The Nashville Swim League, one of the most prominent summer league swimming programs in the United States, has announced the cancellation of its 2020 summer season, including the 2020 City Meet.
The league is one of several large leagues around the country to have cancelled in recent weeks. In addition to leagues in Houston and the Northern Virginia Swim League, which we’ve previously reported on, those cancellations also include the Jefferson Swim League in Virginia; the Mid-Penn Capital League in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and the Gwinnett County Swim League in suburban Atlanta.
While the Nashville Swim League is not as big as, say, the monstrous NWAL and NVSL leagues, it is significant for its prominence. Among those who raced last summer at its championship meet were US National Team member Alex Walsh, US Junior National Team member Gretchen Walsh, and Tennessee high school state champion in the 100 free Kallie Chelsvig.
“It was a difficult decision, but ultimately the safety of our swimmers and families is our priority. We spent considerable time researching the current COVID-19 guidance provided by local, state and CDC officials, as well as factored in our local club teams’ plans and USA Swimming suggested best practices,” said league president Amy Caulkins, who has both swum and coached in the league for more than 40 years.
If the name “Caulkins” and “Nashville” sounds familiar, that’s because Amy is the older sister of Tracy Caulkins, one of the best American swimmers in history who is still the only person to have held American Records in all four strokes of competitive swimming.
“We are taking a pause in 2020,” Amy Caulkins continued. “The mission of the NSL is to foster, promote and sponsor summer age group swimming in Middle Tennessee, and we will be back. While we won’t have a formal league season this year, teams can independently practice or hold intrasquad meets under their individual club’s guidance.”
The Nashville Swim League was founded over 50 years ago and has around 2,000 swimmers compete every summer.
In spite of the season cancellation, the league will present its annual academic scholarships to 2 high school seniors who have been “leaders during their NSL summer league careers.” Information about those awards will be posted on the league website by June 8, 2020.
Under updated social distancing guidelines, Tennessee is expected to begin reopening pools as soon as May 26.
Gwinnett County Swim League
A large league in northwest Atlanta, the Gwinnett County Swim League has 43 teams and around 6,500 swimmers. They announced the cancellation of the summer 2020 season on May 13th.
Pools in Georgia were able to begin reopening last week, with limitations on numbers, though some cities have delayed reopening their facilities.
Gwinnett County has 9 pools and aquatic centers that are county-run, and have not yet announced a plan for reopening those facilities.
The league cited the strain on an all-volunteer team council to enact the CDC’s social distancing guidelines for pools.
The league was formed in 1973. The nearby Atlanta Swimming Association, another huge league in Georgia, is moving forward with plans for the 2020 season, including updating waiver language to address coronavirus.
Jefferson Swim League
This league, located in the greater Charlottesville area (University of Virginia), the league has 18 teams and 2,870 swimmers. After considering both the health and safety of participants, as well as the financial implications of attempting to have a partial season, the league voted to cancel the JSL dual meet season, “in any form,” for 2020. The league’s championship meet was already cancelled.
The league, like many others, has said that its member teams are free to have learn-to-swim programs, hold individual team practices, or have other events at their home pools, but that those events are outside of the sanction and supervision (and, they hope, liability) of the league.
The Jefferson Swim League was founded in 1966. Among swimmers who participated in the league last summer are high school state champion Athena Vanyo, a Virginia Tech commit; high school state champion Izzy Bradley; and high school state champion Noah Hargrove.
Mid-Penn & Capital Area Swim Leagues
The Mid-Penn Swim League and Capital Area Swim League, both located in and around the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg decided that, based on Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to reopen the state, it would be “most impractical, if not impossible, to conduct swim meets.” This includes both dual meets and championship meets.
Dauphin County, where Harrisburg is located, has confirmed 963 coronavirus infections with 39 deaths caused by COVID-19. The county is still not in Pennsylvania’s “yellow” area, which has begun to allow gradual reopening.
All pools in Alleghany County (Pittsburgh) will also remain closed for the summer, though that region has not seen the high rates of spread that other parts of the state have. Several summer leagues in that part of the state have not yet made a decision on the summer 2020 season.