NEW YORK: Olympic Gold medalists and champion swimmers across the globe will hit the water sprinting this October in the International Swimming League's (ISL) inaugural season, which will take place in seven cities across the US and Europe.
The season will culminate in December at a custom-built pool in the heart of Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
In April, champion swimmers Katie Ledecky, Adam Peaty, Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy, and Simone Manuel announced their involvement as official ambassadors of the league.
Having signed more than 200 of the world's best swimmers, ISL is shaking up the sport with a dynamic, fast-paced team-competition format. The goal of ISL is to offer athletes more opportunities to swim competitively outside of the Olympic games, as well as financial support and year-round recognition.
Speaking on behalf of the league, Jason Lezak, general manager of Cali Condors, says: "We are thrilled to introduce professional swimming to a new generation of sports fans, bringing them face to face with these incredible competitors."
The matches will be held at the following locations:
October 4-5 - IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI, 901 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN. The Natatorium has been a fixture in the community since 1982 and has hosted hundreds of state, regional, national, and international events along with providing aquatic programming to IUPUI and the surrounding communities. The Natatorium has held 13 Olympic Trial events and has a total seating capacity of 4800.
A $20-million renovation was completed in 2016 which upgraded nearly every aspect of the facility. A few renovated items include new paint, seating, deck tile, as well as widened diving towers and re-designed concourses. The upgrades ensure the Natatorium remains a top aquatic destination for years to come.
October 12-13 - Piscina Felice Scandone, Via Giochi del Mediterraneo, 80, Naples. In 1963, when the pool was built, the complex hosted the fourth Mediterranean Games. Reconstructed in 2019, the complex will host the University Games this summer, which is the second largest multi-sport event in the world. With two 50-meter swimming pools, it is used for numerous events, including swimming, and water polo, having hosted five Championship League finals. The seating capacity is 3,000.
October 18-19 - The LISD Westside Aquatic Center, 1750 Duncan Ln, Lewisville, Texas. Located just outside Dallas, this aquatic center has a total seating capacity of 1200. There is also a concession area with views of the pool, in addition to a warm-up and cool down pool, and a diving pool.
October 26-27 - Duna Aréna, 1135 Budapest, Népfürdő u. 36, Hungary. Recently reconstructed, the world-class complex features two Olympic sized pools, including a three-meter deep competition pool and a warm-up pool. Total seating capacity is approximately 5,000. The arena hosted the swimming world championship in 2017.
Designed and built by Hungarians, the arena has been built with sustainability and environmental awareness in mind, and features a programmable fountain, created by students at Moholy-Nagy University of Art, as well as a panoramic view of the city. The arena provides for various water sports including swimming, water polo, diving, synchronized swimming, and high diving.
November 15-16 - Natatorium at the Eppley Recreation Center, 4128 Valley Drive, College Park, Maryland. Located just outside Washington, D.C., the state-of-the-art facility is comprised of an Olympic sized competition pool with one meter and two-meter diving boards, a 25 meter x 25 yard Instructional pool, dry sauna, and steam room. The total seating capacity (including the pool deck and stands) is 2700.
November 23-24 - London Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 2ZQ. The striking building, located in Stratford, is an indoor facility with three 50-meter swimming pools and a 25 meter diving pool. It's state of the art facilities also include a 50-station gym, a dry diving facility for athletes of all levels and a cafe. The aquatic center hosted the swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming, Paralympic swimming and the swim leg of the modern pentathlon during the London 2012 Olympics. Since then, it has hosted a number of high-profile events including Sport Relief and, most recently, the Diving World Series. Later this year the World Para Swimming Championships will be held at the London Aquatics Centre. The seating capacity is 2,800.
December 20-21 - Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada. A pop-up 25-meter pool will be created in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, a 12,000-seat multi-purpose arena, to celebrate the International Swimming League finals. The Events Center is currently home to the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces, as well as the site for a variety of events including world championship boxing and many prominent concerts. Future shows include New Kids on the Block, Alejandro Fernandez, Pentatonix and Jojo Siwa while past performers have included Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and Alicia Keys, among others.
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is set on 120 lush acres and is recognized for its tropical pool paradise with real sand, along with its award-winning restaurants, exhilarating entertainment, unique shopping, Shark Reef Aquarium, its recently expanded two-million-square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and its three different distinct hotel experiences: Mandalay Bay, Four Seasons Hotel and Delano Las Vegas. Visit mandalaybay.com for more information.
Natalie Taylor, Aquatics director of University Recreation & Wellness at University of Maryland, says: "We are excited to welcome athletes and spectators to the Eppley Recreation Center on the campus of the University of Maryland for the inaugural International Swim League. Our large swimming community is ready to embrace all of the athletes and look forward to cheering on some very fast swimmers."
The team at IU Natatorium says: "We are thrilled to be selected as one of the sites of the International Swimming League's inaugural season. It's our belief that we have the best combination of aquatic facility, accommodations, food, volunteers, and hospitality right here in central Indiana. We look forward to collaborating with our local swimming community, Indianapolis, ISL staff, and local vendors to provide a great event for all involved."
"Swimming is the most watched sport at the Olympic Games and we expect the ISL will generate nation-wide engagement which will lead to long-term sustainability not just for the league, but for the entire sport of swimming," says Paris Jacobs, COO of the American Swimming Coaches Association and ISL management consultant.
Ticket sales will go live in July.