Free Alexandria Children’s Swim Clinic with Celebrity Olympic Swimmers, June 2

Olympian Cullen Jones at a Make a Splash event in Chicago. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Make a Splash Tour will Kick Off at Chinquapin

 By Amanda Socci

Olympic swimmers Cullen Jones and Andrew Gemmell are in town to give a star-studded free swim clinic for children. The Alexandria City swim clinic on Saturday, June 2, 2018 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Chinquapin Park Recreation Center and Aquatics Facility (3210 King Street, Alexandria VA 22302) marks the first of four national events from the Make A Splash tour, created by the USA Swimming Foundation.

Olympian Rowdy Gaines addresses the crowd at today’s press conference at Banneker Pool in NW, DC. (From L to R:) Tami Walker, Phillips 66 Manager of Corporate Brand and Creative Media, Cullen Jones, swimming Olympian, (standing at the podium) Rowdy Gaines, Michael Empric, Guinness World Records official, Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. (Photo by Amanda Socci.)

The Make a Splash tour kicked off its month-long event Friday June 1, 2018 at Banneker Pool in NW, D.C. with a huge splash by setting a world record in a new category, largest kickboard, as certified by Guinness World Records official, Michael Empric. The kickboard served double-duty as a new entry into the Guinness World Records as well as a memorable visual marketing tool that will travel throughout cities in Washington, California, and Florida as the tour progresses in June.

This giant kickboard measuring 11 feet x 18 feet is the world’s largest, according to the Guinness Book of Records who measured it on site May 31, 2018. (Photo by Amanda Socci.)
Proving it really floats and is a genuine kickboard are from left, Olympian Rowdy Gaines, Olympian Missy Franklin, Reece Whitley – Sports Illustrated Kids’ “SportsKid of the Year,” and Olympian Cullen Jones. (Photo by Amanda Socci.)

The USA Swimming Foundation created Make A Splash and began promoting it as a tour ten years ago with the help of major sponsor, energy provider Phillips 66. The mission of Make A Splash is to promote water safety and offer swim lessons to all children throughout the United States regardless of background or ability to pay. Commemorating the tenth anniversary of Make A Splash, the foundation added a new formidable goal of asking Congress to include “ability to swim” on its next census. That is also the clever message posted in big letters on the 11-foot x 18-foot kickboard: “Do you know how to swim?” which includes an Internet URL for people to answer that question.

Michael Empric from Guinness World Records presenting the certificate for largest kickboard in the world to Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. (Photo by Amanda Socci.)

Olympians Cullen Jones and Andrew Gemmell are spreading the message of water safety and promoting the Make A Splash tour as official ambassadors. Jones won medals in 2008 and 2012 in freestyle sprint swimming and Gemmell participated on the 2012 Olympic team in long-distance freestyle swimming.

On Friday, Olympian Cullen Jones addressed his personal history with swimming, “As a spoiled brat, I went to the amusement park and almost drowned,” exclaimed Cullen, “my mother said ‘never again’ and put me in swim classes right away.” Everything came full circle recently as Jones explained how he was able to give his mother, who was previously afraid of the water, swim lessons.

The USA Swimming Foundation noted that Make A Splash helps children learn a valuable life skill that they can use all their lives.

According to the foundation’s executive director, Debbie Hesse, Make a Splash has relationships with 850 learn-to-swim partners throughout all 50 states. Having that many partners makes it easy for the foundation to ensure that many children receive free swim lessons. Children who live in Alexandria in Fairfax County and Alexandria City can enjoy free swim lessons at swim clubs and recreation centers in the area, courtesy of Make A Splash.

To find a participating learn-to-swim partner and learn more information about Make A Splash, please visit: https://www.usaswimmingfoundation.org/find-swim-lessons.