#30MostSwimfluential: Cullen Jones

Photo Courtesy: Maddie Kyler

Who is Cullen Jones?

  • At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he swam the third leg of the epic 4x100m relay- helping break the world record and becoming only the second African American to win a gold medal in swimming.
  • Won three medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London- gold 400m medley relay team and silver in both the 50m free and 400m free relay.
  • Created The Cullen Jones Diversity Invitational (CJDI) sponsored by Speedo to drive awareness and the growth of swimming within minority communities throughout the country.
  • Gold medalist in the 4×100 freestyle relay at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships and 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Silver medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne in the 50m freestyle.
  • Current American record holder in the 50m freestyle.
  • The first African-American male to win a gold medal at the World University Games.

How did he influence the swimming community?

Cullen Jones is a role model and advocate for minorities in the swimming community. Jones uses his own near-drowning incident as a young child to help raise awareness of the high drowning rates among African American and Hispanic communities. His notoriety has helped Jones encourage young people to engage and excel in the sport of swimming. He is a pioneer in expanding the way swimming is viewed and shows the possibilities to succeed in the sport regardless of race.

*USA Swimming and Speedo invited the swimming community to help celebrate their 30 years of partnership by voting for the “30 Most Influential People in Swimming Over the Past 30 Years.” Votes were cast through social media with the hashtag #30MostSwimfluential and the final vote came from a panel of 10 judges selected by USA Swimming and Speedo. All 30 nominees have had a powerful impact on the swimming community. Many are recognizable names, but some have remained unsung heroes of the sport. Swimming World will profile each swimfluential person over the course of the week.

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7 years ago

He is an amazing swimmer!!! I’m so glad that he is trying to raise awareness the importance of children learning to swim!

7 years ago

He’s a class act!!!

7 years ago

NCSU!!! way to go Cullen!

7 years ago

He is so kind and takes time for the children, totally a Cullen fan