Pandemic forces changes in International Swimming League

The International Swimming League is making some changes ahead of its second season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 10 teams, including new additions Tokyo and Toronto, will train and compete in Budapest, Hungary, from Oct. 16-Nov. 22. The finals, likely to be in Tokyo, will be held in late December.

The single-site training and competition schedule is a concession to COVID-19. Last year, the league held its meets in the U.S. and Europe. It’s not yet clear what coronavirus protocols will be in place.

Next year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and continuing uncertainty about COVID-19 have affected the rosters. The ISL competes in short-course meters, while the Olympics are swum in long course.

Among the big names missing from recently released rosters are Americans Katie Ledecky, Nathan Adrian, Kathleen Baker and Simone Manuel, Penny Oleksiak of Canada, Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, Ippei Watanabe of Japan, Anton Chupkov of Russia, and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary.

The expansion Toronto Titans’ roster includes Canadians Kylie Masse and Kelsey Wog. The new Tokyo Frog Kings, fronted by retired Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima, include Ryosuke Irie, Kosuke Hagino and Yui Ohashi.

Paris-based Energy Standard won last year’s inaugural season championship in Las Vegas, where two world records were set. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden won season MVP honors.

The ISL earlier announced its Solidarity Program that will pay a minimum of $1,500 a month to over 300 athletes from this month until June 2021.

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