As the 2012 Olympic Games in London inch closer, a Jacksonville resident is celebrating after making the Olympic swimming team.
Charlie Houchin was welcomed by family and friends as he returned from the Olympic trials Tuesday night at Jacksonville International Airport. Houchin is now part of what is considered to be one of the best training teams for the Olympics.
Now the Raleigh, North Carolina native is training in Jacksonville at Bolles. Houchin will be representing the River City during the Olympic Games.
"I'm just trying to swim as fast as I can on the relay in the morning, then make sure I get on the finals relay at night," aid Houchin. "It's a great opportunity. I'm just enjoying the ride."
Friends hope Houchin will become a household name like Michael Phelps.
"As of right now, we'll be watching it on the big screen," Hochin's friend, Bryan Horn." Wearing our red, white and blue and cheering our hearts out."
Houchin trained with Coach Bob Bowman at the University of Michigan and after college, he continued his professional swimming career under Coach Sean Hutchinson.
Within months, Houchin qualified for his first international competition, the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships. He placed 5th in the 400 Freestyle during the international competition, becoming the second fastest American, thus earning a spot as a member on the 2011 World Championship Team.
After making the team, Houchin began competing at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara for final preparations for the Olympic Trials.
He walked away as a two-time gold medalist in the 400 meter Freestyle and the 4x200 Freestyle Relay.