Fearless King’s College pupil Schmidt says competing at Olympics Games is his goal
If you follow the sport of trampoline, you will have heard of King's College student Dylan Schmidt.
Not only is the 17-year-old the best schoolboy trampolinist in the country, he is also the best adult exponent of the sport here, and has been for the last four years.
So well is he tracking that it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could be New Zealand's first Olympic trampolinist at Rio in 2016 and certainly Tokyo in 2020.
"The Olympics are the ultimate goal and that's been the goal for a while, but there's a lot of stepping stones to get there," says a modest Schmidt.
While King's College, where he boards, does not have a trampoline, he does have his restricted driver's licence, so can make the 15-minute trip to his training base in Onehunga, Extreme Trampoline, without fuss. There you will find him from 7-9pm each weekday night and on Saturday mornings, repetitively honing his technique and routines under the watchful eye of coach Jarrod Heriot.
Schmidt, in his senior year at King's, is originally from Te Anau, then Waihi, and recalls getting into the sport at the age of five or six.
"It was just for fun. We always had a backyard tramp and always loved jumping."
Schmidt started competing at nationals at 10, the worlds aged 12, and in 2009 won the men's under 13 world title (his career highlight), not bad for a Kiwi up against the Chinese and Europeans, traditionally the sport's powerhouses.
He admits he is a strongly competitive athlete, with that drive to win that you cannot coach. The mental side of trampolining is also critical.
"When I'm on the tramp, there's not much else going through my mind. It's in my memory and everything's just natural. It's hard to explain."
As for fear, which many of us have harboured when we overdo it on the tramp?
"There's no fear. I've been doing it for so long, we get taught how to crash and I'm spatially aware. I've never been injured trampolining."
Next on the horizon for Schmidt is next month's Youth Olympics in China, which will represent his last major event as a junior.
He has played tennis and rugby and is in the King's shooting team, but trampolining is undoubtedly No 1.
Extreme Trampoline head coach Angie Dougal has worked with Schmidt for several years and says he is a long way from his peak, given the average age of an Olympian is 26.
"He's very coachable and he's got talent to burn. His compulsory routine is technically nearly perfect, scoring mid to high nines," said Dougal.
Schmidt will not, however, be trying to pull off his latest move, a triff, triple front with a 720 degree twist, at the Youth Olympics.
He'll save that for when he has bigger fish to fry and has it practice perfect.
Those moves, with a high degree of difficulty, score highly if you can execute them as part of your voluntary routine.
Schmidt says the sport is competitive but is mostly about focusing inwardly.
"You can't change what other people are doing. It's all about you and preparing as well as you can.
"It's an individual sport but there is a social aspect to it. I've got a lot of friends from other countries, which is nice."
College Sport will return on July 30 after school holidays.