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Old 04-21-2016, 06:30 PM   #1
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Olympic gold-medalist helping keep kids safe

For the past few days, the greater Houston area has been inundated with water. There have been dozens of high water rescues and neighborhoods are reminiscent of lakes and rivers.

So now, more than ever, the importance of knowing how to swim is at a premium; it could mean the difference between life and death.

"What's happening in Houston is tragic. And if anything it's more of a reason to understand how important it is to learn to swim."

Gold medal Team USA Olympic Swimmer Cullen Jones is bringing his message of water safety to Texas this week, with two events planned -- aiming to teach children and their parents how important it is to learn how to swim.

"There's so many parents that unfortunately something wrong has to happen before they take action, and we want to stop that and we want to get ahead of that," Jones said. "We want to have children learn to walk, learn to talk, learn to swim."

Amid 30 hours each week training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Jones is touring the country with USA Swimming Foundation's "Make A Splash" Initiative, teaching swim lessons and holding town hall meetings.

Jones -- a two-time gold medalist -- wasn't always a force to be reckoned with in the pool.

In fact, it was water that almost killed him.

"My mom told me that I almost drowned at the age of 5. I didn't have swim lessons. I didn't know really anything about the water except that I loved it. But she almost lost me that day."

It's a cause Jones is passionate about.

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death of children in the U.S., and swimming lessons can reduce the likelihood of children drowning by nearly 90 percent.

"Once you know how to (swim), you never forget. And if this (flood) isn't...I hope...a wake up call, then I don't know what is."

Jones is holding two town hall meetings in Nederland and Katy this week. Click here for more information.

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