A maiden International Swimming League (ISL) victory for Abbie Wood was the undoubted highlight for British athletes as match four of the 2020 season ended with another Cali Condors victory in Budapest on Tuesday.
Wood’s New York Breakers side were narrowly pipped to second place by Team Iron after a strong finish from the Hungary-based outfit – but the versatile David Hemmings-coached athlete certainly did everything she could for the Breakers’ cause.
After recording an impressive second in Monday’s 200m Individual Medley contest, Abbie gave an insight into what was to come the following day with another brilliant swim in the Women’s 100m Individual Medley, leading at halfway before touching behind winner Melanie Margalis – and clocking a lifetime best in the short-course category in the process.
Better was still to come for the National Centre Loughborough competitor, though, in the 400m Individual Medley. Leading from halfway, Wood closed the victory out with confidence, having surged out to a three-second advantage after the breaststroke leg. She is now ranked fourth for this event across the entire ISL so far this season.
So what has she made of the competition to date?
“I’m really loving the ISL so far! Even being here with everything going on makes me feel so lucky – and how I’m swimming is a bonus of the whole experience,” says Wood.
“Being on the Breakers has made this experience way better than I thought it would be. Everyone gets on so well and it’s such a laugh, which is definitely a big contributor to how I’m swimming in the pool. Finally getting a win for the team was good after coming second so many times and, without sounding too greedy, it would be nice for it to not be my last!”
Joe Litchfield has been another Brit to catch the eye of the ISL audience this year – and he achieved another ‘podium finish’ here, this time in the Men’s 50m Butterfly, where he came third. His time also moved him up to third in the all-time British short-course list, with the David Hemmings cohort continuing to impress in the Duna Arena as athletes build up following a lengthy spell away from competition.
A dramatic couple of skins contests – with the Women’s 50m Backstroke and Men’s 50m Breaststroke – saw Cali Condors cement their second overall win of 2020, finishing with 610.5 points.
Team Iron narrowly snuck into second with 418.5, just ahead of New York Breakers (394). DC Trident ended fourth with 287.
Up to 15 British athletes could be in action across Friday and Saturday when London Roar return to action with their second match of the campaign, facing off against LA Current, DC Trident and Tokyo Frog Kings.
Catch up on our daily reports from the ISL HERE to find out how our home-grown athletes are faring in Budapest.