Free family/kids' swimming lessons and water safety fair set for Aug. 25
CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Phillips 66 and the USA Swimming Foundation will bring four-time Olympic medalist Cullen Jones to Chicago to educate kids, parents and community leaders about the life-saving message of learn-to-swim. An Olympic gold and silver medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games, Jones' visit, scheduled for Aug. 24-25, is part of the 2012 Make a Splash with Cullen Jones Tour, presented by Phillips 66. The six-city national water safety tour teaches parents, kids and community leaders about the importance of learning to swim with the goal of reducing the number of U.S. drownings, particularly among minority youth.
"Every child in America needs to learn how to swim. It is a critical skill that can determine the difference between life and death," said Jones, winner of one gold medal and two silver medals at the 2012 Olympic Games. "Drowning is an epidemic, but it's an epidemic with a cure. That is why I am so proud to be working with Phillips 66 and the USA Swimming Foundation to educate parents, children and caregivers about the learn-to-swim resources available in their communities. By raising awareness and providing the opportunity for more kids to learn to swim, we are saving lives."
FREE Swim Safety Fair in Chicago – Saturday, Aug. 25, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Three hundred kids from the Chicago area will receive a FREE swim lesson at the Washington Park Pool on Aug. 25. At the water safety fair Cullen Jones, who nearly drowned at the age of five, will give a motivational speech at 10:15 a.m. Parents and kids can also pick up information about swim programs in the greater Chicagoland area, talk with first responders and much more.
Parents are encouraged to register their kids for one of two free, beginning swim lessons at http://www.makeasplash.org/chicago. Space for each session is limited to 150 kids/families. The first 100 registrants who participate in the lesson on Aug. 25 will receive a voucher good toward swimming lessons at one of several Chicagoland learn-to-swim organizations.
"The USA Swimming Foundation is dedicated to saving lives and building champions, and by raising awareness about the importance of learning to swim and providing the opportunity for kids to take lessons, we are absolutely saving lives," said Debbie Hesse, executive director of the USA Swimming Foundation. "Formal swimming lessons can reduce a child's risk of drowning by as much as 80% and to date, more than 1.3 million kids have taken lessons through our Make a Splash initiative. We are grateful to Phillips 66, who has made such a difference nationally and in Chicago specifically, and to Cullen Jones for his continued commitment to spreading this important message."
In 2013, Phillips 66 will celebrate 40 years of partnership with USA Swimming. and the Make a Splash with Cullen Jones Tour is a natural extension of the company's comprehensive commitment to safety. "Our annual support of this tour exemplifies the company's focus on safety by reaching out to parents, kids and community leaders across the nation to build awareness of this important safety issue, and by giving thousands of children the opportunity to learn a valuable life-saving skill," said Kristi DesJarlais, manager, Corporate Brand and Community Investments.
Sobering Drowning Statistics
In the metro Chicago area, 10 children have drowned since June 14, according to data collected by doctors at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than one in five fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14. Drowning is also a silent killer—most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time, according to the Present P. Child Drowning study.
Furthermore, 60-70 percent of African-American and Hispanic children cannot swim, and only 13 percent of kids who come from a non-swimming household will ever learn to swim, according to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis. African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports.
About the USA Swimming Foundation
The USA Swimming Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming. Established in 2004, the Foundation works to strengthen the sport by saving lives and building champions— in the pool and in life. Whether we're equipping our children with the life-saving skill of learn-to-swim, or providing financial support to our heroes on the U.S. National Team, the USA Swimming Foundation aims to provide the wonderful experience of swimming to kids at all levels across the country. The Foundation also serves as the home for our National and Olympic Team Alumni reunions and regional events. The development efforts of the USA Swimming Foundation aim to establish an endowment to strengthen the future of USA Swimming's programs and services. To learn more, visit www.usaswimmingfoundation.org.
About Phillips 66
Headquartered in Houston, TX, Phillips 66 is an advantaged downstream energy company with segment-leading Refining and Marketing (R&M), Midstream and Chemicals businesses. Since 1973, the company's contributions have supported the USA Swimming community through the National Championships and other international competitions, publication of club development materials, and other areas. To learn more about Phillips 66, please visit www.phillips66.com.
About Make a Splash
Make a Splash is the national child-focused water safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation. More than 1.3M children have taken swimming lessons through the Make a Splash initiative since its inception in 2007. Through its 540 local partner programs, Make a Splash offers free or discounted swimming lessons or water safety education in 47 states. To find a local partner, visit www.makeasplash.org.
About Cullen Jones
Four-time Olympic medalist Cullen Jones is one of the fastest freestyle sprinters in the world today. Fresh off a three-medal performance at the 2012 Olympic Games, Jones is a two-time Olympian and the American record-holder in the 50m freestyle. In London, Jones won gold in the 400m medley relay and captured silver medals in the 50m freestyle and 400m freestyle relay. At the 2008 Olympic Games, Jones was a member of the electrifying 400m freestyle relay team that broke the world record and won Olympic gold. With that victory, Cullen became the second African-American to win an Olympic swimming gold medal. Jones lives in Charlotte, N.C. where he trains under coach David Marsh at SwimMAC.
SOURCE USA Swimming Foundation