by Laura Kocum
on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 at 4:23pm.
Maybe it's the long winters that make Madison a huge city for summer swimming. Or perhaps it's the many lakes that create a love for all things water. But for years, the city has made it onto Speedo's top 10 list for swim cities. This year, Madison is ranked number 6 on Speedo's list. Speedo includes Madison because it has at least 24 pools available for water recreation- that's more than double the number found in other similar size places. In addition, the city boasts one of the largest outdoor swim meets in the nation: All City Swim and Dive. Thirteen area pools participate in this meet, while providing a sense of community, family recreation and competition for budding swimmers.
All City Swim and Dive takes place again this year, July 27-August 1. The tradition dates back to 1972. Swimmers 18 and under get to participate, and represent their neighborhood pool at the event. Hundreds of swimmers and thousands of spectators come to see the races. The event rotates through area pools and is driven by volunteers. This year, divers will compete at Seminole Pool and swimmers will race at High Point. It's sure to be a lively event. Coaches of the various teams come dressed in costume, swimmers don their team apparel (look for Hill Farm's cow suits), and cheering can be heard for blocks. And while it's truly a competition, it's also a welcoming place for beginning swimmers to learn how to race.
To participate in All City, swimmers need to be part of a swim team, and need to have competed at least 3 times during the summer meets.
Three of the participating pools are open to the public. They include Goodman Pool, operated by the City of Madison, Middleton Pool, a City of Middleton facility, and Monona Pool, run by the City of Monona.
Three other pools on the list are part of country clubs. They include Hawks Landing, a far west side location adjacent to Hawks Landing golf club, Maple Bluff, a northeast club located along Lake Mendota, and Nakoma, a golf club located near the west side of town.