Brits impress as intense ISL Preliminaries come to a close

10 Nov 2020

Freya Anderson and Duncan Scott shine in the final session, whilst Max Litchfield produced a resilient swim on return from illness in the morning.

Following a near month of jam packed International Swimming League (ISL) racing at the Duna Arena, the preliminary stage came to a close tonight with another bout of exhilarating racing.

Freya Anderson’s contribution to the London Roar was again hugely significant as she finished in ninth place in the match 10 MVP standings. With an opening third place in the women’s 100m Freestyle, ahead of Anna Hopkin in fourth, the 19 year old then put a controlling performance in on the 200m Freestyle to take back to back victories in the event.

Whilst not far outside her British record swim on Friday, the former Ellesmere College Titans swimmer confirmed in speaking to ISL presenter Mark Foster on poolside that she was indeed testing a new 200m strategy:

“It’s quite nice to have these matches back to back every few days, it means I’m able to try a different few race plans and see which one I like best.

“I’m still slightly learning how to swim the 100m and today my splits were a bit off, but it’s all for the team.”

Her willingness to do the job her team needed was further displayed with a fine leg in London Roars third placed Mixed 4x100m relay quartet, whilst Freya also stepped in last minute to replace the injured Alia Atkinson in the women’s Breaststroke Skins, only to narrowly miss out on the second round in an unfamiliar event.

Freya ISL 2020 Match 10 day 2
Anderson finished 9th in the overall match MVP standings

Teammates Emily Large and Holly Hibbott put in a bright showing in the women’s 200m Butterfly toward the start of the session, with former Newcastle Swim Team athlete, Large, adding a second top three to her ISL record as the pair went 3-4 for a combined 11 points - beating the ‘Jackpot Line’ that caught out half the field.

Another to finish the regular season on a high was Duncan Scott, who having set the pace off the blocks in the men’s 400m Individual Medley was forced to dig deep to take the win with the field coming back at him over the final 50m.

Speaking after, the Stirling based swimmer commented:

“After the first meet we [London Roar] had a few quite a while till the second, but since then it’s just been meet, meet, meet and so it’s going to be nice to have a few days off.

“I came second in the Vegas final of 400m IM event last year, it’s an event I want to keep doing if the team need me to and I think I can move my time on. Today was a tough swim to say the least, I took it out and paid the price a little bit. Fair play to them they came back pretty strong and it was just about fighting through it as one of those tough in-season swims.”

A fellow Steven Tigg coached athlete, Aimee Willmott, also had a solid 400m Individual Medley swim, picking up third in the women’s event and matching her results from matches 2 and 5 earlier in the series. Tom Dean meanwhile had another opportunity to swim the men’s 200m Freestyle among a shuffled pack in the London Roar line-up, and duly took the opportunity to swim a second faster than he had done in match 5 for a to claim fourth on this outing.  

In the morning session, reigning champions Energy Standard sealed the third win of their four heats in convincing style, with Max Litchfield and Georgia Davies playing their part.

Max Litchfield ISL Match 9 report
Max Litchfield

Litchfield – who was ruled out of two Energy matches with illness – turned in a strong swim in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley, finishing third to add to the win he claimed in that event back at the start of this intense six-week competition.

Davies, meanwhile, placed just off the ‘podium’ positions in the Women’s 100m Backstroke, as she added five points to the Standard tally by touching fourth, 0.01 seconds ahead of Rio Shirai of Tokyo Frog Kings behind her.

For the Toronto Titans, Jay Lelliott’s promising ISL campaign continued with a fourth-place result in the Men’s 200m Butterfly, the City of Sheffield competitor coming back strong in the second half of the race.

The final standings following ten matches will now see the top eight teams; Cali Condors, Energy Standard, London Roar, LA Current, Iron, Tokyo Frog Kings, Toronto Titans and NY Breakers progress to this this weekend’s semi-finals, with all the action streamed live on the BBC Sport website, app and via the BBC iPlayer.

Semi-Final Draw:

  • Semi-final 1 | 11am-1pm Sat & Sun - London Roar, Energy Standard, Tokyo Frog Kings, NY Breakers
  • Semi-final 2 | 5pm-7pm Sun & Mon -  Cali Condors, Iron, Toronto Titans, LA Current

A full list of results can be found on the website, along with details of the remaining scheduled fixtures and previous match footage