Jimi Flowers Classic Para Open – Colorado Springs
National and international para-swimmers competed at the 10th annual Jimi Flowers Classic Paralympic swim meet, which took place this past weekend at the Olympic Training Center swimming pool in Colorado Springs.
The swim meet honors Jimi Flowers, who passed away ten years ago as a result of an accident while climbing. This year’s edition marked one decade since Flowers’ death.
Flowers was known for having been involved with USA Swimming and the United States Paralympic Swim Team throughout his career.
This year’s edition, specifically, has served as a training camp for all athletes selected to represent the U.S. National Paralympic Swim Team at the 2019 Para Pan-Am Games that are set to take place in Lima, Peru, between August 25 and August 31.
On Saturday’s morning session, national teamer David Gelfand posted a season-best in the 50-meter freestyle in the S-9 class with 29.13, but was out-touched by emerging para-swimmer Ben Ramirez of Tennessee Aquatics, who stopped the clock at 28.69, reaching the National ‘C’ Team Standard, as indicated on U.S. Paralympics Swimming’s website.
Army veteran Elizabeth Marks also posted a new season best for 2019 in the 100-meter backstroke in the s-7 class clocking a 1:21.97, ahead of Julia Gaffney who is currently seeded first in the 2019 world ranking for the events in the S-7 class.
Furthermore, Rio Paralympian Sophia Herzog (S-6) broke the world record in the 200-meter breaststroke in the SB-6 class with a time of 3:34.43.
In the evening session, the 100 free witnessed the most season bests of all events swum at the evening session. Leanne Smith (S-3) dropped almost three seconds in order to post a 1:34.13, posting a new world-leading time in her class so far this year.
The third and last session, which took place on Sunday morning, witnessed Leanne Smith (S-3) drop a 1:05.47 in the 50-meter backstroke, placing her on the fifth spot in the world rankings for her class in that event. In the same event, Ross Minor (S-11) posted a time of 39.80, placing him seventh in the world rankings for his class.
In an interview with SwimSwam, Paralympic bronze medalist Colleen Young indicated that “the Jimi Flowers Classic Para Open is a great way to remember and honor the legacy that Jimi Flowers has on the USA Paralympic Swimming community.”
Young is now headed to Berlin with the rest of the U.S. delegation to the season finale of the World Para-Swimming World Series, scheduled to take place in Berlin, Germany, between June 6 and June 9.
“I love the meet in Berlin. I’ve been to this meet three or four years now and it’s always so much fun. There’s always good competition and the pool is great to race in. I just want to swim fast and see where I am in the middle of training,” added Young.
The German capital city was also home of the season finale for both the 2017 and the 2018 World Para-Swimming World Series editions.