For the first time in the long, decades-old history of the Chattanooga Area Swim League (CASL), a summer will pass without any swimming meets.

The decision to cancel the entire 2020 season in wake of the COVID-19 virus was detailed in an email from the CASL Board of Directors on May 7, which said the following...

"On Thursday, May 7, the Board held an online meeting to discuss the feasibility of holding a full or partial 2020 swim season, given the incredibly difficult situation we are currently facing with COVID-19.

"The Board considered a significant amount of information from both local and state resources, USA Swimming and the CDC in making a decision, as well as feedback from the league’s 14 teams. There was a lot of discussion from all of the team representatives, as well as the Executive Board, concerning the difficulty of ensuring the health and safety of all swimmers, officials, and parents who take part in both dual meets and the end-of-season City Meet Championship.

"Due to multiple factors, including Governor Bill Lee’s “Tennessee Pledge”, which states that all adult and youth sports leagues will remain closed under the guidelines until further notice, as well as news that some of our teams' pools have already decided not to open for the season, the Board voted to cancel the 2020 season. No dual meets will be sanctioned by the CASL and the 2020 Bill Caulkins City Meet Championship is canceled.

"We sincerely hope that everyone understands and appreciates the difficulty of the decision to cancel the CASL season for the first time since the league began. We feel profound sadness knowing the disappointment this will cause, but the decision was made to prioritize the safety of our participants, supporters, and communities.

"The Board is particularly concerned with the impact this decision will have on members of the 2020 senior class and we will be exploring ways to honor and engage with these swimmers during a special meeting on Tuesday, May 26."

The Catoosa Great White Sharks were slated to compete in the CASL's Red Division for the 2020 season. The Great White Sharks last competed in the Red Division in 2018 when they went 6-1 and won the division title.

Catoosa swimmers also compete in the district and state swim meets of the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association, but the GRPA posted a statement on its website ( this weekend that after a May 8 meeting, the State Athletic Committee voted to cancel all GRPA district and state swimming, golf and tennis (both youth and adult) for 2020.

"These decisions are unprecedented and certainly difficult to make," the statement read. "Due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, it is recommended/encouraged that recreation agencies meet the needs of their local communities, first and foremost, as they are able to do so."

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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