A new professional league for elite swimmers, the International Swimming League (ISL), which was founded by Ukrainian financier Konstantin Grigorishin, will be launched in early October featuring a D.C.-based team called D.C. Trident.
Along with four European-based squads, the D.C. team will be one of the four U.S. teams that will have world-class swimmers, giving them a chance to earn competitive bonuses, prize money, and appearance fees.
— Washington Informer (@DC_Informer) April 10, 2019
Katie Ledecky, a D.C. native and a five-time Olympic gold-medal winner, will be the league’s ambassador and also compete in meets. Ledecky told AP that the league represented “a new era for professional swimming.”
“Especially for competitive women like me,” she added, “Jumping in the pool for the ISL really means a new era for women since it’s one of the first leagues to emphasize gender equality as one of its values.”
A planned 2020 season of ISL is likely to start after the Tokyo Olympics. “The show that is going to go around it will be quite a production, very fan-oriented,” said former Olympic medalist Kaitlin Sandeno.
The New York Breakers, the Los Angeles Current, the D.C. Trident, and the Cali Condors based in San Francisco will represent the U.S. General manager Tina Andrew, mother and manager of swimmer Michael Andrew, will oversee the Breakers. The Current will be led by retired Olympic backstroke champion Lenny Krayzelburg, while Jason Lezak, a retired four-time Olympic champion, will be in charge of the Condors. And the Trident will be led by Sandeno.
Full rosters are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.