New international pro swimming series stirs excitement
(Reuters) – A cavalcade of Olympic and world champions including Katie Ledecky, Florent Manaudou, Sarah Sjostrom and Chad Le Clos joined forces for what they hope will be part of the sport’s future in Indianapolis on Saturday.
The inaugural meeting of the professional International Swimming League (ISL) predictably produced some sizzling times.
More importantly, it showcased a fast-paced team competition more akin to an American university meet than a traditional international competition.
“It was very exciting. This is what we’ve been waiting for,” said Swede Sjostrom, the Olympic 100m butterfly champion.
“It feels like a world champs final with the people behind the blocks.”
The series, which was televised in various international locations as well as on ESPN’s website streaming service in the United States, has been bankrolled by Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Grigorishin.
It has received lukewarm support from swimming’s governing body, FINA, but that has not kept many of the world’s best away from the circuit less than a year out from the Tokyo Olympics.
The entire meet was wrapped up within two hours.
“I don’t really follow swimming too much during other competitions but now it was so much fun to follow everyone and see everyone’s races,” said Sjostrom.
She won the very first event of the new league in the 25m shortcourse pool, clocking 55.65 seconds in the 100m butterfly.
Le Clos also had a good day in the men’s 100 butterfly, winning in 49.65 seconds.
“It was I think a great day for the world of swimming, the beginning of something special,” said South African Le Clos, who shocked Michael Phelps to win the 200m butterfly at the 2012 Olympics.
The series continues with day two in Indianapolis on Sunday, before moving to Napoli, Italy next weekend.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Richard Chang)
More Top Stories
North Korea said on Monday it was not interested in meaningless talks with the United States just so President Donald Trump had something to boast …read more
Federal agencies responded too slowly as Beijing recruited U.S.-based researchers to transfer intellectual property from American laboratories, leaving U.S. taxpayers unwittingly funding the rise of …read more
26 Muslim candidates across the U.S. won local election races, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.read more
Britain’s Conservatives will deliver Brexit and end the uncertainty and confusion that has “paralyzed” the economy if they are re-elected next month, Prime Minister Boris …read more
The impeachment inquiry of U.S. President Donald Trump shifts into higher gear this week when a parade of officials will face questioning by Democratic lawmakers …read more