For the second consecutive year, a study commissioned by USA Swimming tabbed Ann Arbor, Mich., as the country’s best swimming city.
Ann Arbor’s has the largest percentage of top USA Swimming athletes per population and the second-highest number of pool facilities per population of any city in the country. More than 60 Olympians came through the University of Michigan’s swim program, including 2012 Olympic champion Tyler Clary and fellow gold medalist Tom Dolan.
“People love swimming in Ann Arbor and the community rallies around the sport,” Clary said. “This honor is also a testament to the University of Michigan swim program and how it has inspired the entire city of Ann Arbor to get in the water. The combination of Club Wolverine, the university, city residents and Club Wolverine Swim Camp as one of the most successful swim camps in the country, is evidence of why the Ann Arbor swim community is so great.”
Behind Ann Arbor in the top 10 are the following cities and regions: San Jose-Santa Clara, Calif.; San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.; Durham, N.C.; Austin, Texas; Madison, Wis.; Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Washington, D.C., and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
The full list can be found below or on USA Swimming's website.
California was the highest-ranking state with five cities in the top 17 spots, and Colorado was second with four in the top 16.
“Colorado was a great place to grow up as a swimmer and I have so many fond memories of competing in Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs and of course, my hometown of Denver," four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin said.
The study, which was commissioned by USA Swimming and Speedo in partnership with SRi and Sports Marketing Surveys, compiled the rankings based on an aggregate score in categories including percentage of active swimmers and swim clubs, number of accessible pools and volume of top-level swimmers from the area.
GALLERY: Michael Phelps' SI Covers
Michael Phelps' SI Covers
August 2, 2004
Though Michael Phelps strove for eight golds in Greece, he settled for six golds and two bronze.
August 23, 2004
Getting along swimmingly, Michael Phelps' successes continue to ring true with each broken record dating back to Athens.
February 3, 2005
In between Olympiads, Maryland native Michael Phelps was a big fish in the NCAA pools of Ann Arbor, Mich..
July 28, 2008
Seeking circular closure to his goal for eight golds, Michael Phelps emerged as the face of the Beijing Olympics prior to the opening ceremonies.
August 18, 2008
Michael Phelps got his feet and swimsuit wet before winning his first three events, including the men's 4 x100 freestyle relay.
August 25, 2008
With eight gold medals hanging from his neck, Michael Phelps posed for SI's exclusive cover portrait after completing his Beijing swim through history.
December 8, 2008
Michael Phelps graced the cover for the seventh time after he was named the 2008 Sports Illustrated Sportsman Of The Year.
December 31, 2012
After a voting campaign that reached millions of sports fans across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the fans had spoken. Michael Phelps capping off his storied career at the London 2012 Summer Olympics was Sports Illustrated’s 2012 Moment of The Year.
Five fast facts
• Michael Phelps, an 18-time gold medalist and SI's Sportsman of the Year in 2008, is from the Baltimore-Towson, Md., region, which rose four spots to No. 36 in this year's rankings.
• The San Jose-Santa Clara region, where swimming legends Mark Spitz and Donna de Varona grew up, has the largest multicultural make-up of swimmers of any region in the country. The Santa Clara Swim Club has produced 51 Olympic gold medals, 17 silver and 12 bronze.
• Home to 10 percent of the country’s U.S. Masters Swimmers—more than any other city—the San Francisco-Oakland region produced Olympic gold medalists Natalie Coughlin and Nathan Adrian. “Living here has helped me become the swimmer I am today," Coughlin said.
• The fourth-most populated city in Texas, Austin has the eighth-highest number of top USA Swimming athletes despite ranking 40th in population.
• The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region has 24 swim clubs, most among population areas below 1 million people.
GALLERY: Classic Photos of Natalie Coughlin
Classic Photos of Natalie Coughlin
A 20-year-old Coughlin poses with her four gold medals after the 2002 Pan Pacific Championships.
Natalie Coughlin poses in her Cal swimsuit during an SI photo shoot in May 2003.
Coughlin competes in the 100m butterfly during the 10th World Swimming Championships in Barcelona in 2003.
Jenny Thompson, Lindsay Benko, Natalie Coughlin and Amanda Beard
The women's 4x100m relay team (from left) Jenny Thompson, Lindsay Benko, Natalie Coughlin and Amanda Beard show off their silver after claiming second at the 10th World Swimming Championships in Barcelona.
Amanda Beard, Michael Phelps, Jenny Thompson and Natalie Coughlin
Olympians (from left) Amanda Beard, Michael Phelps, Jenny Thompson and Natalie Coughlin pose on the Athens beach during the 2004 Olympics.
Natalie Coughlin and Amanda Beard
Coughlin (left) and teammate Amanda Beard throw the ceremonial pitch at a Dodgers game on Sept. 15, 2004.
Coughlin won gold in the 100m backstroke at the Athens Olympics. She went on to defend her medal at the Beijing Olympics, becoming the first woman to defend her medal in that event.
Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer, Carly Piper and Kaitlin Sandeno
Team USA's 4x200m relay teammates (from left) Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer, Carly Piper and Kaitlin Sandeno celebrate with their gold medals after setting a world record in the event at the 2004 Olympics.
Coughlin celebrates after setting a world record in the 100m backstroke at the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne in March 2007.
Al Roker, Katie Couric, Natalie Coughlin and Matt Lauer
Coughlin appeared on "The Today Show" to blow out her birthday candles on Aug. 23, 2004
Coughlin dives into action at the start of the 100m freestyle finals during the Santa Clara International Meet in 2006.
Natalie Coughlin and Margaret Hoelzer
Coughlin (left) and teammate bronze medalist Margaret Hoelzer celebrate during the medal ceremony for the 100m backstroke final during the Beijing Olympics.
Garrett Weber-Gale, Ryan Lochte, Dara Torres, Aaron Piersol, Katie Hoff, Margaret Hoelzer, Cullen Jones and Natalie Coughlin
Coughlin (far right) poses with part of Swimming Team USA before the 2008 Olympics.
Natalie Coughlin, Kara-Lynn Joyce, Lacey Nymeyer and Dara Torres
Coughlin (far left) and teammates Kara-Lynn Joyce, Lacey Nymeyer and Dara Torres flash their medals after taking second in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the Beijing Olympics.
Amanda Beard, Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin and Kate Ziegler
Amanda Beard, Michael Phelps, Coughlin and Kate Ziegler debut the new high-tech swimsuits used in the 2008 Games.
Alec Mazo and Natalie Coughlin
During her swimming hiatus, Coughlin appeared on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2009 with partner Alec Mazo, and competed in the first five episodes.
During the year and a half she took off from swimming, Coughlin arrives at US Weekly's Hot Hollywood party on Nov. 19, 2009.
Coughlin poses for a portrait at the Meet Team USA Media Summit, one of many stops on her way to her third Olympics.
Coughlin, the first American woman to win six medals in an Olympiad, poses during the Meet Team USA Media Summit 2012.
The three-time Olympian attends the London 2012 Olympic Games announcement in New York City in 2012.
USA Swimming’s Top 50 U.S. Swim Cities
1. Ann Arbor, Mich.
2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
4. Durham, N.C.
5. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
6. Madison, Wisc.
7. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.
8. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
9. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.
10. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
11. Boulder, Colo.
12. Tallahassee, Fla.
13. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.
14. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria, Calif.
15. Colorado Springs, Colo.
16. Denver-Aurora, Colo.
17. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.
18. Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.
19. Anchorage, Alaska
20. Tucson, Ariz.
21. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.
22. Reno-Sparks, Nev.
23. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif.
24. Lexington-Fayette, Ky.
25. Trenton-Ewing, N.J.
26. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
27. Columbus, Ohio
28. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wisc.
29. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas
30. Lincoln, Neb.
31. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C.
32. South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind.-Mich.
33. Pittsburgh, Penn.
34. Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, Calif.
35. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn-Wisc.
36. Baltimore-Towson, Md.
37. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
38. Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro, Tenn.
39. Richmond, Va.
40. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H.
41. Holland-Grand Haven, Mich.
42. Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.
43. Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.
44. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.
45. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Penn.-N.J.-Del.-Md.
46. Jacksonville, Fla.
47. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill.
48. Knoxville, Tenn.
49. Honolulu, Hawaii
50. Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb-Iowa