The top swimmers in the league competing against each other in their best events! NINE records were broken by FOUR swimmers this year! This year's meet was again held at the Four Seasons Sports Complex in Hampstead, Carroll County on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. To quote CMSL President, Mike Kremer, "What a great day! Great weather, great swims, and as usual a meet well-staffed by the collective efforts of families across our league.
The officials did a great job running a quick meet; probably one of the earlier finishes we have had in several years. And NINE new CMSL records – a record in itself! At this year's Straehle meet, there were nine records broken by four swimmers, which is also a record. This was not only due to the spectacular weather on Wednesday, but also due to the extensive experience of the CMSL Board and Four Seasons swim club in hosting this event and their efforts related to planning, preparing for and conducting the event. The meet is an invitational meet where each swimmer must achieve a qualifying time for a specific event to participate. The qualifying times are set and reviewed by the CMSL Board of Directors at the beginning of each season.
CMSL’s first season was 1973 and the League Individual Championships were held to allow top swimmers in the league to compete against each other. At that time there were not the large number of USA or AAU swimming meets available that there are today. In the early years the qualifying times were for the next year were determined by the finishing times from the previous year. The 16th fastest time recorded at the meet was the qualifying time for the next season. Eventually, the suggestion was made to increase the size of the meet and the time standards were adjusted so that the meet could be completed within an overall time limit. The name of the meet was changed in 1991 to honor, Betty and Bill Straehle, who were very involved with the founding and operation of the league for many years. Bill Straehle passed away in 1990 and had officiated the championship and served as Officials Chairman that year.
The Straehle Invitational meet is now held annually during the last week of the season, just before the Divisional Championship meets, and takes place at one of the 50 CMSL clubs. To participate in individual events, times submitted must have been swum in a dual meet during the season, and must be equal to or faster than the Straehle qualifying times. The Straehle championship meet is held to provide the opportunity for the top swimmers in the league to compete against each other in their best events. Over the years the meet has been held at various member pools such as Padonia Park Swim Club, Andover Swim Club, UMBC, Meadowbrook Swim Club, South Carroll Swim Club and now Four Seasons.
The Central Maryland Swimming League (CMSL) provides competitive summer swimming programs for children of member pools to help advance aquatic skills, promote teamwork and principles of good sportsmanship, and develop a love of the sport. The league is comprised of 50 teams separated into nine divisions across four counties and Baltimore City. Division membership is determined each year based on the performance of a team during the previous year and may change from year to year. Each athlete, coach and team representative is an AAU member. With over 5,000 members, CMSL is the largest swimming organization within AAU.
The league provides swimmers with several levels of competition to assist in their development as athletes and well-rounded individuals. The official season consists of five dual meets, a league-wide invitational meet called the Straehle championship meet for which swimmers must have achieved minimum qualifying times, and divisional championship meets at the end of the season. All dual meets are held at member pools on Saturday mornings in June and July. Many teams also organize additional inter-divisional and novice meets throughout the season to provide more opportunities for competition and fun. Some examples include competitive time trials, county-based invitational meets, rock-and-roll relays and dive-in movies. All CMSL meets have the same event structure which is separated by age and gender. The order of each CMSL event is IM, Freestyle, Butterfly, Breast Stroke and Relays. The distance of the events vary by age group.
The CMSL also works to assure that both swimmers and parents alike have a positive introduction to swimming as well as a positive social interaction.