The International Swimming League is a global professional swimming competition now in season 2 with teams in Europe (Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron, and London Roar), North America (Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current, NY Breakers and Toronto Titans), and Asia (Tokyo Frog Kings). The first ISL season started in 2019. Over 300 of the world’s best swimmers from over 50 countries are competed for over 6 million USD in prize money during the condensed, five-week event.
What happens when athletes take a sport classed as ‘amateur’ to so much of the world and create their own league? They create a league that defies the normal tradition of a swimming competition. No longer is it just about eight to ten athletes standing on the blocks who you may or may not vaguely remember having seen at previous events. ISL have designed a scoring system which provides information to the public, creating an extra dimension of anticipation and suspense for the public.
The whole system brings swimming into a new era and makes it a new sport. Time is no longer the only performance factor. By encouraging unpredictability and real competition among athletes, ISL gives new impetus to the future of the sport by reconciling gamification and performance. The key point of what looks like a genuine revolution is that everything has been designed, built and implemented to provide the best immersive experience for spectators and viewers. In this way, ISL takes swimming competition far beyond a sporting event to extend it into the realm of entertainment and strategic gaming to finally re-enchant the sport.
Philosophy: The athlete is the pinnacle of sport, we look at the athletes as our partners. Sport greatly contributes to the health and wellbeing of society, and society in return should reward the athlete in proportion to the hard work, effort and level of performance that he or she puts in.
ISL Team Kit
In the world of sport, the Olympics are the international catwalk to showcase innovation, brand identity, designer talent, national pride and athletic moments. The modern Olympics, 1896 to today, include winter and summer sporting events that can be used to promote a host country, highlight apparel companies’ new technologies and designs, and catapult athletes’ careers. The Olympics offer a prime opportunity for the introduction of innovative styles and technologies evident in both the opening and closing ceremonies and in competitive events. The ceremonies promote the host country’s capabilities in design and technology and sporting events offer opportunities for apparel companies to develop and introduce technologies that may enhance athletes’ performances.
No longer does swimming need the Olympics to showcase apparel innovation. In house Art Director Arkadiy Voropaev does not have much to say about season ones iridescent boilersuit. Interestingly, ISL have chosen not to officially photograph or promote the team kit but have let the athletes create the publicity the event needs by swimming fast and looking cool.
Mission: We aim to create new groundbreaking projects, new in both form and content, which would explore the full potential of competitive swimming and secure sustainable commercial growth in the sport.
Vision: Swimming is a low-impact sporting activity with a huge transformational potential for society. It can be safely used to promote public health and healthy lifestyles and as a result it can increase the rates of engagement.
Cryptically at the the end of my email Art Director Arkadiy Voropaev writes ‘Hic Rhodus, hic saltus‘. Latin, usually translated: ‘Rhodes is here, here is where you jump!’ The well-known but little understood maxim originates from the traditional Latin translation of the punchline from Aesop’s fable The Boastful Athlete which has been the subject of some mistranslations. The story is that an athlete boasts that when in Rhodes, he performed a stupendous jump, and that there were witnesses who could back up his story. A bystander then remarked, ‘Alright! Let’s say this is Rhodes, demonstrate the jump here and now.’ The fable shows that people must be known by their deeds, not by their own claims for themselves.
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