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US Olympic Swim Team: A Microcosm Of American Swimming- SGMA Studies Show Senior Swimming Trend

Date: 8/6/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 6, 2008- Swimming is not just for teenage sensations. The composition of the current U.S Olympic swim team is a reflection of the sport’s interest to young and old in the United States. According to research by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) , 41 year old Dara Torres’ role on the U.S swim team is symbolic of the sport’s appeal to older Americans. Back in the U.S., 43% of all swimmers are 35 and older and 50% of frequent swimmers (who use the pool more than 100 times a year) are female.

According to SGMA, there are 18,694,000 fitness/competitive swimmers in the U.S. Nearly 20% of these swimmers use the pool more than 100 times a year. Almost 75% of those swimmers are older than 25 and half are female. Over the last six years, there has been in an overall increase in participation by nearly 13%. It’s also worth noting 46% of all swimmers live in cities with at least 2,000,000 people and a third have a college degree or higher.

As far as crossover appeal is concerned, the top three ‘other’ athletic pursuits for swimmers are aquatic exercise, bicycling, and basketball. In terms of sports apparel purchases, swimwear had $2.432 billion, ranking it third behind outerwear and shirts/tops.

FYI: Television viewers can tune in to see Michael Phelps’ quest for eight gold medals beginning on August 10th when he competes in the 400m individual medley. Torres, a five-time Olympian, will chase gold in the 50m freestyle starting August 15th.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, your #1 source for sport and fitness research and author of the single-sport participation study on swimming, is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA leads the sports and fitness industries while enhancing industry vitality and fostering sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation. More information about SGMA can be found at www.sgma.com.

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