Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones advocates water safety

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When Olympic swimming gold medalist Cullen Jones asked students at Buffalo Creek Elementary School if they thought he’s ever almost drowned, not too many hands went up. Yourhoustonnews.com reports that the featured 2012 Make a Splash Tour speaker shared his own experiences with water safety with the students. “I think the reason they wanted me to be a part of this is because my story resonates with so many people, especially in the Hispanic or black community,” said Jones, the first African-American male to hold a world record in swimming.

Olympic swimming gold medalist Cullen Jones asked for a show of hands from students Wednesday at Spring Branch ISD’s Buffalo Creek Elementary School, gauging the responses from a line of true-or-false questions.

“I’m a swimmer,” Jones said. “How many of you guys think that’s true? My job is being a swimmer. “How many of you think I almost drowned?”

Predictably, significantly fewer hands were raised when Jones asked the second question. As the featured speaker of the 2012 Make a Splash Tour, presented by ConocoPhillips and the USA Swimming Foundation, the world champion freestyle swimmer shared his story of being submerged in a pool at age five at the end of a water park ride and needing to be resuscitated.

“The conductor told me to hold onto the inner tube like my dad made me promise,” Jones told the students. “I hit the bottom in a big pool of water and I flipped upside down. So I’m holding onto the inner tube and I’m upside down in the water. I got swim lessons right after that.”

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