Summer Leagues Cancel in Ohio, Nebraska; California Fights To Open Pools

Photo Courtesy: Kate Walter

On Thursday afternoon, the Ohio government declared that public and private pools could reopen May 26. That timeline, though, wasn’t soon enough for the Tri-County Aquatic League to save its summer swimming season.

The TCAL had announced earlier in the day that it would cancel its 2020 season, leaving more than 1,500 kids from four counties in Central Ohio without meets.

The TCAL is the latest in a slew of summer swimming leagues to put their seasons on ice due to social-distancing restrictions in place around the coronavirus pandemic. The 13 teams in the TCAL stretch across Franklin, Fairfield, Licking and Muskingum counties.

“Many teams need at least two to three weeks to prepare, so we waited until the last possible moment,” president Staci Stought told the Newark Advocate. “TCAL specifically is a league that exists to support the friendships within communities. Kids tend to swim year-round and are swimming with kids from different school systems, and it’s wonderful, but leagues such as TCAL, you are swimming with your neighbors and your school mates. There is something extra special and makes it very sad for us.”

The Midwestern Swimming League, which serves Nebraska and portions of Western Iowa, followed suit with a cancellation Friday. The City of Lincoln announced a delay in opening city pools.

In Pennsylvania, Allegheny County announced that its six public swimming pools and spray parks will remain closed for the summer. The second-most populous county in the state has entered the “yellow phase” of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan, but restrictions remain in place. Private clubs in the county have been split, with some closing and others attempting to open. Other leagues in Pennsylvania cancelled summer swimming seasons this week.

In California, a half-dozen pools have had proposals denied by the San Diego County health department to resume operations. Among those pushing for the reopening, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, is Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey.

Community pools are included in Stage 3 of California’s reopening plan. The state has only reached Stage 2. From San Diego County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten:

“It’s looking at the risk of transmission of COVID-19, based on the intensity — how many people are involved — and also on the duration — how long would an entity be in a particular (place). That’s the reason pools are not in Stage 2, because individuals coming together, if they’re not household members, just increases the risk for transmission. This is about gatherings. Again, to remind everyone, we are at zero gatherings at this time. We are doing that in accordance with the state.”

Beaches are open, so ocean swimming is an option. But golf courses, parks, and tennis courts have reopened in the Golden State, and the push is on to have pools join that list. Reopening of private pools in other portions of the state have sparked controversy.

“I think it’s a matter of we haven’t pled our case yet,” said Sally Taggart, the general chair of San Diego-Imperial Swimming. “Now is the time to pull this all together. We have the plan, we know how to do it, let’s start doing it. I think the time is right. Maybe two or three weeks ago, it was right for golf. I’m happy people are playing golf, that’s great. I just want people to be able to swim in a pool as well. From my perspective, it’s equally safe.”

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

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12 comments

  1. Kristina Olson

    USA has pretty much canceled WY swimming too with our Summer State in July.

    • Donald P. Spellman

      Kristina Olson : Most LSCs need to cancel summer championship meets mainly due to the amount of athletes, officials, coaches, and spectators that attend those style of events.

    • Lisa Ernsberger

      Indiana cancelled summer state but mainly due to the campus we use rules. 😢

  2. Lori C Taylor

    Ok. How are swimmers supposed to get ready for the 2021 Olympics

  3. avatar
    Ward Foley

    Northern Virginia Swim League has also cancelled, 105 neighborhood teams cancelled. There is a question if the pools are even going to open.

  4. Sara Greenwood

    Open them up in the UK the UK government care more about cafes and restaurants and pubs and shops and cinemas don’t care about us keeping fit if they can open up those things they should open up fitness centres as well. Chlorine would kill the virus anyway not taking changing rooms as a excuse. Telling me that fitness centres are dirty cafes are just as bad I find 9 tables that haven’t been cleared or cleared and can’t find anywhere to sit.

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