For the second consecutive year, a study commissioned by USA Swimming tabbed Ann Arbor, Mich., as the country’s best swimming city.

By SI Wire
July 14, 2015

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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

USA Swimming

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