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Staff file photo / The Chattanooga Area Swim League, which had been held for 60 years and showcased more than 1,000 competitors, will not be held this year due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

For the past 60 years, the Chattanooga Area Swim League has thrived, establishing teams from Cleveland down to Calhoun and annually showcasing more than 1,000 competitors often ranging in age from 5 to 18.

There have been dominant eras assembled by Cumberland and Signal Mountain and timeworn rivalries such as Fairyland-Stuart Heights. This summer, however, those hoping to vie in the CASL won't even make it to the starting blocks.

The CASL's executive board recently announced the 2020 season, which was set to start next month, will not transpire as a result of coronavirus concerns. 

"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 team pools have already decided not to open for the season, the board voted to cancel the 2020 season," the board announced in a statement. "No dual meets will be sanctioned by 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 announcement comes even as Chattanooga area public swimming pools plan to reopen following Gov. Bill Lee's guidelines.

The CASL board discussed the possibilities of full or partial seasons and received feedback from all 14 teams, revealing it also considered information from USA Swimming before reaching its decision.

Last year's CASL title was won by the Ooltewah Tidal Waves, who posted an 8-0 record in the Blue Division.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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