Patty James Oehmke

2007 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee
Category: Swimming

Parents: Wildford and Geraldine James
Husband: James
Daughters: Theresa, Alexandra

Patty grew up on Flint’s northside and attended Martin Elementary, Bryant Jr. High and finished 9th grade at Flint Open School. Patty graduated from Flint Southwestern. Patty began swimming at the age of four and was in swimming competitions by the age of five.

Patty’s mother said “Patty was winning medals and trophies before she entered high school. It seemed as though swimming was a way of life for her.”

When Patty entered Southwestern, she set two records in the adult division for the 100 yard butterfly and the 100 yard freestyle. She set two school records as Southwestern beat Bay City Handy in swimming, 97-75. In the 1977 city swimming meet Patty broke two records, setting records in the 200 yard freestyle and in the 500 freestyle. In the Flint Olympian Games, Patty lowered the record in the 200 yard individual medley and set a mark in the 500 yard freestyle. Patty won the Downtown Optimist Scholarship Athletic Award in 1979.

At Michigan State University, Patty was a member of the women’s swimming and diving teams from 1981 to 1984. In the 1984 Big Ten Championship, Patty took 14th place in the 50 meter freestyle, 6th in the 200 yard freestyle relay, 15th place in the 50 yard butterfly, 8th place in the 200 yard medley relay, 19th place in the 50 yard freestyle and 5th place in the 400 yard freestyle relay. Patty competed in the 1984 Big Ten Championships.

She has 31 career wins (including all events) and career top three: 82 (includes all events).

Patty and her family live in East Lansing, Michigan where she is the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports and Recreation Services at Michigan State University.

Patty, you have made Flint proud. This is truly your night.