Austin climbs to fourth on list of Best Swim Cities in America

Brendan Hansen heads the swim program at Austin Swimming & Sports Academy. Photo by Chris LeBlanc
Brendan Hansen heads the swim program at Austin Aquatics & Sports Academy. Photo by Chris LeBlanc


Austin climbed a notch to the No. 4 spot on a list of the best swim cities in America.

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

And considering the spring-fed pool in the middle of the city, the overabundance of swim champions who live here, that stellar swim program at the University of Texas, and all the U.S. Masters swim teams, it’s not surprising. (I swim with the U.S. Masters program at Western Hills Athletic Club, also known as Rollingwood Pool, and love training alongside several former UT swimmers – and lots of folks more my speed.)

The San Jose-Santa Clara area topped the list. Also in the top 10 were Ann Arbor, Mich.; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk; Madison, Wisc.; Washington, D.C.; Raleigh; Fort Collins, Colo.; Indianapolis-Carmel; and San Francisco-Oakland.

The study noted the high percentage of new USA Swimming members in Austin, as well as its club swimming scene. It also mentioned the high number of fitness swimmers, and the 50 former Olympians who live here.

“The City of Austin has become quite the mecca for club swimming,” Brendan Hansen, a six-time Olympic medalist who now heads the swimming program at Austin Aquatics & Sports Academy, said in a press release. “It’s really great to watch the sport I love become such a huge impact in the community I call home.”

Researchers looked at the number of USA Swimming members, the number of USA Swimming clubs, and the number of swimmers who qualified for high level competitions like the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships, the Speedo Junior Nationals, the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games. They 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.

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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