The professional International Swimming League (ISL) will fund its contracted athletes through to next year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics with monthly payments from September, the series announced on Friday.
It also plans a five-week combined training and competition event from Oct 14 to Nov. 17 this year at a location to be decided and subject to developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hungary’s 2016 triple Olympic gold medallist Katinka Hosszu told Reuters the ‘Solidarity Program’ would provide peace of mind for many swimmers at a time of uncertainty with some countries in lockdown as they battle the new coronavirus.
“For us athletes, it’s really important to get over this period of time and everyone will be able to prepare for next summer,” she said.
– International Swimming League Solidarity Program to pay swimmers first regular wage in their sport: 320 athletes to receive $1500 a month
– $11m set aside for wages, bonuses and prize money
– All 10 ISL teams, swimmers, coaches and support staff invited – at ISL expense – to 5-week solidarity camp in October-November for training and competition as a catalyst to reunite the world swimming community
– Reality TV concept for the camp may have commercial spin-offs to further help fund swimming and swimmers at a time when subsidised funding of the sport may take a hit because of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic
Some swimmers will receive $3,500 a month through bonuses related to their success and status in a package that provides $11m in funding for swimmers: $6m has been set aside for wages, while a further $5m has been allocated to prize money for a condensed ISL Season II with a twist.
All 10 teams, 320 swimmers and their coaches have been invited to attend a five-week training-and-competition camp in October-November this year, the dates depending on the coronavirus crisis development, at ISL cost.
The subsidised reunification of the swimming family will include an ISL-format competition each weekend, with 10 teams competing in matches of four teams at a time. Innovations for the coming season include skins on all strokes – back-to-back races which operate on a knockout basis with the two remaining swimmers racing in a head-to-head final – split-time events and a 100m medley added to the program.
Among venues being explored for the camp are Australia, Budapest and Japan. The cost of the camp and the related competitions will swell the ISL’s investment to more than $20 million as a solidarity measure on the way to a full season in 2021-22. More details to follow.