When the Westminster College swim team arrived for training in St. Petersburg, they could not believe their eyes. Standing poolside at the North Shore Aquatic Complex was a man some might consider an Olympic giant.
The Pennsylvania students would be sharing the water with Michael Phelps.
"We were standing there and we're like, 'That kid looks really like Michael Phelps,'" said Westminster College senior Carrie Whisel. "We were like, 'No he's too short. He's not even going to be here. He didn't say he was going to be here. It's probably not him.' Then of course later on, we find out that was Michael Phelps!"
Phelps, a 22-time gold medalist, was among the Olympians who trained in St. Petersburg Thursday afternoon. Others included gold medalist Allison Rodgers Schmitt.
The students called the opportunity to swim side-by-side with famous athletes inspiring.
"Honestly it is awesome, it's like a swimmer's dream to say you're swimming in the same pool," Westminister College swimmer Amanda Marlow told FOX 13 news.
"They always say swimming is underrated and it's what the Olympic swimmers do that brings such attention to the sport," said Whisel. "It's so cool to be right next to them. We're pushing off the wall and they're just right next to you. It's like pushing me to go faster. It's like pushing the whole team."
The city's Parks and Recreation director says some of the athletes are training for a meet in Austin, Texas later this month. They are part of the 2016 Summer Olympics team competing in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.