Who’s going to Vegas? Pounding the ISL permutations

The International Swimming League meet in Budapest brought the first stage of “round robin” matches to a close as the competition heads into a short break before its derby meets at the end of November. This pair of meets will confirm who will be at the league final in Las Vegas on the weekend before Christmas.

To date the ISL has been reporting the league standings by group, but that only tells half the story. Each group consists of two American and two European teams, but the final must have 2 teams from each continent and the final meets are therefore split by continent into the derby meets to finalise the league positions. Here’s how those leagues stand and a look at the potential outcomes.

European Group
PointsRound 1Round 2Meet Total
Energy Standard 85394931032
London Roar8484.5505.5990
Aqua Centurions2300.5321.5622

London Roar and Energy Standard have both won both of their meets so far so sit tied at the head of this league, Energy edging it on total gala points. In terms of the final outcome, Aqua Centurions, with two fourth places to date, are out – the best they could score would be 6 points so they will be making up the numbers in London to all intents and purposes.

Iron still harbour a mathematical chance of progressing, but its a long shot. Katinka Hosszu’s team would need to win the derby in London, lifting them to 9 points and then hope that one of Energy or Roar finishes 4th, behind Aqua Centurions. That outcome puts one of Energy or Roar also on nine points, and then still needs Iron to overturn a points differential of at least 163 points in the meet itself if they are to make it to the final. All of this seems highly improbable.

Verdict: Mel Marshall and James Gibson can get their squads ready for a Christmas trip to Nevada. London Roar and Energy Standard are a virtual lock to take the top two places and the battle in London will be for bragging rights only.

US Group
PointsRound 1Round 2Meet Total
Cali Condors6457490.5947.5
LA Current5457408865
DC Trident4330.5322652.5
NY Breakers2278.5292.5571

The picture in the US is not quite so clear cut as it is in Europe with three of the four teams mathematically able to qualify for Vegas, thanks in large part to Iron sneaking past LA Current in Budapest.

Starting at the bottom the NY Breakers are out – even if they win the derby meet that lifts them to 6 points and there are no combinations of the other finishing positions that don’t leave two teams with 7 or more points. However they could still influence the overall placings if they can haul themselves off the bottom of the standings during the meet.

For the other three teams, if we assume that NY swim to the form shown so far and come home 4th, there is a lot still to swim for and every meet point could be crucial. If the meet were to finish with DC first, followed by Cali and then LA, all three teams would be level on 8 points and it would come down to meet points, although with a 212-point plus margin to make up, DC will be struggling to make it through.

Trident’s other route to the final is if Cali win and they can topple Current, whilst also making up that meet points deficit. The omens good as the biggest differentials we have seen thus far have tended to be 200 points or less, with the exception of Energy’s 260.5 point margin over Aqua Centurions in round 1, but all of these have been from first to fourth places . It hence seems highly unlikely that DC will be able to bridge that gap.

Verdict: Not looking good for the team from the US capital and the most likely outcome is that LA Current and Cali Condors will be on the road to Vegas in December.

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