It’s been more than a year since Austin Levingston, son of Cindy and Beau Levingston, Great Bend, was plunged into the limelight after a post he made on Facebook congratulating U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps on his success in Rio went viral.
In 2016, the Barton Community College student shared with Phelps how his career has inspired the young man to swim competitively and how this has helped him to overcome some of his own limitations associated with autism and to attend college, with the goal of being the first in his immediate family to graduate with a degree.
In November of this year, Special Olympics of Kansas posted on Facebook that Levingston was invited to Michael Phelps Foundation swim training in Chicago.
“Levingston (who even resembles Phelps) has always considered Phelps as one of his heroes,” the post noted, sharing photos to back up the claim. “Austin participated in a Special Olympics swim training class, and was presented the IM AMAZING Award by Phelps himself. Austin is a member of The Storm of Great Bend Special Olympics. Congrats Austin! #kansasproud #focusonyourpassion.”
Levingston graduated from Great Bend High School in 2013. During his senior year, the memory that meant the most to him was when the high school swim team went to state. It was also the year he received the Most Inspirational Swimmer award from his teammates on the Golden Belt Swim Squad.