Paralympic Swimming Community Celebrates Life Of Former Coach At Seventh Annual Jimi Flowers Classic

By Joe Clarke | Jan. 15, 2016, 1:44 p.m. (ET)

Cortney Jordan
Cortney Jordan earned two golds, two silvers and two bronzes at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.  – 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. Paralympics Swimming is set to host the annual event that honors former coach, mentor and manager Jimi Flowers who passed away in 2009. This year’s long course competition will feature over 50 athletes from the United States, Canada, Panama and Russia as the meet looks to kick off the 2016 Paralympic Games year.

“We are thrilled to host the seventh annual Jimi Flowers Classic,” said Julie O’Neill, managing director of sport performance for U.S. Paralympics.  “Jimi was a great teammate and friend to all and had especially strong relationships with the athletes he coached throughout the years. Loyalty was one of Jimi’s strongest traits and we honor that with this annual event held in his memory.”

The meet, which is free and open to the public, starts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday followed by an evening session beginning at 4:30 p.m. and will conclude with a final 8:30 a.m. session on Sunday. Swimmers from all nations who have a physical, visual or intellectual impairment are allowed to compete.

American and world records were broken in last year’s meet as Kayla Wheeler (Lynnwood, Washington) set a new world record in the 100-meter breaststroke with a winning time of 4:43.14. Raleigh, North Carolina natives Hannah Aspden and Tucker Dupree each broke American records as Aspden set a new mark in the 200 backstroke with a finish of 2:36.39 and Dupree in the 50 breaststroke coming in at 35.20. Wheeler and Dupree are slated to return to this year’s meet and will look to add their names to the record books once again.

The recently announced 2016 National A Team will be represented by Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nevada), Michelle Konkoly (Eagleville, Pennsylvania), Rebecca Meyers (Timonium, Maryland), Martha Ruether (Allegany, New York), Elizabeth Wasil (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri) on the women’s side. Tharon Drake (Hobbs, New Mexico) and Dupree will be representing the men’s 2016 National A Team. Eight women and four men from the 2016 National B Team will also be in attendance as well as Five-time Paralympian Curtis Lovejoy.

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.

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