Cullen Andrew Jones (born February 29, 1984) is an American competition swimmer and Olympic gold medalist who specializes in freestyle sprint events. As part of the American team, he holds the world record in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay (long course). At the 2012 Summer Olympics, he won silver medals in the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay and the 50-meter freestyle, as well as the gold in the 4 x 100-metre medley.
Born in the Bronx borough of New York City, Jones moved to Irvington, New Jersey, while in elementary school. He learned to swim after he was rescued from a near-drowning at a splash-down pool at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Pennsylvania when he was five years old. He became an age-group swimmer at Metro Express, a club team at the Jewish Community Center in West Orange, New Jersey under head coach Ed Nessel. Jones later switched teams to the Jersey Gators Swim Club in Cranford. Jones graduated from Saint Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark in 2002. While there, he swam for coach Glenn Cassidy and set numerous Essex County swimming records.
Jones attended North Carolina State University, where he studied English and swam for the NC State Wolfpack swimming and diving team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 2003 to 2006. He turned professional in the summer of 2006, after signing with Nike and burst onto the scene shortly after at the 2006 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships where he set a meet record in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 21.84 seconds. He also swam a leg (split of 47.96) in the world record breaking 4×100-meter freestyle relay along with Michael Phelps, Neil Walker and Jason Lezak. In 2007, he also won a gold medal in 4×100-meter freestyle relay with the same teammates in the 2007 World Aquatics Championships.
Jones is the first African-American to hold a world record (4×100-meter freestyle relay) in swimming. At the 2008 United States Olympic Trials, Jones broke the American record in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 21.59. The record was subsequently broken the next day by Garrett Weber-Gale. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, he won a gold medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay in a world record time of 3:08.24 with Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak and Garrett Weber-Gale.
In July 2009, Jones set the American record in the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana.
At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, the qualifying meet for the 2012 Olympics, Jones made the Olympic team for the second time by finishing first in the 50-meter freestyle and second in the 100-meter freestyle, which subsequently qualified him for the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In the 50-meter freestyle final, Jones won with a time of 21.59, one one-hundredth (0.01) of a second ahead of second-place finisher Anthony Ervin (21.60).
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Jones won silver medals in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. He earned a gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay after swimming the freestyle leg in the preliminaries. He also competed in the 100-meter freestyle, but did not qualify for the event finals.
Personal bests (long course)
|50 m freestyle||21.40||July 2009|
|100 m freestyle||48.31||July 2008|
Key: NR = National record
- List of Olympic medalists in swimming (men)
- List of United States records in swimming
- List of World Aquatics Championships medalists in swimming (men)
- List of world records in swimming
- World record progression 4 × 100 metres freestyle relay
- http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-wildwater-opening-052209-cn,0,1990432.story[permanent dead link]
- Swimming World Magazine – Swimming News Archived September 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- "What's on TV Thursday night", New York Daily News, July 31, 2008. Accessed August 10, 2008.
- "Jones sets American record in 50 free", "Associated Press", July 12, 2009.
- Tjarks, Jonathan. "2012 Olympic Swimming Trials: Cullen Jones wins 50M Free, Anthony Ervin Qualifies". sbnation.com. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- Brady, Erik (August 3, 2012). "USA's Cullen Jones gets oh so close to an Olympic Dream". usatoday.com. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- "Swimming: U.S. qualifies for men's medley relay". ca.retuters.com. August 3, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- Forde, Pat. "Michael Phelps swims into retirement with 18th Olympic Gold on U.S. 400 Medley Relay Team". yahoo.com. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- Smith, Jared. "Men's 100-Meter Freestyle Final: USA's Cullen Jones Misses Final, Nathan Adrian Wins Gold". sbnation.com. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- Official website
- Cullen Jones at FINA
- Cullen Jones at USA Swimming
- Cullen Jones at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
- Cullen Jones at the International Olympic Committee
- Cullen Jones at the Olympic Channel
- Cullen Jones at Olympics at Sports-Reference.com (archived)
- Parting the Waters – Documentary film about Cullen Jones at DoTellProductions.com