Aussies Campbell, McKeon roar into International Swimming League

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Australian Olympic gold medallists Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon made their International Swimming League debuts on Saturday, helping propel the London Roar to the lead on the opening day of competition in Lewisville, Texas.

The third stop on the fledgling pro swimming circuit saw four the league's eight teams in action for the first time: the Roar, the Katinka Hosszu-led Team Iron, the Los Angeles Current and the New York Breakers.

The four teams took the stage after two meetings featuring Energy Standard, Cali Condors, DC Trident and Aqua Centurions -- events in which Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom and American Caeleb Dressel starred.

Although the Roar were missing some of their British stars, including breaststroke world record-holder Adam Peaty, they racked up 253 points in 19 events on Saturday with wins from McKeon in the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle and Campbell in the 50m free.

The two, who helped Australia to gold in a world record time in the 4x100m freestyle at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, were on the Roar team that won the 4x100m free Saturday in 3:27.90, edging the club's "B" team -- led off by Bronte Campbell -- by 3.03sec.

Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott were among the Roar swimmers who missed the event in suburban Dallas because of a British national training camp.

They'll take the plunge next week in Budapest in the series designed to woo fans with an exciting finals-only format and satisfy top swimmers with signficant prize money.

The Roar also got an Aussie boost from Matt Wilson, who won the men's 200m breaststroke.

LA Current were in second place heading into day two on 234 points. Team Iron, paced by wins in the men's 50m breaststroke and 50m free by Russian Vladimir Morozov, were third on 186 with the New York Breakers fourth on 131.

Sunday's closing day offers plenty of opportunity to challenge the Roar's lead with the triple-points "skins race" -- three knockout heats of 50m free -- on the schedule.