Startup Int'l Swimming League Set To Unveil U.S. Teams
The Int'l Swimming League today will announce its U.S. teams and plans for a season finale in Las Vegas in December. The startup league, bankrolled by Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin, will place teams in N.Y., DC, S.F. and L.A., along with unknown European locations, for the season that will start Oct. 4. The finals are set for Dec. 20-21 at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Also today, officials will announce GMs for each team. Rosters and meet schedules will be released in the coming weeks, sources said.
The ISL is challenging FINA's dominance of the sport by promising elite swimmers more chances to win prize money; Grigorishin has said there will be a $6-7M budget for prizes and appearance fees this season. Three top-tier U.S. swimmers -- Katie Ledecky, Ryan Murphy and Nathan Adrian -- have signed on as ISL ambassadors, but are not confirmed competitors. FINA previously threatened to suspend athletes who swam in ISL events, but the governing body has since backed off. USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey said U.S. athletes are free to participate. Meanwhile, FINA has developed a high-prize-dollar property of its own: the FINA Champions Swim Series.