Top local swimmer Dylan Carter says he and his Los Angeles Current (LAC) squad are confident going into their International Swimming League (ISL) 2020 semi-final two match-up Sunday and Monday.
They are in a group of four that features this season’s top team, Cali Condors (CC) — with US Olympic gold medallists Caeleb Dressel and Lilly King at the forefront — together with Team Iron (TI) and Toronto Titans (TT) .
Semi-final one splashes off tomorrow and Sunday and includes defending champions Energy Standard (ES), London Roar (LR), Tokyo Frog Kings (TFK) and NY Breakers (NYB).
DC Trident and Aqua Centurions were eliminated after the tenth and final match of the regular season Tuesday.
The top two teams from each semi-final advance to the Grand Finale from November 21-22.
The LAC men’s roster was the number one, scoring an average of 261.75 points, narrowly ahead of ES with 259.375 points. But their women’s roster was ranked sixth in scoring and is the weaker part of their squad.
However, the 24-year-old Carter is projecting confidence as they attempt to replicate their final effort from the inaugural ISL season in Las Vegas last year.
“I feel like we really got a good draw with this semi-final,” the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist said, “I am pretty confident we can handle at least two (TI and TT) out of these three teams and find ourselves back in the finals like last year for this second season. So we (the LAC squad) are feeling really good and confident as the team is picking up steam and going along. Most if not all of our team is feeling really strong so that we can have another go at the finals as we did last year in Las Vegas.”
Individually, the University of Southern California graduate has been emphasising improvement with each match.
Carter was named one of the five ISL Rising Stars of the Week, based on his backstroke prowess in the tenth and final match of the regular season Tuesday when he copped silver in a new national record time (50.11 seconds) in the Men’s 100 metres back behind his teammate and USA reigning Olympic Men’s 100m backstroke champion Ryan Murphy.
The 2019 Pan American Games 100m back bronze medallist also combined with Murphy to reap maximum scoring points in the Skins 50m back when the pair went one-two.
The Skins is a three-round elimination event that starts out with eight swimmers in the first round, with the fastest four advancing to the second. The two fastest swimmers from round two then advance to the third and final round for a duel to determine the winner. Swimmers are allowed just three minutes recovery between rounds.
“So said so done. I am really happy with that,” Carter said of his improvement throughout the ISL regular season. “The progression in the 100m back from 51.25 seconds (October 17) to 50.85 on (October 25) to 50.11 seconds (November 10) which was a PB and another national record. It was also my first second place finish in the ISL and then to top it all off with a good performance in the Skins (50m back), beating out two of the best backstrokers in the world (Brazilian Guilherme Guido and German Christian Diener).
So (I am) really, really happy with it, you know, building up steam, picking up steam into these last two meets (semi-finals and finals). I am happy to finally show some results that I can be really proud of.”
Carter also broke two additional national records on the first day of match ten, including the 100m butterfly (50.70 secs) and the 100m freestyle (46.56 secs). The 100m free mark broke a 16-year-old standard by Team TTO’s most heralded international swimmer George Bovell, who has also served as an adviser and mentor to Carter this season.
After the LAC coaching staff, led by US Olympic coach Dave Marsh, analysed which events the LAC can potentially maximise scoring against the opposing teams, Carter was selected to enter in the Men’s 50m free and 4x100m free on Sunday and the Men’s 100m back and Skins (providing LAC win the medley relay).
The ISL 2020 is being conducted in a bio-secure bubble due to the Covid-19 pandemic at the Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary and is being broadcast to a record 140 countries worldwide this season.