UW Swimmers To Take Part in 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'

Sept. 27, 2007

SEATTLE - The University of Washington swimming team will take part in an upcoming episode of the hit television show 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.' A local Kirkland resident, Connie Chapin, and her four children have been selected by the show to have a new home built for them.

Chapin, who is raising her four kids on her own, supports the family by teaching disadvantaged children to swim. Her current 100-year old home also serves as a work space for Chapin - she uses a pool in her backyard to teach swimming lessons.

'It was an answer to a dream, an answer to a prayer, an answer to a lot of problems that I couldn't solve myself,' Chapin said.

The house, which Chapin has lived in her whole life, is scheduled to be demolished on Thursday, and the show is expected to air sometime in January. It is good timing for Chapin, who recently learned from an independent structural engineer that her house could collapse at any moment.

'Structurally, it's a mess,' said John Littlefield, who is a member of the show's design team. 'It could cave in at any time.'

On Sunday, Chapin will use Husky Pool on campus to conduct lessons from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. The UW swimming team will be there to assist Chapin, and ABC will be filming for a segment that will be a part of the show in January.

Wednesday morning, Chapin and her four children experienced a life-changing event when they heard the voice of Ty Pennington, the lead designer for the reality television show, screaming from a megaphone. Pennington and the rest of the crew from 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' had filled the street in front of the Chapin's Highlands neighborhood home along with TV-production vans and neighbors.

Chapin, who made her own nomination tape for the show, was selected from some 15,000 applications that the show receives each week. A team of local volunteers will rebuild the home over the next seven days while Chapin and her family vacation in Vero Beach, Fla., at the Disney Vero Beach Resort.

The Chapin's current home will be replaced by a 3,500-square-foot home with a 900-square-foot attached garage and pool. The house will be built on the lot by Doyle Custom Homes of Olympia and the Building Industry Association of Washington. A value for the project has not been determined, but all services will be donated. The trip to Florida is being paid for by ABC-TV.

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