Albury’s Mikaela Clemson has fulfilled a childhood dream by earning a swimming scholarship at a college in the US.
The 18-year-old flies out to Notre Dame College in Ohio at the end of August to study biology and compete against some of the best college swimmers in the country.
Clemson said it was a passion of hers to go to college in the US since she was 12 years of age.
After graduating from Albury High School last year, her dream became a reality when sporting agency NSR got back to her in May with an offer she had been waiting more than two years for.
“I want to see where I progress to and go from there because swimming in Australia is a lot harder than anywhere else,” Clemson said.
“I've been swimming since I was about eight months old and haven't really stopped since then.
“I've got to train over there and I've got competitions as well.”
The dedicated Albury Swim Club member has continued to train hard since finishing school.
With a string of achievements to her name in the pool, Clemson is excited for the challenge that lies in store.
She admitted she isn’t overwhelmed about the prospect of leaving home to complete her four-year degree on the other side of the world.
“It's more of an exciting thing, I'm not nervous at all except for the plane flight,” Clemson said.
“I've been to the US twice before, but not to this part of America.
“It was a long process until I got the offer and it has kept rolling on after that which is good.
“It all kind of happened at once.
“I'll miss my brothers (Bailey and Caleb) and dad, but you've got to do what you've got to do and I’ll fly back home when I can.”
Mikaela’s father, Paul, couldn’t be happier for her.
“There's been a hell of a lot of work involved to get to this stage,” he said.
“She created her own profile two-and-a-half years ago and sent it out to about 40 colleges.
“In the end, she got a couple of offers, but Notre Dame is a pretty good school to get into, so we're really happy.”
He admitted Mikaela has become very “regimented” with her approach to preparing for life as a US college student.
“The communication from the colleges is unbelievable,” Paul said.
“She normally sets her alarm for 3am to check her emails and then she'll do her responses until about 4am, go back to sleep and then she's normally up at 5am to go to training.
“I'm just looking forward to her getting over there and settling in.
“She's already had communication from the other girl she is boarding with as well,” he added.