Summer Leagues Cancel in Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee; On Hold in Delaware

Photo Courtesy: Nike Peak Performance Summer Swim Camp

Summer swimming leagues in major metro areas of Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee have joined a litany of leagues to cancel their 2020 seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Tennessee, the Nashville Swim League is “taking a pause” in 2020. It made the announcement Sunday. The league, in its 58th year, serves more than 20 teams and nearly 2,000 swimmers.

“It was a difficult decision, but ultimately the safety of our swimmers and families is our priority,” said Amy Caulkins, the NSL president and sister of one of the league’s most decorated alums, Tracy Caulkins. “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.”

In Illinois, uncertainty over pool openings led the Naperville Swim Conference to postpone. A summer swimming league that draws some of the top swimmers in the Chicago suburbs, the NSC includes more than 20 pools and 3,000 swimmers. It was set to enter its 51st season. Part of the logic of cancellation is the hope that some clubs can open and serve their communities in some manner even without competitive meets.


Photo Courtesy: Tod Trousdell

The decision of the Gateway Swimming and Diving League in Missouri was impacted by two clubs whose home municipal pools were not allowed to open. As such, the league that covers more than 30 teams in the greater St. Louis area opted to cancel its summer campaign.

Delaware has provided specific guidance on pools (pdf), but it includes a continued suspension of summer swimming team operations. Community pools (public and private) in the First State can reopen at 5 p.m. on May 22 at 20 percent of regular capacity and other restrictions. However, from the Delaware Health and Social Services Department, “swim lessons or practices of swim teams are not permitted at this time.”

One bright side comes from South Carolina, where Monday marks the reopening of community pools. That means that Tod Trousdell, who has been swimming a mile and a half every day for 18 years, is able to get back into a proper pool for the first time since stay-at-home orders were put in place in March.

Swimming Through a Pandemic

The postponements and cancellations wrought by COVID-19 haven’t just affected the Olympics and the ranks of elite swimmers. They’ve trickled down to neighborhood clubs and summer youth leagues, affecting thousands of recreational and competitive swimmers alike. Here is some of our coverage of COVID-19’s effect on the American summer swimming calendar.

Resources for returning to the pool in the COVID-19 era


  1. Bonnie Whildin

    Excuse my language but this is garbage. Old people ( that’s me) and anyone with compromised health stay in and let the rest of the world live.
    FEAR FEAR FEAR can stop a society. How very sad for those who want to exercise, socialize and make a living. Be sure to bombard your legislators. This is so very wrong.

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      Bonnie, it is not fear to note what virologists and other experts are saying including ‘we need to know more, including the impact of the virus among children; including the renal dialysis that “hundreds of thousands” may have to be on for the rest of their lives’ etc etc; and as we travel a steep learning curve we ask you to take precautions and formulate plans and strategies that will allow swimming to return with minimal risk of a second lockdown because of foolish, avoidable mistakes and poor decisions. Everyone wants to get back in the water – but not at all costs.

    • Craig Lord

      Bonnie Whildin truth is not fear, safety first is not wrong

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Craig Lord this is not safety. Overblown fear.

    • Dana Schlitter

      I agree Bonnie. Those who are afraid can stay home and let the rest of us be free to swim again without being called selfish and uncaring. Arizona’s Gov opened up pools and gyms and my community pool is re-opening this Friday. It’s up to the individual programs as to when they will re-start.

    • Lisa Lee

      Bonnie Whildin ??????

    • Jeannine Juskalian

      Bonnie Whildin or get recruited or set goals for there future ?

  2. Clark Bickling

    North Brandywine Swim League in Delaware has canceled their season. There are 3 others leagues in DE who have not yet made a decision.

  3. Dick Beaver

    More continued STUPIDITY.
    Political agendas are the problem. NOT A VIRUS!

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Dick Beaver so out of hand!! They are fearful and following like sheep. For goodness sakes, those who are fearful keep your kiddos home but for the rest who want to get back to living stand up and fight. Challenge this!!

    • Carol-Tony Brewer

      Dick Beaver Bonnie Whildin maybe, just maybe there are some very smart people who are making sound decisions for the herd not just for those that want to be guinea pigs for this virus. But ya, that’s just my opinion ??‍♀️ based off numerous discussions with scientists and front line docs.

    • Maureen Fluehr Carll

      Good heavens,it’s one part of one season out of a lifetime.Better safe than sorry

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Carol-Tony Brewer the scientists who said 2.5 million will die in the USA?… and then no masks, wear masks?… I think some good old common sense is needed here. Again, let us be the “ guinea pigs” as you call us but why stop us from doing because you don’t want it? This is America with its freedoms or so we thought.

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Maureen Fluehr Carll so you obviously have a paycheck coming in still. Swim seasons employ and pay many salaries. Those people will do without but again… it’s just one season right? Doesn’t affect you so… who cares.

    • Carol-Tony Brewer

      Bonnie Whildin how is this holding you back? You can’t go swim laps every morning? Yes, it has been frustrating with inconsistent information but no where EVER did I read or hear that 2.5 million in America would die. But even if it was said, let’s be happy that it hasn’t reached that point because hmmmm maybe we’ve all been doing the right things (like staying home) to keep the numbers low. Also, consider that this virus is still live and spreading and those death numbers could be a reality if caution isn’t taken. If you need to swim maybe you can find open water somewhere? Put your own pool in ??‍♀️ I trust that all these swim clubs are still wanting to make money but are choosing to stay safe.

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Carol-Tony Brewer you have so much fear in you, I am so sorry… sincerely not being sarcastic. . I don’t even swim. This article was about children’s swim teams. No healthy activities for children an another sector of the population without jobs to support their family.

    • Carol-Tony Brewer

      Bonnie Whildin I’m not sure that you are qualified to decide if I have fear, and if so, what about. My daughter is a college level swimmer. It hits home big for us if they can’t swim this summer. I’m just realistic because I educate myself to the real threat, how universities and local clubs are handling the situation. I support each pool/club for their decision and I don’t post heated hateful comments towards the swim community.

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Carol-Tony Brewer I felt my comments were certainly not heated or hateful. Just because I disagree with you you come to that conclusion?
      You make reference that I am not educated and you are?

    • Maureen Fluehr Carll

      Bonnie Whildin how do you know what affected me?You don’t.So let’s open the floodgates and throw all caution to the wind.Nothing is going to be normal or at capacity and the people who are left out because of it will complain again.In my state, gyms opened except not really,so many restrictions and limitations,indicating caution and uncertainty.

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Maureen Fluehr Carll
      Swim teams could use caution and teams could compete. Sad that they are not being allowed to open.

    • Craig Lord

      Bonnie Whildin which misses the meaning of freedom … of life guards coaches and others say ‘we’d rather be safe’ which qualified people will run the facilities? Freedom is for all not the few

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Craig Lord no the health departments made these calls not the swim coaches and clubs. Check.

    • Craig Lord

      Bonnie Whildin I know many coaches and swimmers who backed lockdown and prize safety first over ‘all back in’ … your response is evasive … the truth is out there

    • Bonnie Whildin

      Boy I would like to meet them because I know MANY coaches who want the pools open with teams competing. Oh well… you win.. no swimming for the kids.

  4. Bill Bane

    Come on us swimming figure this out

  5. Bonnie Whildin

    I am surprised with Missouri. I know they are playing little league baseball right now.

  6. Put on your thinking caps and figure it out but get their safety down and not just give up.

  7. Jonathan Ballard

    Northern Virginia Swim League has announced the cancellation of the 2020 season as well!