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Houser makes nice splash at Olympic Swim Trials

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Matt Houser is a pretty confident kid, especially when it comes to the pool.
The rising J.H. Rose senior, one of the fastest swimmers in the area, recently returned home after competing in the eight-day Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha, Neb. While Houser anticipated a big stage, he underestimated the enormity just a bit.
After getting somewhat accustomed to the large gathering on hand, Houser hit the pool and performed well. He finished the 400 IM, comprised of the fly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle, in 4:32.56. That was good for 50th place overall.
A couple days later, Houser was back in the pool. He competed in the 200 IM and finished 71st overall with a 2:07.76 clocking.
The Rampant racer said he was pretty pleased with his efforts.
Even before Houser left for Omaha, he had to endure with some choppy waters. An E. Coli scare forced Greenville residents to have to boil water before consumption, while also prompting the closing of several city restaurants.
As soon as Houser got to Omaha, another wave of obstacles added another challenge for the young Greenville swimmer. A severe storm struck the Qwest Center, site of the Olympic Swim Trials, just when Houser was approaching.
Houser, who placed first in the 200 IM (1:51.31) and second in the 100 Yard Backstroke (51.04) at this year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A State Meet, credits much of his success to competing with the Greenville Swim Club.
Houser seems like a natural in the pool, and he definitely has the genes for it. His father, Ross Houser, was a swimmer at Rutgers University.
Houser, who said he admires Beijing Olympics-bound Ryan Lochte, practices anywhere from two to five hours a day. He doesn’t mind the long hours in the water, especially when he starts thinking about the swimmers who placed ahead of him during the Olympic Trials.
Houser, who is coached by Casey Charles of the Greenville Swim Club, is currently training for the Junior Nationals, which will be held Aug. 4-8 in Minnesota.
Houser is a goal-oriented swimmer. He’s already setting his sights on a specific target for his senior year of high school.
Once high school is finished, Houser plans to continue his swimming career in college. He’s looking at such places as North Carolina, Texas, Stanford, Virginia and Indiana, but admitted that he’s not close to making a decision.
He’s already looking even beyond college. Houser wants another crack at representing the United States in the Olympics.