The International Swimming League (ISL) would like to revolutionise swimming by making it more spectacular and more like a show. ISL’s founder, Konstantin Grigorishin, presented his plans together with three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú in Budapest.
Swimming is not spectacular enough
Even though ISL has not been able to organise any competitions yet, many champions joined already. Not only Katinka Hosszú is among their ambassadors but also the British Adam Peaty, the Italian Federica Pellegrini, the American Ryan Murphy and the Australian Cate Campbell. Furthermore, all of them are Olympic champions – reported hvg.hu.
In fact, ISL already tried to organise a swimming competition last year; however,
FINA threatened swimmers
who wanted to take part in it with a 2-year ban period. Of course, FINA tried to protect its position since ISL is a rival for them. Since then, their opinion has changed a bit, and they also announced the organisation of an invitation-based elite championship, but they did not share too much information about it with the swimmers – added Hosszú.
According to those behind the ISL, swimming is popular but commercially not too successful. This is because
competitions are organised like they were in the 19th century,
so mostly the relatives of the contestants watch it on the spot. There are too many qualifying rounds, the awards ceremonies are too long, and people can see the swimmers only for a very short time. Therefore, champions cannot be close enough to the public who would prefer to support teams to individuals. Finally, there are not enough competitions for the superstars.
Thus, ISL would like to create a system in which each contestant collects points to their team in fast and show-like contests. According to Grigorishin, it is also important to have a definite start and an end to a season and to have a final winner like in Formula-1 and in American football. For example,
they plan to organise the finals in Las Vegas.
They said that the first, introductory season would start this year and they would develop the project in 3-5 years. This year, four international and four American swimming teams will compete against each other, but from 2020 September, there will be 6-6 teams.
Swimmer, club owner and ambassador
Katinka Hosszú told the press that she would like to take part in the ISL not only as a swimmer but also as the owner of one of the European teams. “This is a big chance for our swimmers” – she added since, as a team owner, she can invite Hungarian contestants to her team in the first round. Therefore, other club owners can invite only those Hungarian swimmers who already said no to Hosszú.
According to her,
she would like to work with the biggest names like Kristóf Milák, László Cseh, Ajna Késely and Dávid Verrasztó.
Furthermore, they plan to organise an ISL round in Budapest, in the Duna Aréna, probably in November. Regarding the name of her team, there is no final decision yet.
In fact, the ISL will be
the institutionalisation of Katinka Hoszú’s special training
with which she became, for example, the best female swimmer of Y2017. The competitions will follow one another in 2-3 weeks so she will have enough opportunities to compete.
According to Hosszú, ISL will impact the preparation of all swimmers taking part since there will be no time for long training camps and there will not be just one important contest per year. Her trainer, Árpád Petrov, said that all professional sports developed similarly; contestants have to compete more, and they have to adapt to the changing requirements.
Feature image: facebook.com/katinkahosszu