Isabella Hindley, who grew up in west London, is a competitive swimmer who is currently competing for Team Iron in the International swimming league. She graduated from Yale in 2019 but made the decision to hold off going to medical school to focus on making the British team for the 2020 Olympics. When the games were postponed Isabella continued to train hard in preparation for the competition, which is being held in Budapest, Hungary. Her team includes some of the most renowned swimmers in the sport, such as Katinka Hosszu, Romi Kromowidjojo, and Miriea Belmonte, who all hold olympic gold medals. I had the opportunity to speak to her about her experience in Budapest as she approaches the second ‘match’ of the competition, where four of the ten teams compete across two days.

How are you finding Budapest?

“It’s weird! We are allowed out onto the island but obviously not beyond that, one of my teammates actually walked around the Island and it’s about 5km, so it’s not big, but the set up is so great as the pool is really near, and no other distractions! You can pick and choose when you want to practice which is great too! Many people had issues getting into Hungary, and it was stressful getting Covid tests done in time, but mine was fine. We then quarantined again for 12 hours in our hotel rooms. It felt so weird because I didn't know any of my teammates and you aren’t really allowed to be in other people’s rooms that much, which is such a big part of being on a team trip and being away with people. The first day was all about getting team gear, admin and headshots and stuff like that which was so embarrassing for me, but we only started swimming [last] Tuesday. Not many people on my team actually speak English, or it’s not their first language, so it can be quite a struggle!”

What was the most exciting thing about being asked to participate in ISL?

“My friend Molly Hannis (part of the Cali Condors) mentioned it last season. She said it’s really fun with a great atmosphere, as it’s very similar to college swimming in the US. Instantly I felt it was something I wanted to be a part of, as I love that racing atmosphere, competitiveness and teams. This season I found out in April/May that I would be competing but obviously it was in the midst of the pandemic so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Learning from swimmers that I look up to so much and have watched on TV for years and years is amazing, as is competing and training alongside them. Swimming is about what goes on behind the scenes, and this really gives me an insight into the work people put in everyday.”

Who's the most exciting person you are working with right now?

“Katinka Hosszu is so cool! She’s our captain and she’s also such a great athlete; she works so hard in practice. We are actually one of the most diverse teams, so we have people from all over the world who don’t know each other; getting team spirit up is quite hard, but Katinka is doing a great job. Ranomi Kromowidjojo is also really nice - we’ve done a couple of things together as she’s also a sprinter. Mainly it’s practicing on your own; at this level everyone knows what they need, which is something I’m struggling with a little bit as I’m one of those people who needs others doing it with me. It’s normal for everyone else as professional swimmers, but recently I’ve been trying to recruit people to practice with me!"