COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the best swim city in America for the second consecutive year, according to a second-annual study commissioned by USA Swimming and leading swimwear company Speedo USA. San Jose-Santa Clara repeated as runner-up and San Francisco-Oakland climbed two spots to give the Bay Area the second and third positions.
Rounding out the top 10 in the 50 Top Swim Cities, Presented by Speedo, were Durham, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Madison, Wisconsin; Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina; Fort Collins, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut.
Ann Arbor's stronghold as the best swim city in America can be attributed, in part, to having the largest percentage of top USA Swimming athletes per population. More than 60 Olympians, including 2012 Olympic champion Tyler Clary and fellow gold medalist Tom Dolan, have emerged from University of Michigan's swim program and respective USA Swimming clubs. With the second highest number of pool facilities per population of any city in the country, swimming is highly accessible to its residents.
"People love swimming in Ann Arbor and the community rallies around the sport. 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," said Clary, a Team Speedo athlete. "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."
California (five cities in the top 17 spots) and Colorado (four in the top 16) were the highest-ranking states.
Washington, D.C., moved into the top 10 for the first time. Honolulu, Hawaii, had the largest jump at 77 spots, moving from 126 in 2014 to 49 this year, and Nashville, Tennessee, gained 64 spots from 102 to 38. The biggest movers within the top 50 were Tucson, Arizona, which climbed from 42 to 20 and Tallahassee, Florida, which moved up 15 spots from 27 to 12, nearly cracking the top 10.
"The top swim cities showcase what's great about the sport of swimming, from strong community involvement to accessibility and Olympic champions," said Matt Farrell, Chief Marketing Officer for USA Swimming. "We want to invite people of all ages across the country to join the sport of swimming and we hope this list inspires more kids and families to get involved."
"We have seen a trend of more people getting in the water each year, and we hope this annual study will continue to inspire swimmers of all ages and levels across the country," said Jim Gerson, President of Speedo USA. "Speedo products enable everyone to dive in and tap the power of the water for fitness - whether you're a competitive swimmer, an elite athlete or someone who just likes to work out."
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, number of qualifying swimmers for high level competitions like the Speedo Sectionals, 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 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.
SOURCE USA Swimming