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Aug. 7, 2012
So far in the 2012 London Olympics, former NC State All-American swimmer Cullen Jones is the ACC's most decorated. Jones was a member of Team USA's 4x100M freestyle relay team, along with Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, that won a silver medal. He was also a member of Team USA's 4x100M medley relay team that eventually won gold, swimming in the preliminary heat. Individually, he took home silver in the 50M freestyle event.
As a three-time medalist in this year's Olympics, Jones proved he is one of the world's best swimmers. How did he become involved in the sport?
You would never know it by Jones' current accomplishments, but he nearly drowned at the age of 5 at an amusement park water ride. Jones was unresponsive after being pulled from the water and CPR had to be administered. Rather than let the incident deter Jones from ever getting back into the water, Jones overcame his fears to become an Olympic Champion.
In addition, Jones used his childhood drowning as an inspiration for something else. He is the national spokesman for Make a Splash, the child-focused safety campaign of the US Swimming Foundation and Conoco-Phillips. He became involved with the Make a Splash initiative after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where he swam on the 4x100M freestyle relay team that won a gold medal in world record time.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death among children. According to Jones "These drownings are preventable. It's two words: swim lesson."
"This initiative has been a very, very big part of my life in the past five years. We are seeing the numbers changing, so it's been a success."
This may not be the last we see of Jones in the Olympics either. He may be aiming for Rio in 2016, and we hope to see him there, swimming for more gold.