Built for water polo
It will be a striking birthday for Kumeu resident Thomas Kingsmill.
He turns 19 while playing for the New Zealand men's water polo team at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
The team trains in Eger, Hungary, before heading to the event which runs from July 22 to August 3.
The Kiwis have been pitted against some of the top countries in a hard pool and will be joined by a larger squad of players and a strong support crew on their travels to Europe.
Thomas' mother Rosemary says her 1.9 metre tall strapping boy will be away for his July 23 birthday for the first time.
The national goalkeeper, nicknamed TK, still has connections with Kristin School since notching up a stack of awards there when he left last year.
He still has time between his busy training schedule and working for Super Yacht Support to coach school teams.
He has also earned other accolades like a ASB Young Sportsperson of the Year award and a Don Oliver Youth Sports Foundation award.
Since his international debut for the New Zealand under-15 side in 2009, Thomas has had strong support from his North Harbour club.
He has become a potent defender thanks to his "have a go at any sport" and "hate losing" attitude combined with his naturally athletic part-Cook Island physique.
"Water polo is my main passion. I love being in the water," he says.
If his water polo career doesn't pan out, he's keen on joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force and looks to his dad Angus who he regards as the most influential person in his life.
The former RAF and NZAF pilot is an Air New Zealand simulator instructor and examiner.