New Swim League Aims to Create a Pro World Outside of the Olympics

The International Swimming League, which has attracted a surprising number of world-class swimmers, will complete its first season this weekend

The athletes are among the fastest in the world. The competitions are made-for-TV spectacles. And the millions in prize money comes almost exclusively from a Ukrainian billionaire.

This is the International Swimming League, an attempt to create a professional swimming world outside of the Olympic and world championship circuits. To attract attention, the ISL features light-show spectacles, a skins 50-meter sprint race and teams whose results are tallied in points rather than best times. The league, which has attracted a surprising...