"He begins competition in the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in the 100-meter freestyle today and in the 50 free Friday.
Should he qualify for the team, Jones would become just the third African-American swimmer on the U.S. Olympic team — a weighty matter in itself.
"I think I know what's going through Cullen's mind right now," said Jeff Commings, the St. Louis University High graduate who in 1990 became the first black to win a swimming gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Festival.
Such a platform, Jones expects, would encourage more African-Americans to learn to swim. And it matters not whether they do it competitively, considering a University of Memphis study that said nearly 60 percent of children in those groups can't swim — about twice the number for Caucasians.
Jones will swim in the 100 Meter Freestyle prelims today at 11 a.m. and the semifinals/finals begin tonight at 7 p.m. On Friday, he'll swim in the 50 Meter Freestyle prelims at 11 a.m. and the semifinals/finals begin at 7 p.m.
Both days, TV coverage will be on NBC from 8-9 p.m.
In finals, the swimmers aim to get that spot on the US Olympic Team. The top two swimmers will usually make the team (if they meet the Olympic Trials Qualifying time), with the top four swimmers making it on the team in the 100 meter and 200 meter freestyle events, generally two for the individual events and two more as relay swimmers.