ConocoPhillips Teams Up With USA Swimming Foundation and Gold Medalist Cullen Jones...

ConocoPhillips Teams Up With USA Swimming Foundation and Gold Medalist Cullen Jones for Annual Make a Splash Tour

Six-city summer tour aims to address importance of water safety in effort to reduce number of drownings, particularly among minority youth


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — For the third consecutive year, the USA Swimming Foundation and Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones have joined forces with ConocoPhillips to raise awareness about the importance of learning how to swim as part of the Make a Splash Tour with Cullen Jones. Through this tour, Jones, a survivor of a near-drowning incident at age five and the first African-American male to hold a world record in swimming, will visit six cities to address the importance of water safety in an effort to reduce the number of U.S. drownings, particularly among minority youth.

Each year, more than 3,400 people drown in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than Caucasian children in similar age groups, and 60-70% of African-American and Hispanic children cannot swim, according to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis. Jones has made a point of using his celebrity to change those statistics.

“Swimming is more than an activity or a sport. It is a life skill, just like reading or riding a bike,” said Jones. “Every summer I hear about kids drowning, and in so many cases it could have been prevented. It is important to me to spread the word about resources available to kids and parents, and to give back to a sport that has given so much to me.”

Make a Splash is the national child-focused water safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation. Since its inception in 2007, Make a Splash has reached more than 845,000 children with life-saving swim lessons and the USA Swimming Foundation would like to surpass the one million mark by the end of 2012. Through its nearly 400 local partner programs, Make a Splash offers free or discounted swimming lessons or water safety education in 45 states.

For ConocoPhillips, who has partnered with USA Swimming for 38 years, the opportunity to sponsor the Make a Splash with Cullen Jones Tour was a natural extension of the company’s steadfast commitment to safety and education. The company’s charitable donation to the initiative will help save lives by giving thousands of children – who would otherwise not have the opportunity – the ability to take swimming lessons. Additionally, ConocoPhillips is also the title sponsor of the ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships, the marquee domestic event of the year for swimming. This year’s event will be held Aug. 2 – 6, 2011 in Palo Alto, Calif.

2011 Make a Splash Tour Stops:

— June 28 – St. Louis

— Aug. 9 – Portland, Ore.

— Aug. 11 – Oklahoma City

— Aug. 23 – Albuquerque, N.M.

— Aug. 25 – San Antonio

— Sept. 1 –Miami

“Our goals are to make children more safe in and around water, promote diversity within the sport of swimming and promote a healthy lifestyle,” said USA Swimming Foundation executive director Debbie Hesse. “Cullen and our 38-year partners at ConocoPhillips are accomplishing all of those goals through the Make a Splash Tour, and we are excited to continue making a difference this summer in these six cities and beyond.”

The USA Swimming Foundation awarded $249,000 in grants this year as part of its on-going mission to “save lives and build champions.” A total of 37 foundation grants were distributed in 19 states to help fund the Make a Splash local partner programs.

This year, the foundation received more than 130 applications for its grant program. The scores and rankings determined by the review committee were higher than ever before for the programs that were awarded grants. For more information, visit the USA Swimming Foundation website and Facebook page, or click here to view videos from 2010 events.

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. 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

About Make a Splash

Consistent with the goal of saving lives and providing every child in America with the opportunity to learn how to swim, Make a Splash, a national child-focused water safety initiative, was created by the USA Swimming Foundation in 2007. Make a Splash partners with learn-to-swim providers across the country to provide swimming lessons and educate kids on the importance of learning how to swim. Many partner programs are located in disadvantaged or ethnically diverse communities and provide training programs (including certified instructors, resources and quality programming) to help children become water-safe and share with them a lifelong physical fitness activity. Make a Splash’s awareness campaign is built around the staggering statistics that minority children ages 5-14 are most at risk for drowning, and drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14. Make a Splash educates parents through a national awareness campaign; saves lives by joining forces with grassroots learn-to-swim programs and reaches hundreds of thousands of children through its programming, promotions and publicity tours.

About Cullen Jones

Cullen Jones is one of the fastest freestyle sprinters in the world today and currently holds the American record in the 50 freestyle. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, he was a member of the electrifying 400m freestyle relay team that broke the world record and won Olympic gold in one of the most memorable races in history. With the victory, Cullen became the second African-American to win an Olympic swimming gold medal. He is currently training for the 2012 Olympic Games and trains under coach David Marsh at SwimMAC in Charlotte, N.C.

About ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips is an integrated energy company with interests around the world. Headquartered in Houston, the company had approximately 29,600 employees, $160 billion of assets, and $226 billion of annualized revenues as of March 31, 2011. For more information, go to 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.

SOURCE USA Swimming Foundation

ConocoPhillips Teams Up With USA Swimming Foundation and Gold Medalist Cullen Jones for Annual Make a Splash Tour