Today, aquatic sports and activities rank high among Americans’ favorite ways to recreate. Not only do we love to splash and play on a hot summer day, we’re also more keen than ever to support professional swimmers during big events like the Olympics. Still, a surprising number of folks across the country don’t know how to swim. We’ve gathered some striking stats on the way swimming as sport and recreation has changed over the years — the numbers might surprise you.
660,000: Gallons of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool.
25-27: Hours the American Red Cross requires for a certification in lifeguarding.
309,000: Number of public swimming pools in the United States as of 2004.
91 million: Number of people over the age of 16 who swim in oceans, lakes and rivers each year in the United States.
4: Where swimming ranks on the list of most popular recreational activities in the United States.
301 million: Number of visits by persons over the age of six to a swimming facility during 2009.
2,500: Number of private in-ground pools in the United States in 1950.
5.2 million: Number of private in-ground pools in the United States in 2009.
65: Percent of Americans who do not know how to swim.
650: Calories burned during one hour of constant swimming.
1896: The year swimming became an Olympic event.