USA Swimming Foundation Teams with GroundFloor Media to Promote National Make a Splash Water Safety Initiative

Denver-based PR agency to build awareness about the importance of water safety, including a six-city tour with Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones

DENVER, Aug. 8, 2011 – GroundFloor Media Communications, a Denver-based public relations agency, announced it has teamed with the USA Swimming Foundation to lead the communications efforts for the national Make a Splash Tour with Cullen Jones, presented by ConocoPhillips, as well as national water safety awareness. Through the tour, Jones, a survivor of a near-drowning incident at age five and the first African-American male to hold a world record in swimming, is visiting six cities this summer to address the importance of water safety in an effort to reduce the number of U.S. drownings, particularly among minority youth.

Each year, more than 3,400 people drown in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than Caucasian children in similar age groups, and 60-70 percent of African-American and Hispanic children cannot swim, according to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis. Jones has made a point of using his celebrity and teaming up with the USA Swimming Foundation to change those statistics.

"GroundFloor Media combines a passion for the health and wellness of youth with their knowledge of the sports industry to help the USA Swimming Foundation promote the Make a Splash initiative," said USA Swimming Foundation executive director Debbie Hesse. "Partnering with GroundFloor Media enables us to focus on educating youth and their families about life-saving swimming skills and to spread this message via social media channels and other news outlets."

Since its inception in 2007, Make a Splash has reached more than 845,000 children with life-saving swim lessons and the USA Swimming Foundation would like to surpass the one million mark by the end of 2012. Sponsored by ConocoPhillips as part of its 38-year relationship with USA Swimming, the tour is visiting six cities (Portland, Ore.; Oklahoma City; St. Louis; Albuquerque, N.M.; San Antonio and Miami) to promote swimming lessons and provide all kids access to life-saving swimming skills this summer.

GroundFloor Media will leverage the alarming statistics and Jones' public status to educate Americans via traditional and social media about the need for all children to learn swimming skills. The agency will focus on generating media awareness about water safety and for the 2011 Make a Splash Tour stops, as well as providing targeted public relations support to Jones and his commitment to helping reduce the number of drownings in the country.

“GroundFloor Media is proud to partner with the USA Swimming Foundation to support the 2011 Make a Splash initiative,” said Ramonna Robinson, vice president and managing partner of GroundFloor Media. “Both traditional news mediums and social media provide important platforms for the USA Swimming Foundation to optimize its efforts around the country and in each Tour city to raise the profile of Cullen Jones’ efforts to spread the word about the importance of teaching more children to swim."

About GroundFloor Media Communications

Staffed entirely by seasoned industry pros, GroundFloor Media Communications is a leader in developing ingenious communications programs that leverage the leading edge in Evolutionary Public Relations™ through social media, media and influencer relations, crisis communication, cause marketing, internal communications and experiential marketing. Ambitious brands like Children's Hospital Colorado Colorado, The Colorado Health Foundation, America On the Move, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Coors Brewing Company, Bellco Credit Union, LiveWell Colorado and Starbucks Coffee Company have collaborated with GroundFloor Media to ignite vibrant public conversations with the people and companies they serve. For more information on one of the most award-winning and fastest-growing PR firms in the New West, call 303-865-8110, visit www.groundfloormedia.com or follow the firm on Twitter or Facebook.