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Avon native Madison Kennedy among 200 swimming pros signed up for ISL

Avon native Madison Kennedy is one of 200 pro swimmers who will swim in the first season of the International Swimming League — an international pro swimming league.

AVON – Madison Kennedy grew up in Avon, attended Avon schools and competed in soccer and lacrosse on the fields of Avon as many youngsters in town do.

Kennedy also swam at the Wheeler Regional YMCA in Plainville and at Avon High School. She continued her career in college, swimming at Rutgers and then California-Berkeley.

She turned pro in 2009 and has been a member of U.S. National team for most of that time. She has swum in three U.S. Olympic Trials and came within 0.15 of a second of claiming a berth in the 50 meter freestyle in 2016.

Kennedy has swum for America in three world championship meets in China, Qatar and Canada and has brought home nine medals.

She will represent the United States at the Pan-Am championships for the third time on August 6-11 in Peru and has already secured an invitation for her fourth U.S. Olympic Trials meet next June in Omaha, Nebraska.

Kennedy, 31, is well aware that a swimmer’s career is finite and isn’t ready to give it up just yet.

Kennedy recently expanded her options by signing a contract to swim with the Washington, D.C.-based D.C. Trident of the International Swimming League.

It will be yet another opportunity to compete against top-flight athletes from around the planet. There are athletes from seven nations on the 24-person Trident squad – 12 men and 12 women.

“I am going to continue as long as I can and there are opportunities,” she said. “I have all of this support in the sport. I will ride this as long as I can. I know it is a cool thing (to be a professional swimmer competing around the world).”

The ISL will begin competition in October with six meets in the United States and Europe, culminating with the 2019 ISL finals in Las Vegas in December.

Two swimmers will compete in each event with dual meet scoring. The ISL is comprised of eight teams with four in Europe – Aqua Centurions (Rome), Energy Standard (Paris), London Roar and Team Iron (Hungary) along with four teams in the United States — New York (Breakers), Los Angeles (Current), San Francisco (Cali Condors) and D.C. Trident.

D.C. Trident will have three dual meets before the championship meet. The Trident open the 2019 ISL campaign in Indianapolis on October 4 and 5 before heading to Naples, Italy on October 12-13. The Trident will host a meet in College Park, Maryland on Nov. 15-16.

“Swimming is the most watched sport at the Olympic Games and we expect the ISL will generate nation-wide engagement which will lead to long-term sustainability not just for the league, but for the entire sport of swimming,” says Paris Jacobs, chief operating officer of the American Swimming Coaches Association and ISL management consultant.

Kennedy knows she will be competing in the 50 freestyle – her specialty event — with the Trident. She isn’t sure of what else she will be swimming but she is looking forward to the experience.

Kennedy will be reunited with an old friend – Natalie Coughlin, a fellow Cal-Berkley alumni, who own 12 Olympic medals. Some of the bigger names on the Trident are American Katie Leducky, the five-time Olympic gold medal winner who won a gold medal in the 800 meters at the world championships in South Korea, and Kevin Cordes, a 2016 Olympian.

Trident teammate Brianna Throssel was part of Australia’s 4×200 meter freestyle relay team that set a new world record at the world championships while teammate Siobhan Haughey swam for Hong Kong at the world championships, taking fourth in the 100 meter freestyle.

“I’m very happy the ISL is happening,” Kennedy said. “It’s cool. I’m happy where I am now. It is cool that swimming has gone where it is and allow me to continue in the fashion I have.”

“I’m so proud of what we’re building at DC Trident, for our swimmers, the fans, and the sport,” Trident general manager Kaitlin Sandeno said. “Our roster has it all, from Olympic legends to swimming’s future stars. DC Trident is a force in the pool, but we are equally proud of our team’s values and the impact we hope to have on the next generation and the community at large.”

Sandeno, an Olympic gold medalist and a six-time world champion, is one of the first female general managers in pro sports history.

Connecticut fans will remember Pam Batalis operating as the general manager and president of the New England Blizzard of the American Basketball League for two seasons from 1996-98. The Blizzard played in Hartford and Springfield.

DC Trident 2019 schedule
Oct. 4-5: DC Trident, Cali Condors (San Francisco), Aqua Centurions (Rome), Energy Standard (Paris) at Indianapolis
Oct. 12-13: DC Trident, Cali Condors (San Francisco), Aqua Centurions (Rome), Energy Standard (Paris) at Naples, Italy
Nov. 15-17: DC Trident, Cali Condors (San Francisco), Los Angeles Current, New York Breakers at College Park, Maryland

Dec. 20-21: ISL championships at Las Vegas

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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