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Cullen Jones is the first African American to hold a world record in swimming and he is making a commitment to help save lives.

Motivated by the fact that 57% of African American and Hispanic kids can’t swim and are drowning at disproportionate rates, Jones has partnered with ConocoPhillips and the USA Swimming Foundation for “Make a Splash” with Cullen Jones, a national water safety campaign that kicks off in Houston May 20th.

Jones will educate parents and kids about the availability of low-to-no-cost swim lessons in communities across the country while promoting an on-line giving program to help fund swim lessons for kids in need.

“I didn’t learn how to swim to become an Olympic champion,” said Jones. “I learned how to swim, because when I was five years old, I almost drowned. Every summer these tragedies happen and we talk about how they could have been prevented; yet every year the statistics remain the same. I am committed to a real solution and with the help of USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative and ConocoPhillips, we can do it.”

In addition to Houston, “Make a Splash with Cullen Jones” will visit five other cities this year — Indianapolis, Seattle, Kansas City, Denver and Los Angeles -where he will meet with community leaders, parents and children to deliver a stark message – the ability to swim is a life-and-death issue. He also will focus on increasing funding for learn-to-swim initiatives across the country by soliciting donations to the Make a Splash/Sponsor a Swim Lesson program.

Make a Splash, the national, child-focused water safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation, began in 2007. In two years, more than 37,000 kids have gone through Make a Splash swimming lessons. Make a Splash works by aligning the nation’s top learn-to-swim providers in an effort to save lives. Currently, there are 68 providers giving free or low-cost water safety instruction across the country. For more information, or to donate or sponsor a swim lesson for a child in need, go to www.makeasplash.org.

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