London’s Calling: Shannon Vreeland and Charlie Houchin

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 6. THREE weeks till the London opening ceremonies. Two more Fridays. Fifteen work days. Olympic swimmers are buckling down, getting their last week or so of hard yardage in before the final Olympic taper.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is deciding which snack pairs best with NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Parade.

Two Team USA athletes with more on their brains than the merits of pretzels versus potato chips are 800 freestyle relay qualifiers Shannon Vreeland and Charlie Houchin.

Shannon Vreeland:

Due to NBC rights holder restrictions, the following video interview is only viewable until 7/27/2012:

20-year old Shannon Vreeland (born November 15, 1991) has recently dropped some serious time in her 200 freestyle.

The University of Georgia Senior swam a 1:57.9 in her 200 freestyle at trials, placing fifth in the event, earning her a spot on the Olympic relay team. After her prelims swim in Omaha, Vreeland told Swimming World that May was the first time she broke the two-minute barrier.

“I’m really, really happy with that swim,” said Vreeland.

Vreeland is originally from Overland Park, Kansas. Before her time as a Bulldog, she swam for the Kansas City Blazers under Pete Malone and Scott Bliss.

So far, her collegiate career includes two NCAA titles as part of the 2010 and 2011 University of Georgia 800 freestyle relay. She holds the second fastest time in the 500 freestyle for the University of Georgia, as well as the third fastest time in the 200 freestyle.

Charlie Houchin:

Due to NBC rights holder restrictions, the following video interview is only viewable until 7/27/2012:

24-year old Charlie Houchin (born November 3, 1987) garnered himself a spot on the 800 freestyle relay after placing sixth in the 200 freestyle, with a time of 1:46.8, the third night of trials in Omaha.

This swim came after a somewhat disappointing performance in Houchin’s self-proclaimed “bread and butter” 400 freestyle race.

After the race, Houchin posted on his website, “Although my 400 Freestyle at Olympic Trials did not go as I had hoped, I was luck to have an equally great opportunity in the 200 Freestyle.”

The 2010 University of Michigan graduate spent his collegiate career swimming under Bob Bowman and Hall of Fame coach Jon Urbanchek. He was part of a golden training group, which included Michael Phelps.

After graduating from Michigan, Houchin began his professional swimming career under Sean Hutchison at FAST in Fullerton, California. While with FAST, he took Gold in the 400 freestyle and 800 freestyle relay at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara.

After the World Championships in Shanghai, Houchin relocated his training to Jacksonville, Florida where he co-founded the IX3 Pro Swim Team with former triathlete John Payne.

Written and Posted by Shoshanna Rutemiller