Record-breaking weekend at 2014 Jimi Flowers Classic

By Jillian Clarke | June 23, 2014, 4:15 p.m. (ET)
Jessica Long
Jessica Long breaks 200m butterfly (S8) world record at Jimi Flowers Classic.

“It is what it is,” were the words written by Sam and Lauren Flowers this past weekend on the Jimi’s Corner memorial board that hangs in the Aquatic Center at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Throughout the weekend, Flowers’ enthusiastic spirit was displayed by athletes, spectators and volunteers at the 2014 Jimi Flowers Classic held June 21-22.

The first part of the meet on Saturday morning began with Flowers’ two children, Sam and Lauren, sharing their appreciation for everyone who came to the competition.

“It’s important to have fun and to have a positive attitude this weekend,” said Sam Flowers, age 14. “Thanks for coming out to support us and to remember our dad.”

In between the start buzzers and loud cheers from the crowd, one world record and several American and Parapan American records were broken at the meet. Three-time U.S. Paralympian Jessica Long broke her previous world record by almost 11 seconds in the 200m butterfly (S8), finishing in 2:36.50. Paralympic medalist Rebecca (Becca) Meyers came in at 2:33.11 in the 200m butterfly (S13), setting a new Parapan American record.

“My favorite part about this meet is seeing kids compete for the first time and watching them grow as people and as swimmers each year they come back,” said Paralympic hopeful Tharon Drake. “We are all here to have great swims, but we are also here to encourage each other and to give back.”

From beginners to Paralympians, the disabled athletes who compete in the Jimi Flowers Classic have the opportunity to swim side-by-side with each other. The exciting energy and encouraging atmosphere at the event provides all athletes with an inspiring environment.

“I didn’t know Jimi too well before he passed away, but he would be really proud of this event,” said Drake.

Jimi Flowers was a former coach, manager and friend of the United States Olympic Committee. Proceeds from the meet go towards a scholarship fund for Flowers’ two children.