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Elite swimming goes ‘intergalactic’ as ISL stages first event

Elite swimming goes ‘intergalactic’ as ISL stages first event
October 7, 2019

The weekend’s inaugural International Swimming League meet has been filled with firsts, with France-based Energy Standard securing the premier series event win in the US city of Indianapolis.

A weekend of first in the new competition held at the IU Natatorium started with athletes entering the pool deck dressed in futuristic astronaut-like overalls while a live DJ behind-the-blocks played space tunes before the swimmers featured in their own intergalactic comic-style introductions.

The world’s best swimmers, including 41 gold medallists from the Olympic Games 2016, then competed on behalf of eight clubs in the first regular season meet.

The largest-scale professional swimming event ever conceived, with an intense focus on team competition, the weekend was full of innovation, including a poolside ‘video box’ for each club to sit illuminated by animations of their team logo.

This built an intense in-pool atmosphere not often seen at international competition with a hoard of screaming teammates sitting just a few feet from their compatriots in the water.

Swimming's world governing body FINA forced the cancellation of the planned first ISL event in 2018 but then backtracked on its threat to ban athletes who raced in ISL events and launched its own rival Champions Swim Series this year.

The next leg of the season will be held next weekend in Italian city Naples, on 12th and 13th October.

Images: Members of the Energy Standard at this weekend's first ISL event (top) and team's arrive in their astronaut-like overalls (below). Courtesy of ISL.

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