all the way. 

Georgia Davies ISL 2020
Georgia Davies

Whatever the outcome in Hungary, there is little doubt that the British athletes returning from the ISL will have benefitted from the opportunity to further hone their race skills at the end of a unique year, when attentions will begin turning to the rearranged Tokyo Olympics and carrying short-course form back into the long-course arena. 

London Roar athletes: Freya Anderson, Elliott Clogg, Kathleen Dawson, Tom Dean, Luke Greenbank, James Guy, Holly Hibbott, Anna Hopkin, Emily Large, Scott McLay, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott, Harriet West, Aimee Willmott 

Energy Standard athletes: Imogen Clarke, Georgia Davies, Lucy Hope, Max Litchfield, Ben Proud

Cali Condors athletes: Mark Szaranek

Watch the final this weekend live on BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer (and the red button on Sunday) or the Eurosport Player | 1-3pm, Saturday 21st | 5-7pm, Sunday 22nd