USA Swimming Releases Moving Graphic of Membership Geography (Video)

USA Swimming has released a cool visual look at its membership growth on the federation’s YouTube page.

You can see the short video above, which shows a fluctuating hotspot map of USA Swimming’s membership going back 11 years.

The obvious overall trend is growth in membership, with the reach of USA Swimming, the club system and the sport as a whole growing vastly over the passing decade.

Some of that, obviously, can be attributed to the rise of swimming in the public eye as a spectator sport, and to the establishment of high-profile swimming icons – most notably, Michael Phelps. The beginning of this map is the year 2004, in which Phelps first won 8 medals in a single Olympic Games at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Geographically speaking, you can see some former “white zones” fill in with new memberships. The East Coast fills in substantially, and the South goes from a few small pockets of members to a pretty well-spread membership. Farther west, formerly sparse areas like Wyoming and Montana see big growths in memberships, and of course California continues to have a big draw on swimmers.

You can check out the video above, or on the USA Swimming YouTube page here.

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Peter davis
5 years ago

Interesting, especially if you rip and slow down. Growth of Bolles, SwimMAC evident. Big move from SA to Austin. Anyone have any insights on why? Or into any other movements in the graphic? Just curious.

It’s clear why USA swimming thinks it wise to invest in centers of excellence. They should do it in underserved areas, where we can see it makes a major difference.

Reply to  Peter davis
5 years ago

In response to the Austin question: Nitro Swimming was created and shortly after exploded in size

St Coach
Reply to  CoachD
5 years ago

The Austin area has always had a strong representation in clubs and swimmers. The increase in number of swimmers in the Austin area is due to the exponential growth of Austin area in recent years. More bodies, more clubs, more swimmers.

Josh Douberly
Reply to  Peter davis
5 years ago

Totally agree. I live in Florida and swimming against Bolles and SwimMac is like watching a sea of swimmers walking into every event and just sighing knowing that you can’t win even if you can win every event because of their depth

Gold Medal Melanie
5 years ago

A wonderful video from US Swimming. Job well done! I especially like the use of the colors — especially YELLOW and RED — to help the viewer better understand what’s happening.

Perhaps they’ll use those colors (and others) in their lane line configuration for Olympic Trials in 2016 to help fans and spectators better identify who is in which lane throughout a race!

Again, job well done, US Swimming.

5 years ago

Increases in USA swimming membership numbers are jaw dropping since 2004 especially when compared side by side to participation levels which are declining in baseball-football-basketball-soccer. More pools built, Phelps effect, fear of concussions in other sports….who knows why and who cares. Nice job everyone. Below is a link to a WSJ article on declining numbers in other sports. Hopefully no pay-wall.

It would be interesting comparing USAS participation level increases to that of Australia, China and Europe.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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