The sport of swimming reaches people of all ages and ability. In fact, USA Swimming has over 4,000 member clubs and over 400,000 members. These numbers do not include everyone involved in the sport either. The countless young athletes that compete on summer league teams are not always members of USA Swimming. The sport thrives at the local, regional, and national level even without the bright lights of the Olympics.
Endemic brands have long sponsored swimming events to at the local, regional, and national level. Speedo and TYR have always stepped up and have become names synonymous with the sport. Others are beginning to enter the space at all levels. BIC, Frito Lay and Marriott have started partnerships in the sport and standing out in the sport.
The Olympics brought a shining light to athletes and sports the average American only pays attention once every four years. The swimmers, gymnasts and track and field stars (not to mention all the other sports) are able to put their sports on display. Sports that are not typically in the limelight. Ryan Murphy, Allyson Felix, and Suni Lee are names we all became attached to and rooted for. We all had daily discussions on the country medal counts and what events to look for on the screen.
Swimming has always been a major part of the US Olympic schedule during the first week. The US Olympic Swim Team has won over 609 total medals throughout its history, including 30 at this year’s Olympics in Tokyo. That is the most of any nation with Australia in a distant second with 213.
The US team had its names in Katie Ledecky, Caleb Dressel, Lilly King and Ryan Murphy. The stars competed at an all-time level but so did newcomers Bobby Finke, Lydia Jacoby, Regan Smith among others. Who remembers how the gym in Steward, Alaska when Lydia Jacoby closed to win the gold in the women’s 100 breaststroke? An unbelievable moment in the pool!
The Olympics used to be the pinnacle of a swimmer’s career. These athletes now have a chance to carry on with the sport they love and have committed their life to.
Enter The International Swimming League (ISL)
The ISL is in its’ third season and playoff competition will begin in Eindhoven, Netherlands on November 11th. It features names that we all recognize including major international stars Tom Shields, Caeleb Dressel, and Sarah Sjostrom. Even the GM and coach are names we all recognize. The LA Current are run by Olympic Champion Lenny Krayzelburg (2000 and 2004 Olympic Champion) and coached by ISHOF David Marsh (7 times collegiate champion coach at Auburn and 2016 USA Olympic coach, and 2021 ISHOF inductee). The matches have high energy and the competition is fierce.
The regular season just concluded in Naples, Italy with France based Energy Standard taking the regular season crow. Eight teams are advancing to the playoffs in Eindhoven – LA Current, Cali Condors, Italy based Aqua Centurians, Energy Standard, London Roar, Toronto Titans, DC Trident, and Iron Budapest. A world record was even broken by Coleman Stewart in the 100M backstroke of the Cali Condors!
The 10-teams from L.A. to Hungary entertained fans worldwide from LA to Hungary during the first leg of the season in Naples. CBS Television Network, CBS Sports Network and CBS Sports Digital served as the exclusive U.S. media rights home for ISL competitions. This season the ISL has 2000 hours of airtime in over 135 countries. With the global rise of social media, the many ways to touch the athletes and worldwide fans are endless.
Partners with the ISL a blank slate with the teams and elite athletes. Whether you had Olympic partnerships or not, brands can standout worldwide and have a jump on the competition with athletes we will see in Paris in just a few short years.
The forming of the International Swimming League was long overdue.