Sept. 18, 2013
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Loyola University Maryland head swimming and diving coach Brian Loeffler has been named the recipient of the Jimi Flowers Disability Coach of the Year award, as announced at the United States Aquatic Sports convention on Friday night.
"Jimi Flowers was the one of the first people I met when I got involved in Paralympic swimming," Loeffler said. "It is a honor to receive an award named after him."
In his 21 years at Loyola, Loeffler has coached a number of Paralympians, including current Greyhounds Joe Wise and Becca Meyers, former Greyhound Philip Scholz and USA Paralympic gold medalist, Lieutenant Bradley Snyder.
Meyers (Team USA bio) is a freshman on this year’s swimming and diving team. A four-time gold medalist at the 2011 World Deaf Swimming Championships in Coimbra, Portugal, Meyers also holds two Deaf Games records and is a member of the World Deaf record in the 4x200 free relay. She was also a bronze medalist at the 2009 Deaflympics.
Scholz (Team USA bio) retired from competitive swimming in August 2012 with numerous accolades. A four-year letterwinner for the Greyhounds’ team from 2007-11, Scholz set eight American records in Loyola’s pool and represented the U.S. Paralympic Team at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China. He was also nominated for an ESPY Award that year, for being the Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
Snyder (Team USA bio) won two gold medals and one silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games while training with Loeffer. A U.S. Navy veteran that lost his sight in an IED attack in Afghanistan, Snyder claimed gold in his first-ever race at the Paralympic Games and was later selected to serve as the United States’ flag bearer for the Closing Ceremonies of the London Games. In addition, Loeffler was given the Order of Ikkos Medal after Snyder won the gold medal in the 400m freestyle. The medallion awarded is a symbol of excellence in coaching as represented by the athletes' achievement as a medalist.
Wise (Team USA bio) will be a junior for the Greyhounds this year. A member of the U.S. Paralympic Team in both 2008 in Beijing, and 2012 in London, Wise holds 20 American Records and won two bronze medals at the Paralympic World Championships. He was also a Scholastic All-American in 2011 and earned three bronze medals at the Parapan Pac Games that year.
The purpose of the Disability Swimming Coaching Awards is to recognize significant contributions by coaches to the inclusion of swimmers with a disability in USA Swimming programs. The most prestigious coaching honor is the James Raymond "Jimi" Flowers Disability Swimming Coach of the Year Award. The award is named in honor and memory of Jimi Flowers, an incredible coach who developed numerous Olympic and Paralympic champions. Flowers passed away in a climbing accident in the summer of 2009.