February is Black History Month, and as a swim school, we are so thrilled to share how Cullen Jones is making an impact on swim safety, drowning prevention and swim education across the nation. Cullen Jones is a 4-time Olympic medalist and the first African American to break a long-course record in swimming in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay at the Beijing Olympic Games.
At just 5 years old, Jones nearly drowned while at an amusement park with his family. Shortly after, his parents enrolled him in swim lessons and he went on to become a huge success in the swim world, winning Today, Jones has made it his passion and mission to help prevent drowning and promote swim education and safety.
Drowning claims more than 3,500 lives each year, with nearly a quarter of those losses children under 14 years old. Formal swim lessons can make a huge difference in preventing a tragedy, and Jones has partnered with USA Swimming to promote swim lessons for every child, and to help bridge the minority swim gap. It’s been reported that more than 60% of African American children are unable to swim, according to a 2017 study by the USA Swimming Foundation. The fatality rate for African American children was nearly 3 times higher than those of white children in 2007, according to the CDC.
Jones is helping change those statistics and supports swim lessons for all children. He was the founder of USA Swimming’s “Make a Splash” program, making him a role model for young swimmers across the nation. Through his program he’s focused on increasing access to formal swim lessons, swim safety and education, particularly in underserved communities. Formal swimming lessons can help reduce the likelihood of drowning by nearly 90%, according to the USA Swimming Foundation.
As Jones works to bring awareness, safety and education to the water, we are grateful for his determination to make the water safer for kids. If you’d like to learn more about Cullen Jones and his mission to prevent drowning, please visit USA Swimming.