When Quintin McCarty was 8 years old, his mother Annie put him in swimming because she did not want to pay for a babysitter.

And it didn’t take long for McCarty to make waves.

“I remember bits and pieces, and I remember enjoying it right away,” McCarty said. “I felt like I was pretty good, but I never knew until my friend’s mom got me into my first swim meet like two weeks after I started.”

From there McCarty joined a club team and began to swim year round, continuing to hone his natural talent in the sport.

Flash forward seven years and McCarty keeps himself busy with two-a-day practices starting at 5:30 a.m., and balances club competition at Pikes Peak Athletic and high school swimming with Discovery Canyon.

“As soon as you get past those first couple of practices you start feeling better and better,” McCarty said. “It’s hard work all the time, you just have to go for it.”

His hard work since his first leap into the pool led him to a pair of individual All-American consideration times and four state medals as a freshman — earning him the title of the Gazette Preps boys’ swimming and diving Peak Performer of the Year.

“It was so exciting to see him at state,” Discovery Canyon coach Dave Burgess said. “He is one of those talents that comes along once in a lifetime.”

McCarty won the Class 4A 50 freestyle in 20.90 seconds for an All-American consideration time, and placed second in the 100 back in 50.77 for another CAA time.

“When you touch the wall you get a rush of adrenaline and you feel like you’re at an all-time high. Especially if you look up and you see your name and look over at the place and you’re in first,” McCarty said.

“It’s really exciting to see that and you feel really, really happy.”

He also swam the anchor leg in Discovery Canyon’s winning 400 free and 200 medley relay teams.

“At the start of this year I knew some things were in reach, but I never knew about the all-American times,” McCarty said. “It’s just cool to know that when you put in all of this hard work anything is possible.”