ISL roars back – but in the Budapest bubble!

By Mark Ashenden

Last Updated: 21/10/20 six: 27pm

Max Litchfield is in Budapest for six weeks in a swimming bubble!

The lamps, the razzmatazz, the superstar swimmers. They’re all back for the 2nd season of the International Swimming Little league.

But things really are a whole lot different in the new world associated with coronavirus.

British swimmer and Sky Sports Scholar Max Litchfield , who else competes for Energy Standard, provides the lowdown from the bubble in Budapest as he gets stuck into top notch racing again after a six-month split…

“For six weeks, 10 teams from all over the world are meeting in a secure bubble based on Margaret Island, Budapest. It is the same eight teams as this past year, plus two new ones through Toronto and Tokyo.

The bubble is kind of unusual but to be honest nothing is too international and it’s very similar to training back home with a lot of temperature checks, lots of hand polyurethane foam and plenty of distancing!

The one difference is the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests. I’ve acquired four since leaving the UK plus need to have one every five times.

It’s fair to state it’s not too much fun having a swab thrust in your mouth and into the nose so regularly. The reward is we all stay COVID totally free, so it’s a really small price to pay for.

We all compete within four heat matches with the best eight making the semi-finals as well as the top four of these into the fantastic final on November 21 plus 22.

For each occasion you score points based on to finish – there’s even a brand new rule called the Jackpot Rule which means you can steal other swimmer’s factors if you beat them by a specific margin. It sounds complicated but it essentially creates a huge emphasis on winning the big event and being as fast as possible.

After match one, my group Energy Standard finished second towards the Cali Condors. It’s a shame all of us didn’t come out on top but you will find a long way to go and I’m extremely confident the team will always improve over the next five days and be ready to defend our name!

Max is in Hungary with his Energy Regular team-mates hoping to defend their ISL crown

Max is in Hungary with his Energy Standard team-mates looking to defend their ISL crown

Max is in Hungary with his Power Standard team-mates hoping to defend their particular ISL crown

The first meet was a good 1 for me. I had two fifth-place coatings on day one in the 200IM plus 400 Freestyle, and the second time I won and collected ten points thanks to the jackpot rule within the 400IM.

A very strong start to the meet and a great way to get back to competitive racing following a six-month break due to the pandemic.

We have a small break plus rest before our second fit against the Aqua Centurions, New York Breakers and Toronto Titans at the weekend break.