Swimmers join to honor former coach at sixth annual Jimi Flowers Classic

By Annemarie Blanco | June 05, 2015, 10:06 a.m. (ET)

Three-time U.S. Paralympian Jessica Long, pictured above, is one of many Paralympic medalists who will compete in this year's Jimi Flowers Classic. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Paralympic-eligible athletes from around the world will meet on June 8-9 to participate in the sixth annual Jimi Flowers Classic held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Hosted by U.S. Paralympics Swimming, the event honors former coach, mentor and manager Jimi Flowers who passed away in 2009. With more than 100 Paralympic-eligible athletes set to participate, this year’s long course competition will feature an inspiring and exciting opportunity for swimmers from around the world.

"Jimi was beloved as a coach by his athletes and his peers and colleagues.  He was always so generous, kind and giving to everyone that he came into contact with," said Julie O’Neil, team leader of sport performance for U.S. Paralympics. "The annual meet is important to U.S. Paralympics Swimming, as well as others in the broader swimming community, to both honor and remember Jimi and to give back to his family, especially his kids – Sam and Lauren."

The meet, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday with an evening session at 5 p.m. and will end with a final 9 a.m. session on Sunday. Swimmers from all nations who have a physical, visual or intellectual impairment are allowed to compete.

Last year’s meet featured three-time U.S. Paralympian Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland) who broke her world record in the 200m butterfly (S8) along with Paralympic medalist Rebecca Meyers (Timonium, Maryland), who set a new Parapan American record in the 200-meter butterfly (S13). Both Long and Meyers will return to swim in this year’s competition along with Paralympic athletes Letticia Martinez (Las Cruces, New Mexico), Tharon Drake (Hobbs, New Mexico) and Ryan Duemler (Chesterfield, Missouri).

Flowers began his career with the USOC in 1989 working as USA Swimming’s national team coordinator. He later served as the aquatics center manager before taking on the role of national team manager and resident team coach for the U.S. Paralympics swimming program in 2007. An avid climber and lover of the outdoors, Flowers lost his life after a tragic climbing accident at Capitol Peak near Aspen, Colorado. All proceeds raised from the event will go to the Sam and Lauren Flowers Fund, a scholarship fund for Flowers’ two children.

Visit http://uspara.us/SwimEvents for more information.