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Olympic gold medalist is in Greensboro teaching kids how to swim

Cullen Jones competed in both the Beijing and London Olympic Games. Now he spends his time teaching kids and parents the importance of knowing how to swim.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Several Guilford County students were in for a special treat, as they got to share the pool with an Olympic gold medalist.

According to Cullen Jones, swimming isn't just a fun summertime activity, it's a life skill, and who better to teach that life skill than an Olympian?

Jones is one of the best American swimmers in the sport's history. While at NC State, Jones was a four-time ACC champion and the 2006 NCAA Division 1 champion in the 50 freestyle. 

In his two Olympic appearances in 2008 and 2012, he earned a total of four medals: two gold and two silver.

Before Jones was an Olympic medalist, he was just a kid from the Bronx, New York who almost drowned one summer.

"When I was 5 years old, I almost drowned," Cullen said. "I was at a water park with my parents. I went down this slide, my dad knew how to swim, but my mom still didn't know how to swim at the time. I went down the slide, got flipped upside, and end up having to be resuscitated."

That near-death experience was the catalyst for Jones' swimming career.

Now that Cullen is no longer competing for Team USA, he's dedicated his time to the next wave of American swimmers.

"I think my gift truly is being able to share my story," Jones said. "I wouldn't have had a 12-year career if I was just a swimmer. I went to NC State, I live in Charlotte, and being in Greensboro, I feel like I'm home already. I'm always here anyway, so being able to talk to the kids in Greensboro means a lot."

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