Talented Rangitikei College athlete Blake Gunn is ready to take his swimming to the next level.
Gunn won two silver medals at the New Zealand Secondary School Swimming Champs earlier this year and will attend Massey University in Palmerston North next year to study sport and exercise.
The move will allow him to increase his training and focus, allowing him to see how far his talents will take him.
Dunn trains with Kiwi West Aquatics, travelling to Palmerston North most days, sometimes twice.
"At the moment it's six times a week," Gunn said.
The Klitscher Cup winner and college senior sports champion has been swimming competitively since he was 12 but was introduced to water long before.
"When I first started swimming, Mum said I sank to the bottom and didn't come back up," he said.
"I still like it, I just do it for myself and try do the best that I can," he said.
"It's good to socialise with people who have the same interests to you."
He said he still had a lot of room for improvement and wants to achieve as much as he can next year.
"Hopefully I'll learn some more stuff so I can improve. I'll throw in some dry-land gym work as well."
He is taking a wait-and-see approach to his goals at the moment, but said representing New Zealand is the obvious goal.
"I'm not to sure at the moment, I'll just see how much progress I make next year," he said.
"That would be the ultimate goal."
Gunn plans to use his studies to work in coaching and training.
Rangitikei College sports co-ordinator Rebecca Coss said Gunn was an example of how sporting excellence can be coupled with academic achievement, having got third in statistics.
Among Gunn's achievements are several regional titles and a tenth place the 200m backstroke at the New Zealand Open and Olympic trials.
- Manawatu Standard