CASL City Meet fills Fort O's pool, merchants' cash drawers

CASL City Meet fills Fort O's pool, merchants' cash drawers

July 18th, 2012 by Mike O'Neal in Local Regional News

In addition to Marlins, Dolphins, Tigersharks and Gators, this past weekend the Arlene Crye pool in Fort Oglethorpe was filled with Green Giants, Raiders, Tidal Waves, Hurricanes; even Aqua Tigers, whatever they are.

Swimmers compete in the 53rd annual Chattanooga Area Swim League Championships at Fort Oglethorpe's Arlene Frye Pool in Gilbert Stephenson Park.

Photo by Mike O'Neal

That was because throughout the day and into the evening on both Friday and Saturday, more than 900 swimmers came to Fort Oglethorpe's municipal pool to participate in the 53rd annual Chattanooga Area Swim League Swimming Championships, better known as the City Meet.

The CASL consists of teams located within a 60-mile radius of the Hamilton County (Tenn.) Courthouse. Teams from as far south as Calhoun, Ga., and as far north as Cleveland, Tenn., compete in the league.

"This is the second time we've hosted the event in Fort Oglethorpe," meet director Rob Cushman said. "The facility is the main draw. Even though the meet is being sponsored by the Dalton Aquatics Club, an eight-lane pool is something we don't have in Dalton."

The pool located at Gilbert-Stephenson Park was totally revamped and reopened in 2008, according to City Recreation and Public Works Director Jeff Long.

The new $890,000 facility replaced a six-lane facility and a capacity of about 300,000 gallons, he said.

Cushman said the city's new pool proved itself a popular venue when the City Meet was held there in 2010.

Partly it is due to the facility - "They did such a nice job and everybody is nice" - and partly for its being more centrally located, he said.

Fort Oglethorpe also offers another bonus: open space. That is appreciated when teams pitch tents that will serve as base camp throughout the long hours when swimmers are between events.

City Manager Ron Goulart said the city will receive $2,000 for the use of its pool and 80 percent of the proceeds from concession sales during the two-day meet.

In addition to the direct financial boost, city officials noted that the 900 swimmers do not travel alone - most have family or friends accompany them - and will avail themselves of the restaurants and other area businesses.

"This is big for the city," Long said.