Sjostrom, Manaudou shine as revolutionary International Swim League kicks off

LOS ANGELES Florent Manaudou shredded the men's

50m freestyle field and Sarah Sjostrom nabbed three wins to help the Paris

based Energy Standard team to the lead on the first day of the International

Swimming League pro circuit.

France's Manaudou, the 2012 Olympic 50m freestyle gold medallist who ended

a near three month retirement in June, won the 50m free at the IUPUI

Natatorium in Indianapolis by more than half a second, clocking a season

leading shortcourse time of 20.77 seconds.

It was a clear signal that Manaudou is on course in his quest to contend

at the Tokyo Olympics.

But in the quick fire format his victory over teammate Ben Proud was more

important than the time, helping power Energy Standard to the top of the

table after the first day of competition with 250 points.

Sweden's Sjostrom, the 100m butterfly gold medallist at the Rio Games and

an eight time world champion, also fuelled Energy Star with victories in the

100m fly, the 50m free and the 4x100m freestyle relays.

Backers of the new league, brainchild of Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin

Grigorishin, are hoping its offer of significant prize money and zero

tolerance for doping will make it a haven for the world's best swimmers, and

counting on the team based, sprint centric format to provide excitement for

fans.

James Gibson, the former breaststroke world champion from Britain who is

general manager of Energy Standard, pronounced the first day an overwhelming

success.

They love it, he said of swimmers' reaction to the format, which

squeezed 19 timed finals including three relays into two hours.

There's so much emotion on the deck.

Energy Standard jostled at the top of the points table with the Cali

Condors of California, who go into the final day of the meet in second on

229.5 points.

DC Trident, the US team featuring American freestyle great Katie Ledecky

finished day one in third on 165 points ahead of Rome based Aqua Centurions

on 163.5.

Each of the six meetings scheduled for the league's inaugural season

feature four of its eight teams. The top four teams in the overall standings

will compete in a series finale in Las Vegas in December.

US star Lilly King won both the 50m and 200m breaststroke for the Cali

Condors, whose Melanie Margalis edged Ledecky in the 400m individual medley.

Ledecky also settled for second in the 200m freestyle behind DC Trident

teammate Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong.

There's plenty to play for on Sunday, when the remaining events include

the intriguing freestyle skins, a three heat elimination race that

culminates with two swimmers going head to head over 50m free.

They all want to swim the skins because of the triple points, Gibson

said.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)