Southern California

Olympic Swimmers Raise Funds for Coach Battling Cancer

Eight Olympians and 200 children participated in Sunday's swim clinic to help raise funds for a fellow swimmer battling cancer

A group of Olympic swimmers have banded together to organize a swim clinic and auction to raise funds for a fellow swimmer battling cancer.

Jeff Julian, head coach at Rose Bowl Aquatics, was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer in January.

Jason Lezak, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and close friend of Julian, gathered eight fellow Olympians and 200 children to participate in Sunday's event held at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena. The entry fees and live auction proceeds will be donated to Julian and his family.

At $155 per ticket, the clinic raised more than $30,000 for Team Jeff, organizers said.

The diagnosis came as a shock to Julian and his loved ones because he has never smoked and has been an athlete all his life.

During his time at the University of Southern California, Julian was a member of the U.S. National Team, a silver medalist at the World University Games, a PAC 10 champion, a NCAA Silver Medalist, 8-time All American and an Olympic Trials finalist. He has served as head coach at Rose Bowl Aquatics since September 2004.

"Over the past 10 years, Jeff has built an incredible team of swimmers and families dedicated to pushing themselves to succeed in and outside of the pool. He has helped us understand that swimming is truly a team sport with swimmers, coaches and parents, working together to build momentum and support every swimmer’s success," the Team Jeff website says.

"Now, it's our turn to rally around Jeff and show him how we can help him achieve his goals." 

Sunday’s swim clinic, coached by the Olympians, consisted of four stations that swimmers rotated through: motivation and nutrition, starts, turns and sprints, freestyle and backstroke and butterfly and breaststroke.

"I know the whole swimming community really looks up to him and how he's doing and taking it on strong," said swimmer Rebecca Soni, who has won six Olympic medals, three of them gold.

"Helping toward his goal to fight and win against his disease, family, friends and his team - Rose Bowl Aquatics - created #TEAMjeff, and love and resources immediately started rolling in from supporters, swimmers and swim teams across the country," a press release stated.

Doctors at Ronald Reagan have given Julian six months to a year to live, but Julian said he is feeling great and hoping for a lot more time ... especially in the pool.

To donate to the Julian family, visit

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