The 2012 gold medalist Olympic swimmer, Charlie Houchin, visited a Franklin swim club on Monday morning to speak to young swimmers about his time on the USA Olympic Swim Team and talk about his innovate app made for swim meets.
In a meet-and-greet swim clinic, Houshin spoke to about 50 swimmers 3-18 years of age at Forest Crossing. He patiently answered all kinds of questions, ranging from “How did you get that golden thing” to “how many hours a day did you swim while training for the Olympics?”
And when he was asked how it felt to stand on the podium representing USA for the gold medal, swimmers were surprised to learn that he actually didn’t get to stand on the podium. He explained that not all events get the opportunity to stand on the podium and hear the national anthem, but he did get to have that experience in 2013 at Worlds.
During the clinic, Houchin told a story about his time at the Olympics. Explaining the trek to the 2012 London Olympics, he said “it was a fast paced journey of making the team from a camp in Nebraska, Tennessee and France and finally the Olympics.” The swimmers were in a meet the next day so they did not attend the opening ceremony like the other Olympic athletes. He said they watched it on TV just like everyone else, stating that they could see the ceremony happening from their balcony at the stadium next door. “But in having a job to do, we went to bed so we could be ready to go,” says Houchin.
An hour after, they heard a loud boom and were awakened. He went out to the balcony to see what was happening, “it was the fireworks at the end of the opening ceremony. If you are a swimmer getting ready for the swim of your life, that kinda upends you and throws off the process.”
Not being able to control the celebration or fireworks, Houchin decided to wait out the celebration while most of his teammates slept with the exception of fellow teammate, Michael Phelps. Houchin and Phelps swam together at University of Michigan where they both attended college before becoming a part of the USA Olympic swim relay team—the one that brought them both a gold medal.
When they won the gold at the 2012 Olympic Games, Houchin says he and Phelps didn’t say much to each other during that moment, they just took in what was happening. But he shared with the swimmers one thing that he thinks is so important in being part of a team–relationships: “These guys sitting next to you, could be some of your best friends for the rest of your life.”
Houchin is now retired from swimming. He took his earnings from winning the gold medal to develop an app for swim meets called “Meet Central,” an app that makes a swim meet virtually paperless, reducing the labor and time involved in running a swim meet. Currently there are five swim clubs in the area that use Meet Central. Houchin came from Raleigh to Franklin to get out and meet the clubs who are using his new app. On Tuesday, four of the five clubs using the app will compete against each other. “It’s a great way for me to get out and meet the people at the clubs using the app as well as meet the swimmers,” says Houchin.
To learn more about Meet Central, visit their website at HydroXphere to see how Houchin took a business plan that he developed while at University of Michigan to now a practical tool for all swim meets across the country.