The leaves seemed brown and the sky seemed grey for Glenn Snyders as he missed out on an individual medal in Glasgow, but the breaststroke specialist still believes California is the place to be in order to fulfil his Olympic dreams.
Snyders relocated to America last year to boost his prospects of a medal at Rio 2016 and, with a lack of top-level breaststroke specialists in New Zealand, the move has allowed the 27-year-old to compete regularly against the world's best.
But while his new programme did not bear fruit at these Commonwealth Games - he finished fifth in the men's 50m competition - Snyders believes he will reap the rewards over the next two years.
"The move was something that I needed and it's something that I'm glad I did," he said. "It's taken a year and a half to get settled because it's a different programme, different lifestyle and different everything.
"But now I'm finally settled and I can spend the next two years focusing on what I actually went there to do. I think it will come good and, having not really spent a solid period of time there yet, I will be there for a good six-month period in September." With a new crop of talented breaststrokers emerging in the world of swimming, Snyders is almost considered to be a veteran of his craft.
His domination of every distance at national level meant he was not being pushed to his limits, prompting the move away from the Millennium Institute.
"For me, America is much better in terms of competition," he said. "There are breaststrokers to train with, which I don't have in New Zealand. It drives me towards Rio. In New Zealand I win trials by a fair amount; there's not really much competition.
"My coach is great. He's a top breaststroke coach and I learn new things every day. We're still trying to figure each other out, but I think things will keep improving.
"Facilities are better but, at the end of the day, a pool is a pool. It depends what you do in it and who you're doing it with."
Snyders is not the only Kiwi to have made the move Stateside. Lauren Boyle received a scholarship for the University of California, but eventually returned home to New Zealand.
And while Snyders failed to get his podium finish in Glasgow, Boyle won silver in the women's 800m freestyle at Tollcross in front of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
"I'm so happy to have an individual medal at the Commonwealth Games," said Boyle. "I feel proud that I could do it for New Zealand."
Boyle will have one last shot at gold this morning [NZT] when she tackles the women's 400m freestyle. Swimming medals have been few and far between, but the sky won't seem so grey if Boyle can add one final flourish in Glasgow.