On March 24, 2023, V3 Sports partnered with Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones, to host a “mini” swim meet (Click here for Video) at Franklin Middle School. The day was filled with excitement, healthy competition, and fairplay.
Students and parents from Nellie Stone Johnson Community School gathered at Franklin Middle School where they were introduced to Cullen Jones. Jones, who won multiple Olympic medals, shared his personal journey to becoming an elite swimmer. Unlike most Olympic swimmers, Jones had a near death experience at a swim park when he was five. “I hit that pool of water… I flipped upside down. I had not known how to do freestyle, breaststroke, any of that. I had no idea.” Jones had to be resuscitated, but his only focus was getting back to the next water slide.
After this near death experience, Jones’ parents did not want him to swim, and he conveyed how all of his friends played football, ran track, or played basketball. Jones expressed how he “never thought swimming would get me anywhere,” but he encouraged the student-athletes to pursue their dreams with determination and perseverance. “I’m here to tell you, you can do any single thing that you want to do. You just have to believe, listen to your coaches, your teachers… and then, you never know what can happen.”
Jones stressed the importance of teamwork and integrity in life as well as in swimming. He shared how his teammates helped him succeed and overcome obstacles throughout his career, and urged the young swimmers to support and encourage each other both in and out of the pool.
After his speech, Jones spent time interacting with the young swimmers, taking photos, cheering them on, and everyone got a chance to hold his world-record gold medal! His presence at the event was a huge inspiration to the young athletes, who were grateful for the opportunity to meet and learn from one of the greatest swimmers in the world.
The positive energy and healthy competition on display throughout the day was noteworthy. The young swimmers cheered each other on and showed respect and support for their fellow competitors, creating an environment filled with vibrant energy. It was clear the event brought together a community of passionate young athletes, parents, coaches, and community members who shared a love for swimming.
After the competition, students stuck around for an open swim and spent the rest of the afternoon celebrating, playing water games, and enjoying each other’s company.
Overall, the “mini” swim meet at Franklin Middle School was a tremendous success thanks to the hard work and dedication of the organizers and volunteers, the inspiring words of Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones, and the outstanding performances of the young swimmers who participated. It was an event that will be remembered for years to come.