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Unchartered Waters: F-Teamers join ISL

17 October 2019

Holly Barratt
Holly Barratt will be competing in her custom APEX Performance suit and dome cap at the ISL

Funkita F-Teamers Holly Barratt (Rockingham SC) and Imogen Clarke (Loughborough SC) have been invited to compete in the International Swimming League (ISL) which kicked off last week.

The ISL is a new, innovative swim league designed to drive competitive swimming into an era of professionalism and commercialism to promote the sport and its athletes. The competition has already been backed by many coaches and swimmers alike, with 75% of current Olympic medallists taking part in the league. With an increased interest from a global television audience the league is proposed to ultimately benefit athletes, clubs and coaches to achieve sustainability, financial gain and performance potential.

We caught up with both swimmers, to find out more about how they felt to be a part of this new exciting league.

Imogen Clark
UK F-Teamer Imogen Clark joins the Energy Standard Team

Were you excited to receive the invitation to compete in the ISL? Did you have any reservations?

Holly: When I heard ISL was starting, I thought it would be great to be part of it and I was even more excited to be recruited to the London Roar team!

Imogen: I was extremely excited to get on board and compete in the ISL with my team Energy Standard.

Does the fact that you don't find out which events you're competing in until the day before the race impact on your preparations?

Imogen: It's weird not knowing exactly what's going on but it's nice because you just have to roll with it, go with the flow and be ready to race whenever and whatever the event, so I'm not stressed about not knowing until last minute. We prepare to race and that's what I will be doing!

Holly Barratt
Holly Barratt is excited to be one of the first Aussie athletes to take part in the ISL

Has your selection for ISL impacted your training at all?

Holly: Not really. Obviously, I'll be racing more than I would have been otherwise, but I think it will break up an otherwise long season of training, and not take away from my performance at the end of the season.

Imogen: It has allowed me to train, race and learn from the best in world in Turkey. British Swimming only selects on 100m events so now I have the opportunity to race the fastest in the world in the 50 metres breaststroke at a level of competition as high as the world championships. My training has been scheduled around these events and I have two training camps with Energy Standard amongst the ISL meets.

Do you train with your ISL team in the lead up to each event and is there a team coach that you will train under while with the team?

Holly: We'll be spending a few days in each city before the competition starts, training and getting to know each other. We have five team coaches in the London Roar team, and our head coach is Mel Marshall, who coaches Adam Peaty.

Do you have a choice in which events you'll be racing in?

Holly: I have input into which events I am best at and would like to race, but I'll be racing where my team needs me most and I'll be focussing on the sprint events!

Out of all of the meet locations, is there one in particular you are looking forward to visiting?

Holly: I haven't been to Dallas before, so I am looking forward to seeing what it's like. It will also be great to swim in Budapest again after racing there for World Champs in 2017.

Imogen and Holly
When they're not training hard at the pool, both Holly and Imogen take some time out to relax

Do you think that this new format will change the future of swimming?

Holly: I hope so. It's an exciting new league that is quite different to how swimming has been run in the past. It's an opportunity for swimmers to earn more money from their sport, and to be able to compete in a league that has a zero-tolerance doping policy.

It must be exciting to be a part of such an innovative swimming league. What are you most looking forward to?

Holly: I love the idea that there will be lots of racing, that our team will be racing to make the finals at the end of the series, and that the teams are made up of swimmers from all over the world.

Aquatics makes up only 0.03% of the global sporting market; with leading swimmers receiving significantly less money compared to other sports. This is despite 87% of all Olympic viewers tuning into swimming and approximately 300 million regular participants within the sport around the globe.

The ISL six-pillar format consists of eight teams of 24 invited athletes, 12 men and 12 women, within each team respectfully. These swimmers will go head-to-head to battle across an array of fast paced events including individuals, relays and skins (a series of back to back races operating on a knockout basis) to score points for their team and duel against the best swimmers from around the world. This leads to a grand final in the US this December.

We wish our F-Teamers all the best throughout the ISL competitions and look forward to keeping up with the results!

You can watch the ISL live this weekend on 7 Plus, with highlights of every ISL meet also being shown on 7TWO and online here

ISL - Group B: Match 1

Dallas, USA - October 20 - 21

Sydney/Melbourne 6.00am LIVE on 7plus | Adelaide 5.30am LIVE on 7plus

Perth 3.00am LIVE on 7plus | Brisbane 5.00am LIVE on 7plus 

Holly Barratt ?Imogen Clark
ISL

To keep up to date with our F-Teamers, follow us on our social media pages below:

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