When It Comes to World-Class Swimming, California in League of Its Own

When It Comes to World-Class Swimming, California in League of Its Own
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Few states have cranked out world-class swimmers quite like California, including nine-time Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz and 2020 Olympic Games silver medalist Erika Brown.

With the 20th edition of the World Aquatics Championships being held July 14-30 in Fukuoka, Japan, it us got thinking about where the best swimmers heading to Japan are from.

Utilizing Wikipedia.com’s results of both the men’s and women’s events for all 20 years, BetCalifornia.com found the 181 unique U.S.-born swimmers who have won either a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal at the World Aquatics Championships. We utilized their biographies to find the states that have produced the best swimmers.

Here’s where California ranks among the best states at producing swimming talent, based on the raw number and percentage of U.S. medalists that hail from the Golden State.  

There is no legal California sports betting on swimming or any other events.

A referendum to legalize wagering in the state failed in 2022 and won’t go before voters again until at least 2024.

States With Most WAC Swimming Medalists

RankStateNumber Of U.S. Medalists% Of U.S. Medalists
2New York158.3%
T-7New Jersey73.9%

When sports betting does become legal in the state, BetCalifornia.com will have California sportsbook promos to use when wagering on swimming and all other sports.

California Swimmers Lap the Field

Unsurprisingly, given the state’s ample sunshine and top-notch collegiate programs, California is the nation’s leader in both the number of swimming medalists (46) at the World Championships and percentage of medalists overall from the U.S. (25.4%) — dwarfing the next closest state (New York, at 15 and 8.3%).

Nationally, California’s 46 medalists exceed the next three closest states (New York, Illinois and Florida) combined, with those three states having 37 medalists between them.

Data aside, there’s no doubt Californians are exceptionally strong swimmers, with the sheer volume of medalists hailing from the Golden State illustrating the region’s connection with the sport at large.

As we zoom towards the Summer Olympics (Paris 2024), don’t be surprised if another cast of fresh-faced Californians lead the charge for the U.S. in the pool, carrying on a legacy that includes some of the sport’s brightest stars.



Christopher Boan
Reporter / Journalist

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetCalifornia.com, specializing in sports betting issues in the western United States. He's covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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