It has been a year to remember for talented Mount Maunganui College sportsman Justin Pickering.
The 15-year-old is a valued member of the Papamoa Surf Club and is a strong ocean swimmer, with his second place at Thursday night's Shorebreak Ocean Swim Series 1500m swim confirmation of that.
But it is water polo where he made his mark in 2013 with selection in the New Zealand under-15 team that competed in Brisbane against the Queensland rep team in July, winning the series 3-0.
Justin's role is to score the goals and he certainly has a knack for putting the ball in the net. He is grateful for the coaching he has received from various members of the Kayes family, the name synonymous with water polo success in the Western Bay.
"I have had a bit to do with Paul but more to do with his sons Danny and Joe," Justin said.
Emulating Joe Kayes and becoming a full time professional water polo player in the lucrative European market is the ultimate goal, so Justin trains hard, swimming five to six mornings every week.
"I would like to do what Joe is doing and get a scholarship to go overseas and either play for a college in America or end up in a league over in Australia, Croatia or Hungary," Justin said.