The Collegiate Coastal Sports Association (CCSA) has announced that the 2021 conference championship meet has been moved from the University of Tennessee to Liberty University.
The move was made in anticipation of the possibility of the SEC conference hosting a split championship meet in 2021 and the conflicts that could create with the CCSA planning to bring 14 programs from across the southeast into the Alan Jones Aquatic Center while the Volunteers were preparing for a conference championship meet.
The men’s and women’s CCSA championships will be split into separate championships in order to reduce the number of individuals in the natatorium at any one time. The women’s meet will be a 3-day event from February 15-17, while the men will swim from February 18-20.
In Liberty’s 9-lane competition course, the top 27 women’s places will score and the top 17 men’s places will score.
The meet, which has been held as a 4 day championship like most collegiate conference meets, will revert to a 3-day format in 2021. The 200 medley and 800 free relays will be held on day 1, the 400 medley and 200 free relays will be held on day 2, and the 400 free relay will be held on day 3. That is in addition to the traditional individual events held on each day of the meet.
At present, the state of Virginia limits spectators at indoor sporting events in the state to 250 or 30% of the venue’s maximum capacity, whichever is fewer. Liberty’s natatorium has a seating capacity of 1,414 on 3 sides of the 25-yard racing pool.
The Liberty Natatorium, which opened during the 2017-2018 season, has been plagued with issues in its short lifespan. Recurring issues with the facility’s timing system, including at the 2019 CCSA Championship meet, resulted in a full replacement of that system. Over the summer, a 1-meter diving platform in the facility fell into the pool. Nobody was hurt, but the school removed all of the diving platforms from the facility and are planning to replace them after this season. The CCSA only scores diving in 1-meter and 3-meter events, though do usually dive platform as an exhibition event. Liberty’s 1-meter and 3-meter springboards are still available for use.
The CCSA was first formed in 2008 to host swimming & diving programs that were orphaned from their traditional conferences. In 2015, the conference rebranded, changing the S from “Swimming” to “Sports” and began sponsoring beach volleyball as well.
The Incarnate Word men have won the last 3 CCSA conference titles, while Liberty has won the last 2 women’s titles.
Both Liberty (junior Payton Keiner) and conference runners-up Florida Gulf Coast (Petra Halmai) were scheduled to be represented at the 2020 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships before that meet was canceled by the oncoming coronavirus pandemic.
Halmai, a Hungarian, who ranked 10th in the country in the 200 breaststroke last season, has already broken a CCSA record this season, swimming 59.89 in the 100 breaststroke at last week’s FGCU invitational.