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Athletes

Cullen
Jones
United States of AmericaUnited States of America, USA
Swimming

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
29 February 1984
Height
195 cm
Family
Wife Rupi
Residence
Charlotte, NC, USA
Occupation
Athlete, Coach, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English
Higher education
English, Psychology - North Carolina State University: United States

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming at age eight in Irvington, NJ, United States of America.
Why this sport?
His mother enrolled him in swimming lessons after he almost drowned on a water ride at a theme park at age five. "My mother did not know how to swim. My father somewhat knew how to swim. I decided I wanted to get on the biggest rides that my dad went on. So I ended up going on this ride, flipping upside down. What's important about this is that I was entirely supervised. My parents were there, there were lifeguards there, and I was still able to go under water."

International Debut

Year
2006
Competing for
United States

General Interest

Nicknames
CJ, Nova (usaswimming.org, 16 Jun 2017)
Hobbies
Fashion design, playing video games, spending time with friends, going to amusement parks. (Twitter profile, 17 Aug 2017; usaswimming.org, 16 Jun 2017)
Most influential person in career
His father Ronald, and coach Ed Nessel. (usaswimming.org, 16 Jun 2017)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Gary Hall Jr., US basketball player Michael Jordan. (usaswimming.org, 16 Jun 2017; examiner.com, 16 Jun 2015)
Awards and honours
In 2018 he was inducted into the North Carolina State University Hall of Fame. He was the second North Carolina State University swimmer [after David Fox] to have won an NCAA title and an Olympic gold medal. (gopack.com, 29 Aug 2018)

In 2006 he received the Breakout Performer of the Year award at US Swimming's Golden Goggles Awards. (US Swimming, 06 Mar 2007)
Famous relatives
His distant relative Rodney Wallace played American football for the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive tackle. (usaswimming.org, 03 Jul 2016)
Other information
2020 OLYMPIC OPTIONS OPEN
In 2018 he graduated from North Carolina State University, after returning to complete the final classes that he needed to earn an English degree, more than 10 years after he left the university to turn professional in 2006. He said his future plans include building a swim school, and keeping his options open for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. "I know what I have to do to make the [2020 Olympic] team, to give it another go. I feel great. It's just about whether I want to put in that effort again. I'm happy with where I am right now, and I think that if I get the swim school up and I get content, I have time to make the decision again. It usually takes me only about seven or eight months to be where I need to be. I'm a little older, so maybe I need to give it nine. I'll come to that decision when I need to. I've been in touch with some coaches that I would love to go train with if I was going to go for 2020. They said yes. My finger is on the button." (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 19 Nov 2018; gopack.com, 29 Aug 2018)

RETIREMENT THOUGHTS
He considered retiring from swimming after missing out on qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Instead he decided to leave SwimMAC Carolina and coach David Marsh, and join the Wolfpack Elite programme at North Carolina State University in the United States of America. He was inspired by the performance of his friend Anthony Ervin, who at age 35 won gold in the 50m freestyle at the 2016 Olympic Games. "Part of me felt like, 'If he can do it, I can do it, so why should I stop?' He doesn't stay in any one place for too long, and I think something about that I took from him was I need to make a change." (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 14 Jun 2017)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
He is part of a programme called 'Make a Splash', which attempts to encourage more African-American children to learn how to swim. "Access isn't necessarily the issue for encouraging young African-Americans to swim, it's changing the mindset that they don't swim." (usaswimmingfoundation.org, 16 Nov 2017; theundefeated.com, 10 Aug 2016)