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Katie Ledecky competes in first team-based professional swimming league

Ann Schmidt

The world’s first team-focused professional swimming league will have its first meet on Saturday and Sunday, where five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky will be competing.

The International Swimming League’s (ISL) inaugural meet is in Indianapolis, Ind., where four of the eight teams in the league are competing, according to a press release.

Ledecky is swimming for the DC Tridents against the Cali Condors, the Aqua Centurions from Italy and the Energy Standard from France.

The other four teams not competing in the first meet include American teams NY Breakers and LA Current as well as  London Roar and Iron, from Hungary.

Overall, more than 100 Olympians and 41 gold medalists from 2016 are part of the league, according to the release.

“This is just an awesome opportunity; you have team members from all over the world. You get to know so many new people, different backgrounds, this really brings kind of a deeper connection to the sport.” Ledecky said in a statement, ahead of the first match. “Competing for a team does bring out the very best in you.”

The season will have six regular meets throughout October and November, with meets in the U.S. and Europe. Winners of regular season meets will receive $180,000 in prize money, according to another press release.

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The top two U.S. teams and the top two European teams will compete in the championship in Las Vegas on Dec. 20 and 21, the release said. Prize money for the championship will be almost $1.5 million.

In the U.S., the league will be shown live and delayed on ESPN 3, the sports television network’s channel on the ESPNApp, according to an announcement Friday.

Aside from being the world’s first team-based professional swimming league, the ISL is also focused on gender equality in competition. The league promises an equal share in prize money and media attention -- which comes as the U.S. Women's Soccer team is in the midst of a legal battle against the U.S. Soccer Federation for "institutionalized gender discrimination."

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Though she won’t be able to compete in all six ISL matches so she can train for Olympic season, Ledecky said she wanted to be around for the start of the league anyway.

“I am really excited to be a part of history,” she said.

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