The Jimi Flowers Classic
Last weekend, June 24-29, was great. We flew out of Raleigh-Durham on our way to Colorado around 6pm Thursday night. We had a layover in Texas for and hour, just enough time to get a Starbucks and get to our next terminal. We landed in Colorado Springs at 10:40pm their time. When we arrived at the car rental counter the attendant told us that we could upgrade to a silver convertible for $5 more a day, my mom and I looked at each other with a grin and said, “Do it.” As we got in the car we started towards our hotel. We checked in and went straight to bed.
Friday, 25 June – When we woke up we got ready for the day and went to lunch at Noodles and Company. After that my mom asked me if I wanted to go to the cliff dwellings before I got into the pool. We got into our convertible and headed out to the mountains. When we got there the views were amazing. It was really cool that we got to walk into actually houses that the Indians lived in. After an hour self guided tour we headed to the Olympic Training Center so that I could get in the water. I swam about 5,000 meters not knowing what was in store when I got out of the water. When I finished my practice a Paralympics coach walked up to me and asked, “Are you ready for open water tonight?” I looked at her with a blank stare and said, “ummm…oh yea” not knowing that I was swimming it. I had never in my life swum in an open water meet. After I changed, there was the revealing of the corkboard honoring Jimi Flowers that will be permanent display at the USOC pool. Then it was time for the open water swim. We went to a nearby country club that had a lake around it. After all of the swimmers arrived, we got numbers drawn on us. I was Number 2 because I was the second swimmer there. There were three buoys in a triangle formation. The race was a 5K and it was a 1,000 meters around each time (i.e.5 laps). The water was FREEZING, a mere 65 degree’s. When we started the race, it was a free-for-all to see who could get to the front of the pack. After I realized I couldn’t see where I was going or the next buoy, I knew this is going to be a long 5,000 meters. I finished the race in 79 minutes. When I got out of the water, I went straight to the hot tub. My lips were purple and I couldn’t feel my body at all.
Saturday, 26 June – This was the first day of the meet. I swam the 50 free and 100 back. After the morning session was over the entire “Worlds Team” had to attend meetings beginning at noon. We all met in a classroom where there was pizza waiting for us to consume. Our first presenter was a nutritionist to tell us about what and how we need to eat leading up to Worlds, as we ate pizza, go figure. After that, we each received a swim bag containing swim wear and apparel that we will wear for the competition. Then we had a sport psychologist talk to us about how to prepare mentally during swim practice and competition. Then in the afternoon, I had the 100 free and 100 fly. Considering the altitude, I swam very well.
Sunday, 27 June – This was the last day of the meet all I had to swim was the 50 back. This session was a little longer since there was the mile swim. So, a bunch of us swimmers stayed back to cheer for the swimmers that had to endure the 1,500 meters of fun. A couple of us went out to lunch after that.
Monday, 28 June – This was a very interesting day. We slept in and woke up around 11am. After getting dressed I had to re-pack my clothes. I didn’t check a bag and I didn’t want to check one on the way home either. So I had to figure out how I was going to put two swim bags and a carry on all into one. We went to IHOP around noon. We didn’t have to be at the airport until 1:30pm. When we got to the airport we turned in our amazing convertible. We arrived at our terminal and boarded the plane at 3pm. We were flying back through Texas. When we were about to land, I woke up and there was lightening outside the window. Then the flight attendant began to read the flights that’s were flying out of Texas. Ours was not mentioned. When we got off the plane we went to the monitors and our flight was cancelled. So we proceeded to the American ticketing counter to see when the next flight was, 8am the next day. So we received a hotel voucher and took a cab to a hotel. We checked in and went straight to the sports bar to eat dinner. We ate like kings just because we hadn’t eaten since noon. Then off to bed.
Tuesday, 29 June – Now we are on our way home. I really enjoyed hanging out and seeing the Training Center. I am super excited to move out there in a couple weeks. Right now I am 50 days out from competition in the Netherlands. So now it is back to Raleigh to train for this last home stretch.