Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett's lives still haven't slowed much since their whirlwind competitive season came to a close.
The couple won its first U.S. title, earned a trip to the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, placed seventh at the 2010 World Championships, was feted with a hometown parade, made appearances with the Smucker's Stars on Ice tour and visited the White House. And Denney, who turns 17 on June 22, is even learning how to drive, with hopes of getting her driver's license next month.
The U.S. pairs skating champions took a little bit of a breather for a couple of weeks -- Barrett kicked back a bit at the beach; Denney took spins in the car with her dad -- but now they are back at work, crafting their short and long programs in Toronto with choreographer David Wilson. The short program music will be revealed at a later date, and the free skate is to the George Gershwin classic, "Rhapsody in Blue.''
"I feel like this has all happened really, really fast and now we're back at the beginning again, back to square one,'' Denney said.
But being back on the ice is where they feel the most comfortable and both Denney and Barrett are excited to be working with Wilson. This season, the couple's third together, is the first in which the team is working with a choreographer other than their coach, Jim Peterson.
It was actually Peterson's idea to seek out a top choreographer for the team, and he went to Toronto with his skaters for the first few days of choreography sessions. Peterson returned to Florida because of other coaching commitments but Denney and Barrett will be in Toronto for a total of 10 days.
Denney and Barrett have been a very consistent team technically, but Peterson hopes they can reach a new level internationally by ramping up their choreography.
"They had a great season; that goes without saying,'' Peterson said. "And they did great in Vancouver and Torino as well, but I want to do everything I can to help this team and to help the country get three pairs teams at worlds. We're looking at the podium.
"I'm so happy the kids have this opportunity to really take them to another level.''
Wilson has designed programs for numerous elite skaters, including Yu-Na Kim's James Bond girl short program that helped vault her to the Olympic gold medal in Vancouver. He said he aware of Denney and Barrett's skating before Peterson contacted him about working with the team. Wilson was at the 2009 U.S. Championships in Cleveland, to help support some of his skaters, Adam Rippon and Alissa Czisny, and took notice of Denney and Barrett then.
"I remember the reaction from the crowd and all of the backstage drama, people talking and saying they should have won,'' Wilson said. "I know they've had these two amazing years. I think with pairs and dance teams, there's either a magic or there's not, and I think these two definitely have magic.''