Swimmers to honor former coach's legacy at fifth annual Jimi Flowers Classic

By Jillian Clarke | June 19, 2014, 10:25 a.m. (ET)

Curtis Lovejoy
Five-time Paralympian Curtis Lovejoy will compete in the Jimi Flowers Classic June 21-22.

Jessica Long
Three-time Paralympian Jessica Long will take on competitors at the 2014 Jimi Flowers Classic.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado ― The fifth annual Jimi Flowers Classic, hosted by U.S. Paralympics Swimming, will take place June 21-22 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Nearly 100 Paralympic-eligible athletes will compete in the long course competition that celebrates the life of Jimi Flowers, a beloved former coach, manager and friend of the United States Olympic Committee.

The Jimi Flowers Classic provides athletes and attendees with an encouraging atmosphere along with the opportunity for disabled athletes to compete and interact with Paralympic medalists. The two-day event will serve as the first competition experience for many of the participants.

The first session begins Saturday at 9 a.m. and will end around noon. Saturday’s second session will start at 5 p.m. and finish around 8 p.m. Day two of the competition will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday. The meet is free and open to the public.

“We are really looking forward to this year’s meet,” said Dave Denniston, resident coach for U.S. Paralympics Swimming and good friend of Flowers. “This meet incorporates Jimi’s fun and positive spirit as well as his vision of inspiring young athletes by giving them the opportunity to work with Paralympic medalists.”

Three-time U.S. Paralympian Jessica Long, a 12-time Paralympic gold medalist who currently holds 12 world records, and Paralympic medalists Tucker Dupree and Curtis Lovejoy are just a few Paralympians swimming in the meet.

In previous years, athletes competing in the Jimi Flowers Classic have broken American and world records. This year athletes will be looking to improve their own times and to possibly add their name to the record books in the 58 events being held over the two days of competition.

“It’s an emotional event,” Denniston said, “but it’s a great way to remember Jimi and what he did for so many people.”

Jimi Flowers served as the aquatics center manager at the U.S. Olympic Training Center before working as the national team manager and head coach for the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Resident Program. In 2009, Flowers died in a mountain climbing accident, leaving behind his wife, two children and a lasting impact on everyone he knew.

Proceeds from the meet go towards a scholarship fund for Flowers’ two children, Sam and Lauren.

Visit http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Sports/Swimming/Events for more information.

For additional details, please contact Jillian Clarke, U.S. Paralympics, at 719-866-2944 or Jillian.Clarke@usoc.org.