The Cali Condors were one of the two American swimming teams (along with the Los Angeles Current) that made the grand finale in Las Vegas as part of the inaugural ISL competition. The Cali Condors finished in third place overall. They had Caeleb Dressel, the biggest superstar in swimming on their team.
“I love to win, so it was a little frustrating coming in second at every season match and third in the finals,” Lezak said. An eight-time Olympic medalist, Lezak praised his swimming team for keeping a “positive mindset” over the course of the ISL season despite never winning.
He noted that not having Dressel was going to hurt the team in the skins races in Indianapolis. The Cali Condors were only 22 points behind Energy Standard (with three events to go in that initial meeting).
Lezak acknowledged that he was looking to find swimmers that are great in many events and swimmers that can excel on the relays. “Speed and diversity were important factors for choosing the swimmers,” he explained.
He shared that when Dressel joined the Cali Condors in Naples that made a huge difference especially when they had lost a lot of points on the skins and the relay races. Dressel was named MVP in three different ISL competitions throughout the inaugural season.
Lezak praised Dressel for being the “best swimmer in the league” the first season and shared that it took time to sign him, especially with Dressel’s busy training schedule and sponsor obligations.
“The team can definitely say we appreciate his decision and I am sure everyone who was watching also enjoyed seeing how incredible he can be in the ISL format,” Lezak said.
Other athletes that he complimented included breaststroke queen Lilly King, who never lost a match this ISL season (winning the special “Undefeated Swimmer” prize), as well as backstroke queen Olivia Smoliga, and Melanie Margalis.
Lezak also noted that the team’s camaraderie was essential for their success, and their “great chemistry” from the beginning. “Anytime you have a group of athletes supporting others it makes a difference on the whole team’s performance,” he expressed.
“I know they will all want to come back with the motivation of winning it all next season,” Lezak concluded.
Lezak also serves as an ambassador of the USA Swimming Foundation.
Read More: Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos chatted with Jason Lezak back in December of 2018.