Four Highlights From The 2018 Jimi Flowers Classic Swim Meet

By Kendra Hansey | June 03, 2018, 3:58 p.m. (ET)
Athletes from around the globe gathered at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the ninth annual Jimi Flowers Classic swim meet hosted by U.S. Paralympics June 2-3. The meet is held in honor of the late Jimi Flowers who served as the U.S. Paralympics resident team coach and national team manager. Flowers also previously worked as the national team coordinator for USA Swimming and managed the OTC aquatics center.

Below are four highlights from the event:


Jimi Flowers’ wife, Sue Flowers and children Lauren and Samuel pose for a photo at the Jimi Flowers Classic swim meet at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Jimi’s Corner” commemorates one of the traditions Flowers was known for. Before every practice, he would set up a white board in the corner and write inspirational quotes for the athletes to refer to as they practiced. One of his well-known personal sayings was “It is what it is.” The purpose of this saying was to motivate and remind swimmers that no matter the outcome, continue to persevere and push forward in their journeys.


Leanne Smith competes in the 50-meter freestyle event at the Jimi Flowers Classic swim meet at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Leanne Smith (Beverly, Massachusetts) had three record-breaking performances. She set new American and Pan American records in the S3 50-meter freestyle (47.98) and 100 free (1:39.19). Smith set another American record in the SB3 50 breastroke (1:04.87).


Letticia Martinez dives in at the start of the 100-meter freestyle event at the Jimi Flowers Classic swim meet at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Two-time Paralympian Letticia Martinez (Las Cruces, New Mexico) returned to competition after being on hiatus these past few months due to a hip injury. Martinez swam in three events: 50 backstroke, 50 butterfly and 50 free. Martinez won all three of the events in the S11 classification.


Tharon Drake takes off at the start of the 50-meter freestyle event at the Jimi Flowers Classic swim meet at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Seven U.S. Paralympians competed at the two-day event. In addition to Martinez, these Paralympians included: Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nevada), Elizabeth Marks (Prescott Valley, Arizona), Haley Beranbaum (Snohomish, Washington), McClain Hermes (Dacula, Georgia), Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana) and Tharon Drake (Hobbs, New Mexico).

Beranbaum (S5) won all four of her events (50 fly, 50 back, 50 breast and 100 back). Her Rio 2016 teammate Drake (S11/SB11) won three of his four events (100 breast, 50 free and 50 breast).

Marks (S8) won all three of her races (50 free, 100 back and 50 fly). Also winning all three of their races were Austin in the SB6/S7 classification for the 50 fly, 50 breast and 100 breast; and Hermes (SB11) in the 100 breast, 100 free and 400 free. Three-time Paralympian and 12-time Paralympic medalist Jordan (SB7/S7) won all three of her events (50 breast, 100 free and 50 free) as well.