By Phillip Whitten
COLORADO SPRINGS, September 13. AS part of our coverage of the aupcoming Paralympic games in Athens, Swiminfo will post regular diary entries written by two US Paralympians, Justin Fleming, 17, and Toni Davis, 22.
This entry will introduce you to these two extraordinary athletes. Their personal entries will begin running at the end of this week.
Bellevue, Washington-native Justin Fleming, 17, began swimming when he was 5 years old as part of his physical therapy for multiple orthopedic birth defects involving his lower limbs and left hand. He joined a disabled swim team in 2001 and then moved on to his school’s able-bodied team, where he will serve as one of the captains next year.
Justin holds American records in the S8 classification, in the 50 and 100 yard free, and the Pan American record in the long course 200 meter free.
Justin will be competing in the 400 free and 100 fly this month in Athens. His game plan is to swim smart, fast races and hopefully, achieve success.
Toni Davis, 22, is the first African-American female to make the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team. She holds the American records in the S8 classification in the 50 meter and 100 meter butterfly and the 400 meter individual medley. Toni got into swimming after joining a summer team in her hometown of New Carrolton, Md. and has been competing for the past 8 years.
Before swim meets, Toni says she watches the movie, "Purple Rain," and listens to music by Prince to get pumped up. In Athens, she will be competing in the 50 free and the 100 fly.
Toni and Justin will begin competition on September 19