The scenery, the weather and the overall atmosphere in Colorado Springs - all beautiful.
But Karlee Carminati really didn't take it all in until she looked over to the next few lanes to see who happened to be training in the very same pool.
"I looked over and saw Katie Ledecky and Jessica Hardy, over there training," the youngster gushed, speaking of the two U.S. Olympic medalists. "It was really cool.'Carminati had to get used to the Colorado altitude but the 15-year-old is still on a pretty good high after spending a week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. One of five Germantown Academy swimmers chosen to make the trip, Carminati not only put in plenty of quality miles in the pool but also enjoyed sharing the same pool with some of the best competitors in the world.
"I'm just trying to do my best, train really hard for the upcoming meets," she said.
The GA swimmer from North Wales already has her Junior National cut and will compete at the 2014 Speedo Junior National Championships in Irvine, Calif. July 30-Aug. 3.
"I'm starting long-course, focusing on the 800 and 1,500, my best events,' she said. "Right now I've been doing doubles three days a week — swim twice a day, before school and after school. It's hard but you get used to it. You come home, do your homework, and get to bed early."
Way back, Karlee used to tag along with her older sister, Kaylyn, to meets.
"I tried it and loved it," she said of the sport.
As a freshman this past year at Germantown Academy, Carminati was integral to the Patriots' success, and that includes capturing the team title at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships.Sierra Schmidt and Carminati went one and two in the 500 free in helping GA rack up 526 points over the two-day event. Schmidt and Carminati were two of the five Patriot swimmers to make the trip out to Colorado Springs, joining Andrew Defriece, Shannon McKernan and Madison Visco.
Carminati, the youngest of the five, immediately had a story to tell when she and her teammates were greeted by some unexpected visitors.
"She texts me and I just start cracking up," said Leslie, her mom. "There was a camp that came in, touring the facility, and all of the kids come over to the swimmers and started asking for their autographs. They thought they were Olympic swimmers. Maybe someday..."
Karlee, who hopes to reach the 2016 or 2020 Olympic Games, will go for her Olympic Trial cut out in Irvine this summer.
Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.