Swimming

Peaty to lead London franchise in International Swimming League

Olympic champion Adam Peaty will lead the London-based franchise in the new International Swimming League when the series launches in October.

Peaty will be joined by British team-mate James Guy as well as Australian world champions Kyle Chalmers, Emma McKeon Cate and Bronte Campbell.

“We’re making the dreams of swimmers come true,” Peaty, 24, told BBC Sport.

‘London Team’, which will be renamed later this year, is one of eight European or United States franchises.

The franchises will compete in six events, with the London leg of the ISL taking place from 23 to 24 November.

The top two teams from the US and Europe will qualify for the finals, which will be in held in Las Vegas in December this year.

“Twenty years ago swimmers wanted this kind of thing to happen and finally now it is happening at a time the whole world of sport is changing and athletes are realising they have leverage and potential for something like this,” said Peaty.

“Millions of people are watching the Olympics and we need to keep that going more regularly.”

The organisers of the ISL have been in a constant battle with swimming’s international governing body for much of the last 12 months, but relations appear to be improving.

In January Fina backtracked on its threat to ban athletes who raced in future ISL events and it has subsequently launched its own Fina Champions Swim Series.

Peaty, who won 100m breaststroke gold at Rio 2016, has been openly critical of the organisation and, although he is pleased Fina is looking to make changes, the world record holder believes the new event is “too little, too late”.

“I haven’t heard from them,” he said.

“I do praise them for it [the Champions Swim Series] but we’re not being approached and they’re still doing it without consulting us.

“If I was a chairman of Fina I’d be flying it and going to the athletes and asking ‘what do you want?’ That’s the difference here, we are here to grow the sport together.”

ISL owner and financial backer Konstantin Grigorishin said he is investing over £17m in the new venture, which he hopes will transform the way swimming is viewed around the world.

Grigorishin also confirmed athletes who have previously served drugs bans will not be invited to join any ISL franchise.

“This is one of the things I’m most passionate about,” said Peaty.

“Drugs can stay in your system and athletes can feel the benefit for years, so it’s great to stand up for clean sport.”

View full post on BBC news

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