Andy Faberelle, a senior at Herndon, started swimming when he was 6 years old in Puerto Rico because it was "something to do." He went to a school far from his neighborhood and did not have many friends. Swimming was not only fun, it introduced him to kids his age.

He continued swimming when his family moved to Texas but quit when they moved to the Washington area six years ago. Now, at 17, Fabarelle finds it difficult to convey the thoughts and feelings an 11-year-old had about what's important and what isn't.

"It got really boring," he said, not really sure how he could feel that way about an activity he hopes will pay for his education and bring him fame.

"It just didn't feel right. When I was 10 I was really good and when I got here and was 11, I wasn't swimming as fast. It was depressing."

Faberelle returned to the water at 13 and last year, at 16, he posted the second fastest 100-meter butterfly time in Puerto Rico, good enough for a slot on the national team. He's hoping to compete in the Pan Am Games in Cuba later this year and the world championships next year.