Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the best swim city in America, according to a new study commissioned by USA Swimming and leading swimwear brand Speedo. The community claimed the highest aggregate score in categories such as percentage of active swimmers and swim clubs, number of accessible pools and volume of top-level swimmers from the area.
The 50 Top Swim Cities
, presented by Speedo
, ranked San Jose-Santa Clara, California second, followed by Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut; San Francisco-Oakland; Fort Collins, Colorado; Madison, Wisconsin; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles-Orange County and Indianapolis.
“It’s no surprise that Ann Arbor is the top swim city in America considering the strength of the swimming community and how many great swimmers and world record holders have come out of the area,” commented legendary former University of Michigan and Club Wolverine swimming coach, Jon Urbancheck. “I lived and coached in Ann Arbor for thirty years and I can’t think of a better place for swimming.”
Swimming’s popularity in Ann Arbor may be attributed, in part, to the city’s rich history of the sport at the Olympic and local level. More than 60 Olympians have emerged from University of Michigan’s swim program and respective USA Swimming clubs. Gold medalists Tyler Clary and Tom Dolan started their journey in Ann Arbor before taking a place atop the podium. In the last year, swimming participation grew 16 percent in Michigan, validating the sport’s significant impact within the community.
“These cities represent the best of the sport in America by placing focus on both community involvement on swim teams and Olympic headline makers,” said Matt Farrell, Chief Marketing Officer for USA Swimming. “This list can be an inspiration for kids and families everywhere to get involved in a sport that accommodates all lifestyles.”
“The swimming community is the core of the Speedo brand and we are proud to recognize these 50 cities for their leadership in the sport,” said Speedo USA President Jim Gerson. “These cities – and all the swimmers in each – are terrific ambassadors for our sport and an example of how, and why, participation in swimming continues to grow.”
Other notable facts about the 10 cities ranked 2-10 include:
- San Jose-Santa Clara: This hotbed for swimming owns the most USA Swimming members per 1,000 people and the largest multicultural make-up of any region. Legends Mark Spitz and Donna de Varona grew up in the area.
- Raleigh-Durham: Offers access to a large number of pool facilities for robust summer league participation, plus boasts a high percentage of top-performing athletes in USA Swimming competitions.
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk: Possesses one of the greatest national indexes for number of USA Swimming clubs, USA Swimming members and top-performing athletes.
- San Francisco-Oakland: Owns the biggest collection of U.S. Masters (adult) swimmers and is also home to Olympic Gold Medalists Natalie Coughlin and Nathan Adrian, among many others.
- Fort Collins: Scored very high in the number of USA Swimming members, clubs and top-performing swimmers relative to its population.
- Madison: Ranks second of all cities on the index for USA Swimming members and is among the top for number of facilities within city limits.
- Austin: Renowned for its active lifestyle, the city flaunts a large population of those who swim for fitness and also a high percentage of residents who are USA Swimming members, and a number of Olympic champions including Brendan Hansen.
- Los Angeles-Orange County: The massive population is filled with quality pool facilities and is the birthplace of numerous Olympic Gold Medalists, including Jessica Hardy.
- Indianapolis: Home to multiple USA Swimming national meets, the area boasts a high percentage of clubs and active members within the region’s population base. Local Carmel High School has won 28-straight state swimming titles.
The ranking index was developed through a comparison of each city’s swim-related attributes relative to the overall U.S. population. Key elements included the number of current USA swimming members, number of U.S. Masters (adult) swimmers
and number of USA Swimming Clubs. The study also looked at the number of qualifying swimmers for high level competitions like the Speedo Champions Series, Speedo Junior Nationals, Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships, Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games, as well as Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) participation data, including the numbers of competitive and fitness swimmers, and the number of swim facilities open to the public in each city.
The complete list of the 50 Top Swim Cities can be found here. To find out more about swimming and access resources to locate a nearby swim club, go to SwimToday.org.
The research study was commissioned by USA Swimming and Speedo in partnership with SRi and Sports Marketing Surveys, the official research provider to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.