Day 2 of Match #9 for the Toronto Titans solidifies their playoff spot in Budapest

Cascade Office

Budapest, Hungary (10 November) - The final match for the Titans of the ISL 2020 regular season was bright and early this morning for those of you that braved the snow and cold weather to watch. The Titans have already qualified for the semi-finals or playoffs and we’ve just been told they will officially be competing in semi-final match #2 (Sunday and Monday). Apparently, it was confirmed that the first playoff match would be Energy Standard and Tokyo while the second match will have Cali and Iron - those determinations may or may not have been made based on available broadcast time windows so were not finalized until today. Toronto, London, LA & New York were a part of a draw of some kind to determine where they ended up in the two semis - exactly how that all worked appears to be a little unclear. In the end Toronto managed to land in the Cali, LA and Iron grouping - statistically speaking giving them a better shot than the other match up would have at progressing beyond the semis and into the finals. Either way though, as the 7th ranked team after the regular season and with only four moving from semis to finals, they are going to have their hands full come the weekend!

What did Cole swim on the 2nd day of today’s racing - match #9? The 100m backstroke as to be expected and then, most unexpectedly, a surprise event that he has not swum…in nearly four years! The races proved another chance for solid swims and the best time trend managed to continue for Pratt as he put up more good times.

Today’s 100m backstroke field was once again another example of stacked international calibre performers with a similar cast of characters to the Titan’s last match: Kolesnikov, Glinta, Ryan, Basseto, Grevers and then from the Tokyo Frog Kings Ryosuke Irie and Markus Thormeyer. Thormeyer, the giant Canadian from the west coast, who broke Cole’s Canadian record earlier this ISL season in the 200m back and Irie, a Japanese three-time Olympic medallist (two silvers and a bronze in the 200 back, the 4x100 medley relay, and the 100 back from London 2012) that certainly made for interesting additions to the lineup. As another interesting side note, Irie’s club team in Japan is Itoman Toshin, where Cascade has been and trained at a couple of times over the years and where Sho Neilson trained while living in Japan. In this race Cole was out in 24.94 to the feet and then came home in 26.33 for a final time and new lifetime best of 51.27 which improves upon his best time (from the previous match in 51.41) and moves him up one spot to number five on the list of all-time Canadian men. Coming back to the post-race debrief to check on the planned 3000m cool down swim to close the day’s racing he was presented with a choice: continue with the planned workout/swim down or loosen that one off and get ready…for the 50m butterfly! “Instead of that swimdown do you want to do the 50m butterfly?” head coach Byron McDonald asked, “it will give our sprinters (those that would be doing the butterfly skins race coming up not long after) a bit more of a break to get ready.” Why not?

50m fly, an event that he has not swum from a flat start in nearly four years, was a surprise addition on the day for Cole. Coming into the race with a PB of 26.68 (JP Fiset) meant he was going to be in pretty tough as the field include, amongst many others, the current world record holder and former world champion swimming for Team Iron, Nicholas Santos, whose record stands at 21.78 (almost five seconds better than Cole’s listed best). Santos won the race and was just 3/100ths off of his world record in 21.78 - all at the tender young age of 40! Cole dropped more than two and a half seconds off his best to finish 8th in 24.04 for his second best time of the day.

It was a big day for Pratt and the Titans who swam out the meet after all was said and done. Next, they take a much deserved full day off tomorrow before final preparations into the all-important playoffs this weekend.

“We’ve been going a similar pattern of recovery, work, prep after each of our meets and just dropping the volume a bit in that last bit of prep the day before each meet. We’ll do the same here and try and give Cole a good chance at some more best times in the playoffs,” coach Dave said. So far Cole has raced the 50 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroker, 200 IM, 400 IM and the 100m freestyle on the relay. He’s expecting to swim the same relay legs he’s been doing all season along with two to three of his best individual events and should no what that will look like in the days ahead - having a flexible and adaptable to change approach to swimming here is a must to be successful.

In the Cascade staff meeting that was held today coach Dave relayed a lot of the goings on at the pool to rest of the coaches on the zoom call along with some insight into how the very best in the the world are preparing themselves at this event. The technical side of preparation was of keen interest to the staff as discussion around the idea of a two-handed breaststroke touch followed by a flip-turn was brought up (Anastasia Gorbenko, LA Current, Israel, European Junior Record Holder) has been using the technique in her 50’s and as a finalist in the breaststroke skins in match #3). Apparently, this was the same approach done by a few swimmers in the 1970’s in the butterfly - a technique that soon faded out of fashion not that long after people started experimenting with it. Also, the point of how much attention to stroke, skill and technique was discussed and the methods these very best swimmers in the world are using as a part of the warm-up and training prep. Back in the day, way back in the day, coaches and swimmers talked about “garbage” metres or swimming laps with no focus or even a purposeful lack of focus on technique - those days are no more (and, it should be noted, never a part of the Cascade approach under Coach Dave) and certainly not to be found at the top levels in the world. Hear that swimmers? Always pay attention to the technical direction from the coaches and always focus on technique whenever you are in the pool.

Toronto Titans Highlight Reel on Day 2

Blake Pieroni, who coach Dave has been working with in Budapest, took a win in the 100m freestyle in 46.33 and then later in the same match “period” (which is about a 40 minute window of time) he swam the 200m freestyle where he was third in 1:43.40 - that is a tough daily double! Kylie Masse won the 100m backstroke in 56.04 - her 2nd fastest ever lifetime. Finlay Knox just missed the Canadian record in the men’s 100m IM by 1/100th of a second in 52.63 - the Okotokain managed 4th overall! Rebecca Smith, born and raised in Red Deer, AB, was second in the 200m freestyle in 1:53.74.

Team & ISL Anecdotes

The longest streak in ISL history came to and end when Lily King lost out in the 200m breaststroke event to the London Roar’s Annie Lazor (USA). King had gone 30 straight wins including seven 50m breaststroke, seven 100m races, seven 200m battles, seven 4x100m medley relays (which is even all that more impressive in that she has to rely on three other very strong women to carry the team event) and two breaststroke skins. Quite an incredible run.

Sydney Pickrem swam the first women’s Canadian record of 2020 in the 400IM in winning match #10. Pickrem from the London Roar swam 4:25.90 which took off 0.5 from the old mark of 4:26.42 by Mary-Sophie Harvey (Energy Standard) in 2016. 

Final Team Standings Match #9

1. Energy Standard 573.5 points

2. Tokyo Frog Kings 428.0 points

3. Team Iron 415.5 points

4. Toronto Titans 289.0 points

Team Rankings After Match #10 (Top-8 Advance to Playoffs)

Next Match

The Playoffs! Semi-finals this coming weekend on Sunday and Monday. Sunday’s racing will begin at 10:00AM with the same start time Monday the 15th and 16th of November.

MVP Points Match

Sarah Sjostrom - ENS (1st) 76.0 points

Blake Pieroni (14th) 27.0 points

Kylie Masse (16th) 25.0 points

Michael Chadwick (25th) 18.5 points

Kelsey Wog (27th) 18.0 points

Lisa Bratton (30th) 17.5 points

Rebecca Smith (59th) 11.0 points

Finlay Knox (59th) 11.0 points

Yuri Kisil (73rd) 9.0 points

Brent Hayden (77th) 8.5 points

Cole Pratt (90th) 5.0 points


The Titans are streaming live on CBC online which you can check out here: or watch on your phone (CBC Sports of CBC Gem) or on Apple TV (CBC Gem).

The full schedule of what is being broadcast is available here:!

Complete results: