Austin ranks No. 5 on list of America’s top swimming cities

Austin ranks No. 5 in a list of America's best swim cities. Olympian Brendan Hansen lives here. PAM LEBLANC/Austin American-Statesman
Austin ranks No. 5 in a list of America’s best swim cities. Olympian Brendan Hansen lives here. PAM LEBLANC/Austin American-Statesman

Austin climbed three notches to the No. 5 spot on a list of the best swim cities in America.

The study, by USA Swimming and Speedo, ranked cities based on statistics including the number of fitness swimmers, swimming clubs and pools.

I credit the University of Texas, along with iconic swimming holes like Barton Springs and Lake Travis, for our high ranking. A bunch of former Olympians, including Brendan Hansen, who now heads the swimming program at Austin Aquatics & Sports Center, live here. We’ve got plenty of organized swim programs for adults and children, too. (I swim with the U.S. Masters program at Western Hills Athletic Club, also known as Rollingwood Pool.)

Ann Arbor topped the list. Also in the Top 10 were San Jose-Santa Clara, San Francisco-Oakland; Durham, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina; Fort Collins, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut.

“Something special is happening in and around Austin with our propensity for active lifestyles,” Mike Koleber, head coach of Nitro Swim, said in a press release. “In turn, that promotes active families who know the benefits of swimming. We’re doing our part to show as many kids as we can how to have fun and swim fast.”

Researchers looked at the number of USA Swimming and U.S. Masters swimmers, the number of USA Swimming clubs, and the number of swimmers who qualified for high level competitions like the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games. It also tallied the numbers of competitive and fitness swimmers and the number of swim facilities open to the public.

To see the complete list, go here.

To find a nearby swim club, go here.

Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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