Olympic Swimmer Visits Capitol Hill
Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones yesterday implored lawmakers to put federal and state monies toward what has been a privately financed program to teach swimming skills to inner-city children.
During his morning visit to Capitol Hill, Jones in particular urged lawmakers in his home state of New Jersey to commit funding for the USA Swimming Foundation's "Make a Splash" initiative, which Jones said helped 2,500 inner-city kids in Atlanta learn how to swim last summer.
The four-year-old program, Jones said, has spread to 21 states but its success has been jeopardized by the economic crisis.
Jones, who won a gold medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay in Beijing, learned to swim after nearly drowning at a water park in Irvington, N.J., when he was 5.
"This is something we really want to catch fire and spread throughout the country," Jones said.