“50 Top Swim Cities, Presented by ‘Speedo’” showcases the country’s most swim-friendly communities
Durham, North Carolina is the No. 4 swim city in America and Raleigh ranked at No. 7, according to a second-annual study commissioned by USA Swimming and leading swimwear company Speedo USA. Ann Arbor secured the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive year.
Rounding out the top 10 in the 50 Top Swim Cities, Presented by Speedo, were San Jose-Santa Clara, who repeated as runner-up; San Francisco-Oakland; Austin, Texas; Madison, Wisconsin; Fort Collins, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut.
“Many people may not know how avid swimming is in Raleigh and Durham, but with both recognized in the Top Swim Cities list, it’s clear the community actively participates in this great sport,” said Olympic gold medalist, former N.C. State swimmer and Team Speedo athlete, Cullen Jones. “Some might think of North Carolina as ‘hoops country,’ but it’s clear to me this is swimming country.”
“We are very proud to live in the Raleigh/Durham area, where swimming is so strong that it earned two spots on the top 10 list of swim cities this year,” said Paul Silver, head coach of the Marlins of Raleigh. “Our strong summer league with more than 10,000 swimmers provides a fertile pipeline of swimmers to USA Swimming clubs that has led to many Olympic Trials qualifiers. Swimming is a big part of our culture, just like football is in Texas or hockey in Minnesota.”
Swimming is undoubtedly popular in the Durham/Raleigh region. One in 10 Durham residents report they swim for fitness, while a large number of U.S. Masters swimmers, USA Swimming members, fitness swimmers and top USA Swimmers live in the Raleigh area. The Triangle area is also home to successful college programs at Duke, N.C. State and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
“Cities like Durham and Raleigh 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.”
Ann Arbor retained its stronghold as the top-ranked city, in part because the community has 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.
California (five cities in the top 17 spots) and Colorado (four in top 16) were the highest-ranking states.
Washington, D.C., moved into the top 10 for the first time and numerous other cities broke into the top 50 this year. 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.
Each city’s ranking is 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. Cities in the top 50 had an MSA population of 250,000 or higher.
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 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. USA Swimming National Team members were assigned to their hometown club, if different than their current association. This is a change from the 2014 rankings when athletes counted toward their active club.
The complete list of the 50 Top Swim Cities can be found at: www.usaswimming.org/50TopSwimCities. To find out more about swimming and access resources to locate a nearby swim club, go to: www.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.
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About USA Swimming
As the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 400,000-member service organization that promotes the culture of swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. Our membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team, as well as coaches and volunteers. USA Swimming is responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Olympic Games, and strives to serve the sport through its core objectives: Build the base, Promote the sport, Achieve competitive success. For more information, visit www.usaswimming.org.
Speedo is the world’s leading swimwear brand. The teams at Speedo USA are passionate about life in and around the water, creating revolutionary new technologies, designs and innovations, and supporting swimming from the grassroots to the elite level. In the 1920’s, Speedo made history with the Racerback, the world’s first non-wool suit. In 2008, Speedo redefined swimwear again with Fastskin LZR RACER, one of the fastest and most technologically advanced swimsuits ever created; 2011 saw Speedo unveil another world first with the Fastskin Racing System – a cap, goggle and suit designed to work together as one. Speedo is owned by Speedo Holdings B.V. and distributed in over 170 countries around the world; in North America and the Caribbean, Speedo is licensed exclusively to Warnaco Swimwear Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PVH Corp. [NYSE: PVH]. To find out more, visit www.speedousa.com.
About Sponsorship Research International (SRi)
SRi is one of the world’s leading sports and lifestyle marketing research consultancies. As an industry pioneer with over 25 years of proven experience, SRi has helped some of the world’s leading brands, properties and agencies make sponsorship and experiential marketing accountable through custom designed research. During this time SRi has designed and implemented research studies across varied target audiences including the general public, event spectators or participants, company employees, business owners and business decision-makers to name a few. SRi employs a number of proprietary state of the art research techniques which help clients understand why their programs are impactful, which elements are driving impact and how to target the most receptive audience to maximize a program’s chance for success.
About SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS USA (SMS):
SMS is a full service market research organization dedicated to all things sports whether sports participation, sports product sales or insight into consumer behavior. Since 1985, SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS USA has been helping clients with critical, strategic information that empowers them to make better decisions. Areas of expertise include; sports participation research, dealer research, specialty retail POS data, consumer behavior, participation based geo-targeting, strategic consulting.
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