Forrest, who has competed three years running in Junior Nationals, appreciates the sacrifices his family has made.
"Sometimes if I don't swim very fast, I feel guilty that I brought them here," Forrest said. "It's added pressure that fuels me and cripples me at the same time … I don't want to let them down."
But his mother said the family, now ensconced in faculty housing on the Hightstown campus and part of a warm community, is happy on the East Coast. And she said Forrest's drive comes from within.
"There is something about swimmers that just have this internal drive to meet every goal with total perfection," she said. "You can kind of see it in his eyes."
Today, the 17-year-old is spending four weeks in an academic science program in Durham, N.C., but when he isn't in the lab, he is training with Duke Aquatics for the Junior Nationals, which begin Aug. 13.
His time for the 200-meter breast stroke is 2.19.47.
Forrest will begin looking at colleges this fall, where he wants to study theoretical physics -- and continue training with a school that can help push him harder.
And what if he never gets to the Olympics, will he regret the ordinary teen years he missed?
"Swimming has taught me a lot about myself and that is valuable," said Forrest. "I have learned to balance time and strive for something I am passionate about. In the end, when I stop, it will all be worth it to know I gave everything I could --- that I still tried."