water safety

Embracing Pool Safety

Insights from Olympic medalist Cullen Jones

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As an Olympic swimmer and a water safety expert for Leslie’s, Cullen Jones understands the importance of water safety. However, that connection began long before his swimming career when at 5 years old, he nearly drowned at a water park.

“I [went] down the ride — both my parents were there, I was fully supervised, the lifeguards were there, I wasn’t horse playing — I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing, but because I hadn’t had formal lessons, I still was able to flip upside down [underwater],” Jones says. “My parents had to sit there as the lifeguards resuscitated me.”

This experience continues to drive his passion for swimming and water safety, leading him to dedicate over 20 years to teaching swimming.

“We know that children love to be near the water, but we have to give our kids the proper tools,” he says.

Pool servicers play a vital role in advocating for water safety and introducing pool owners to available safety tools. As they are often the first line of contact with pool owners, they can discuss items like gates, alarms and covers.

“You really are saving a life by explaining to families what can happen having a backyard pool without [proper safety measures],” he says.

Though these devices can help secure a pool and provide some peace of mind for families, Jones says there is no substitute for learning how to swim.

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“Swimming is an amazing sport, but it’s also a life skill,” he says. “We want to make sure we are teaching that. And I’m talking to adults, too — if you’re older and don’t know how to swim, it’s never too late.”

One of the critical aspects of promoting water safety is finding the balance between instilling respect for water and maintaining the joy of swimming. Jones explains that providing positive aquatic experiences to children helps prevent fear. He began exposing his son to the pool as an infant to build early confidence and competency. In fact, most pediatricians recommend that children start swim lessons at 1 year old.

“It’s so important that we introduce those young folks to the water in a positive way so that we don’t have to retroactively fix a problem because they’ve never been exposed to the water or aren’t comfortable near the water,” he says.

For children with natural confidence around water, Jones advocates for educating them about respecting water and understanding its risks but also encouraging their love for it.

“We want to make sure people are having fun,” he says. “The water is for everyone, but we have to be safe.”

Check out this video featuring Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones to learn more about his story and passion for water safety.

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