Bath-based swimmers return to competition as 2020 International Swimming League season begins in Budapest bubble

16 October 2020

Nine University of Bath-based swimmers past and present are returning to competitive action for the first time since March as the second season of the International Swimming League (ISL) gets under way in Budapest.

More than 300 swimmers from around the world are representing ten franchises at the five-week competition, which starts today (16th October) and will see all league matches, semi-finals and the final take place in the Hungarian capital.

In action on the opening day are the New York Breakers, whose squad includes reigning European Junior Champion Matt Richards – he moved to the British Swimming National Centre based at Team Bath’s Sports Training Village over the summer and the ISL is the 17-year-old’s first taste of a world-class senior competition.

A host of his Bath training partners are in the London Roar squad including Mechanical Engineering student Tom Dean (pictured), double Olympic medallist James Guy and new recruits Freya Anderson, Holly Hibbott and Emily Large, all of whom – like Richards – began training with coaches David McNulty and Jol Finck at the Sports Training Village this year.

Also lining up for Roar – who begin their ISL campaign on Sunday – are former National Centre Bath swimmer Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Sports & Exercise Science alumna Anna Hopkin, who trained with Mark Skimming’s student squad during a successful student-athlete career at the University of Bath.

Sports Performance graduate Jay Lelliott, who won World University Games gold while being coached by Skimming at Bath, is part of the Toronto Titans squad.

Each ISL fixture takes place over two days and features four teams, with swimmers scoring points across 32 individual races and five relays. Extra points are available in ‘skins’ elimination races.

All swimmers are staying in two hotels on Margaret Island for the duration of the competition and will operate in a bubble, as well as receive regular Covid-19 testing.

British Swimming’s Performance Director Chris Spice said: “In these difficult times, we realise how privileged we are to have this competition. We have been working very hard behind the scenes to enable our swimmers to take part in the ISL this season.

“Of course, it is short-course which doesn’t translate necessarily to Olympic swimming but given the lack of competition since March this year, we believe this will be a great racing opportunity for so many of our current and emerging elite swimmers.”

All ISL matches featuring London Roar, as well as the semi-finals and final, will be shown live on the BBC Sport website and BBC iPlayer.

The London 2012 Legacy Pool at Team Bath’s Sports Training Village is not just used by elite swimmers but is open to the public too. Click here to check out the swim-fit timetable for October and find out how to book a swim.

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