SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please [email protected]
This Shouts from the Stands comes from Austin Levingston, who writes about a magical moment he had late last year with Michael Phelps.
My name is Austin Levingston. I was born September 8th, 1994 in Wichita, KS but raised in Great Bend, KS. I’ve been autistic my whole life, a proud identical twin brother, and have a big passion for swimming. I graduated at Great Bend High School in 2013, and am now currently attending Barton Community College. I swam for Great Bend High School from 2009-2013, Golden Belt Swim Squad (summer league team) from 2009-2013, and McPherson, KS Special Olympics swim team from 2014-2015.
It all happened 2 days after Christmas when I woke up around 11:30am late that morning to a missed phone call. I’ll probably never forget returning that call back just hours later especially after realizing that it was the man whom I have looked up to since I was 6 years old: Michael Phelps.
At first, I almost freaked but to tell you the truth, and he never failed to convince me that it was him. I know I was expecting a call fromMichael Phelps Foundation too but I had no idea when. Anyway, we had about a 5 minute conversation with each other and let me tell you: I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous but at the same time, I didn’t let anything hold me back.
It was probably one of the best calls I’ve ever gottenand if I were to explain into words on how much it meant to me, I couldn’t. I mean, for him to take the time to call me like he did, was generous of him. And I’ll never forget where I was when he called me: Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers restaurant in Great Bend, Kansas.
Lastly? Well, there is no doubt that I still hope to meet him sometime. I would also like to go up and visit his foundation up in Maine sometime too but unfortunately, it is a little hard to say when we will go up there. I think I may have to save up a little money. In the mean time though, I am still in school and in no more than about one more year, I hope to be graduating with my associates degree in graphic design from Barton Community College and then from there, move on to Tabor College.
The Olympics? Well, that’ll probably be later on down the road but I’m hoping to be starting college swimming competition sometime soon, and I’m as motivated as ever thanks to that call from Michael.