Name: Tharon Drake
Sport: Para Swimming
Current Residence: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hometown: Hobbs, New Mexico
College: New Mexico Junior College; Eastern New Mexico University (online)
Weight: 165 lbs
- Current U.S. record-holder in S11 class in 50m freestyle, 50m and 100m backstroke, 50m and 100m breaststroke, 200m individual medley (short course); 50m and 100m breaststroke (short course); 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke (long course)
- 2015: IPC Swimming World Championships, silver (100m breaststroke), bronze (400m freestyle)
- 2013: Named to U.S. Paralympics Swimming World Championship Team; named to U.S. Paralympics Swimming National B Team; Spring Can-Am, gold (100m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle); Jimi Flowers Classic, gold (100m breaststroke, 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke)
- 2012: U.S. Paralympic Swimming Trials, gold (100m breaststroke, 100m backstroke and 200m breaststroke); named as London 2012 Paralympic Games alternate
Tharon Drake is a graduate of Hobbs High School in Hobbs, New Mexico, where his father is the head coach of the men’s swim team. Drake was competitive at the state level as a sighted swimmer and continued to improve even after complications from routine vaccinations at age 14 resulted in severe memory loss and permanent loss of eyesight. Though Drake was just a freshman when he lost his vision, he remained a member of the Hobbs High School swim team until his graduation.
Drake now uses his sense of hearing to know when to flip-turn, listening for the sound of waves against the pool wall. When swimming in pools that have a removable bulkhead instead of a permanent wall, Drake has a person on deck tap him with a cane to indicate the end of a lap. Drake was named as an alternate for the U.S. team competing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games; he applied for residency at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs the night the London roster was announced.
In April, Drake swam to five first-place finishes at the Spring Can-Am in Minneapolis, Minn. He also finished first in three events at the Jimi Flowers Classic, which was held at the USOTC in Colorado Springs in June. Drake is now the U.S. record-holder in several short and long-course distances for breaststroke; in August, he represented the U.S. at the 2013 U.S. Paralympic Swimming World Championships. While living and training at the OTC, Drake takes classes online full-time through Eastern New Mexico University and volunteers with students at the local school for the blind. In addition to swimming, Drake enjoys playing music on the piano and guitar and playing bridge with his church group.
2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials - Swimming Preview
Joe Clarke June 28, 2016
The pool will be full of action June 30-July 2 in Charlotte.
Tharon Drake And Hannah McFadden Give Back To Their Hometowns With The Team For Tomorrow Program
Stuart Lieberman May 24, 2016
Rio hopefuls Tharon Drake and Hannah McFadden are the latest ambassadors to motivate and inspire kids.
U.S. Olympic Committee Announces 2016 Team For Tomorrow Ambassadors
United States Olympic Committee April 13, 2016
Roster of 15 Team USA athletes to lead youth outreach around Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Paralympic Swimming Community Celebrates Life Of Former Coach At Seventh Annual Jimi Flowers Classic
Joe Clarke Jan. 15, 2016
The seventh installment of the Jimi Flowers Classic will take place January 16-17 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
U.S. swimmers capture three medals on Day Six in Glasgow
Brianna Tammaro July 18, 2015
Long wins silver, Jordan and Drake bronze at world championships
Going for Glasgow: Team USA Storylines to Watch
Brianna Tammaro July 10, 2015
With just three days to go, read about the top U.S. athletes and events to watch in Glasgow
Swimmers join to honor former coach at sixth annual Jimi Flowers Classic
Annemarie Blanco June 05, 2015
Paralympic-eligible athletes from around the world will meet on June 8-9 to remember former coach
U.S. team announced for 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships
Brianna Tammaro March 30, 2015
Team USA roster features 16 Paralympians and returning world team members
Gallery: 2015 Can Am Para-swimming Championships
March 24, 2015
Take an inside look at Team USA in Toronto at the 2015 Can Am Para-swimming Championships
Tharon Drake making waves in preparation for Can-Ams
Emily Schell March 19, 2015
Drake has big goals for 2015, and it all begins with the Can-Am Para-Swimming Championship in Toronto
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