Aug. 21, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the third consecutive year an Olympic gold medalist will appear at Rolfs Aquatic Center for the Fighting Irish Swim Clinic, as Cullen Jones will headline the fourth-annual event Sept. 20.
Jones, a two-time Olympic gold and silver medalist, joins Team USA teammates Tyler McGill and Tyler Clary in becoming the third international swimming standout to take part in the fundraiser.
An NCAA Champion at N.C. State in the mid-2000’s, Jones holds the American record in the 50m free (21.40) and has the distinction of being the first African-American to break a swimming world record and to win a gold medal at the World University Games.
Jones has achieved Olympic Gold in the 4x100m free relay (2008) and in the 4x100m medley relay (2012) and also boasts a pair of silver medals in the 4x100m free relay (2012) and in the 50m free (2012).
His most famous race, however, might just be the legendary U.S. comeback in the 4x100m free relay that helped keep Michael Phelps on his eight-gold medal quest at the Beijing Games.
A member of the SwimMAC Carolina elite squad, Jones swam with current Irish standout Emma Reaney this summer in Charlotte.
"Cullen was so great to train with this summer," said Reaney. "He is really dedicated and focused, but also made me feel right at home right away by being a total goof and laughing at my stupid jokes. I'm so excited to have him be a guest clinician because he really knows his stuff and is professional, but also extremely fun."
Along with Notre Dame head coach, Jones and Reaney went overseas in June to swim for the U.S. squad at the Mare Nostrum.
“I was able to work with Cullen at the Mare Nostrum this summer and he was an absolute joy to be around,” said Notre Dame head coach Brian Barnes. “He is one of the nicest swimmers I’ve ever met and we couldn’t be more honored to have him join us at our annual swim clinic.”
The one-day clinic, which is held in conjunction with Coaches vs. Cancer, will donate all proceeds made to the wellness center at South Bend's RiverBend Cancer Services.
First put together in 2011 by Barnes, the swim clinics have raised almost $50,000 for RiverBend.
“I thought it was something we could make ours,” said Barnes of his original idea. “It’s all about Riverbend and helping our neighbors in the community. The people that use their services need our support. It’s nice to know that we can take one day and raise some money that will perhaps have an impact on someone’s life.”
The clinic is offered to all swimmers age 8-18 and will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Interested youth are asked to register here. Check-in starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m. Participants are asked to contribute $75 towards the clinic, with higher contributions for RiverBend greatly appreciated. Every dollar of the donation will go to RiverBend.
Checks made out to RiverBend Cancer Services can be sent to the following address:
University of Notre Dame
Barnes and members of the Notre Dame women's swimming team will work with Jones to run the event, which will feature two hours of in-the-water instruction. The New Brunswick, N.J., native will lead campers in drills and hit on starts, turns, stroke technics and finishes. Following the session he will be available for Q&A, photos and autographs.
Riverbend Cancer Services is dedicated to helping people in the local community in their fight against cancer, by providing financial assistance, advocacy services and emotional support. Free services include:
For more information on the fourth annual Fighting Irish Swim Clinic, stay tuned to UND.com and follow the Irish on Facebook (Facebook.com/NDwSwimmingDiving) and Twitter (@NDwSwimming).
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director