The Bay Area is America's swim central.
San Jose-Santa Clara ranked second while San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont was fifth, according to a study of the country's best swim cities commissioned by USA Swimming and Speedo. The scores were based on the percentage of active swimmers, swim clubs, pools and elite athletes. The Bay Area's place is bolstered by the stellar men's and women's swim programs at Cal and Stanford.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, was ranked first with Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, third behind the South Bay. The Connecticut corridor of Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk finished ahead of San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont.
San Jose-Santa Clara had the most USA Swimming members per 1,000 people and the most diversity of any region studied. The South Bay got a boost from the rich history of the Santa Clara Swim Club that has produced 51 Olympic gold medals and annually plays host a major international meet.
"San Jose, Santa Clara and the Bay Area represent the best of the sport in America by placing focus on both community involvement on swim teams and Olympic headline makers," said Matt Farrell, USA Swimming's chief marketing officer.
San Francisco-Oakland made the top five thanks to Berkeley's Olympic stars Natalie Coughlin, Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin. The area also had the country's largest number of masters swimmers.
A list of the 50 top swim cities can be found at: www.usaswimming.org/50TopSwimCities.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.