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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Swimming Santa Clara Captures #1 In America

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The San Jose-Santa Clara, California, area topped the 2015 #1 city Ann Arbor, Michigan as America’s Top Swim City in a study commissioned by USA Swimming and Speedo USA. The land of channel swimmers, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk in Connecticut won its first bronze medal in the study.

2016 Top 10 Swim Cities in America:
1. San Jose-Santa Clara, California
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk in Connecticut
4. Austin, Texas
5. Madison, Wisconsin
6. Washington, D.C.
7. Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina
8 Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado
9. Indianapolis-Carmel, Indiana
10. San Francisco-Oakland, California

The swimming community is unlike any other, and I know that the support of my teammates and coaches, and the close bonds we developed during training, have inspired me to achieve at our sport’s highest level,” said four-time Olympic medalist Maya DiRado. “I understand first-hand the impact these swim cities have on individual swimmers – from elite athletes to those just beginning their competitive careers – and hope this survey and my USA teammates’ performances in Rio inspire more people to get in the water.”

San Jose-Santa Clara’s designation as the Top Swim City in America is due to a 36% growth of its USA Swimming membership, its highest USA Swimming membership per local population, and its 64 local pools.

Number of USA Swimming Members by Local Swim Committee:
1. Southern California Swimming 22,633 members
2. Illinois Swimming 19,951
3. Pacific Swimming 17,688 [where San Jose-Santa Clara is located]
4. Potomac Valley Swimming 11,696
5. Middle Atlantic Swimming 11,186
6. Florida Swimming 11,105
7. Indiana Swimming 10,976
8. Metropolitan Swimming 10,316
9. North Carolina Swimming 9,760
10. Michigan Swimming 9,480

The top city is anchored by the Santa Clara Swim Club, one of America's most successful swim teams as its swimmers have won 80 Olympic medals during its long history as a hotbed of competitive swimming. "It is a great honor for San Jose-Santa Clara to earn recognition as America’s Top Swim City. Aquatics has a deep history here, and the passion and commitment for aquatic sports is really a fabric of our community,” Santa Clara Swim Club Head Coach John Bitter said. “Our future is incredibly bright, including the new Haines International Swim Center, and our outstanding partnership with the city of Santa Clara will lead to more successes for America’s Top Swim City in the future.”

The top swim cities exemplifies all the qualities that make the sport of swimming great, with strong community involvement, ease of access and ability to grow the sport,” 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.”

Each city’s ranking is based on an aggregate score in categories including percentage of active swimmers and swim clubs, swim team growth, number of accessible pools, and the number of top swimmers from the area.

2015 Top Swim City Rankings and Population:
1. Ann Arbor, Michigan 348,971
2. San Jose, California 1,761,295
3. San Francisco, California 4,160,269
4. Durham, North Carolina 467,394
5. Austin, Texas 1,521,851
6. Madison, Wisconsin 550,312
7. Raleigh, North Carolina 1,009,431
8. Fort Collins, Colorado 280,068
9. Washington, D.C. 5,377,932
10. Bridgeport, Connecticut 909,970
11. Boulder, Colorado 284,607
12. Tallahassee, Florida 338,800
13. Los Angeles, California 13,133,921
14. Santa Barbara, California 401,253
15. Colorado Springs, Colorado 607,312
16. Denver, Colorado 2,429,088
17. San Luis Obispo, California 258,624
18. Indianapolis, Indiana 1,682,815
19. Anchorage, Alaska 363,582
20. Tucson, Arizona 955,724
21. Seattle, Washington 3,270,270
22. Reno, Nevada 415,540
23. Santa Rosa, California 468,963
24. Lexington, Kentucky 435,465
25. Trenton, New Jersey 372,123
26. Atlanta, Georgia 5,186,819
27. Columbus, Ohio 1,742,026
28. Chicago, Illinois 9,573,949
29. Houston, Texas 5,504,735
30. Lincoln, Nebraska 286,831
31. Charlotte, North Carolina 1,598,273
32. South Bend, Indiana 318,850
33. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2,369,879
34. Sacramento, California 2,136,139
35. Minneapolis, Minnesota 3,211,584
36. Baltimore, Maryland 2,695,688
37. Vallejo, California 417,427
38. Nashville, Tennessee 1,465,687
39. Richmond, Virginia 1,202,109
40. Boston, Massachusetts 4,417,045
41. Holland, Michigan 261,834
42. Cincinnati, Ohio 2,094,746
43. Kansas City, Missouri 1,989,400
44. Oxnard, Carson 812,013
45. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 5,876,616
46. Jacksonville, Florida 1,295,869
47. Davenport, Iowa 376,817
48. Knoxville, Tennessee 671,224
49. Honolulu, Hawaii 917,952
50. Omaha, Nebraska 828,741

"I may be a homer, but if you are talking about the Top Swim City in America, I think the sports of open water swimming, water polo, triathlon, and activities like masters swimming, paddling and even surfing should be taken into consideration," says Steven Munatones of Huntington Beach in Southern California.

"In terms of competitive swimmers, especially if high school swimmers are included, Southern California has the largest number of athletes and pools bar none. Additionally, the largest concentration of water polo players - bar none, all who swim for competition - are centered in Southern California. 75% of USA Water Polo's nearly 40,000 members are in California with a majority of those in the Orange County-Los Angeles County area.

Then, there is the large triathlete population, the large masters swimming population, the large surfing population (arguably the largest in the world), and miles of coastal shoreline where over 110 million person-visits occur each year. So if ocean swimming is included, it would be hard for any metropolitan area in America to outnumber the number of people who enjoy ocean swimming on an annual basis.

But quantity is only one measure. If elite athletes are included, Southern California is a hotbed of Olympic water polo players, masters swimmers, ocean swimmers, triathletes, and paddlers as well as competitive swimmers who train at teams like Mission Viejo Nadadores, Trojan Swim Club, Irvine Novas, Novamasters, Pasadena's Rose Bowl Aquatics, and many other teams and great coachs who have long and repeatedly sent their swimmers to the Olympics and world championships.

Then historically, if we consider elite open water swimmers, Southern California has Penny Dean, Lynne Cox, Paul Asmuth, Jordan Wilimovsky, Haley Anderson, Florence Chadwick, Greta Anderson, Jim McConica, and masters swimmers like Alex Kostich, Gerry Rodrigues, the Mighty Mermaids, and many others too numerous to name here."

But with a population base second only to the New York area, the percentage of swimmers is less than in other metropolitan areas in America's Top Swim City list so Southern California has it tip its swim cap to cities like Santa Clara and Ann Arbor
."

But it is great that all these areas are vying to get on this list. The more, the merrier.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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