Dylan Dunlop-Barrett is desperate to make his mark at Rio 2016, and his journey starts now . . . well, in a few weeks, anyway.
The Taranaki swimmer, who was a member of the New Zealand 4x200m men's freestyle team that failed to make the final at the London Olympics, is taking a break to catch some sun and surf
"I'm heading to Paris for a few days with mum [Joy] and dad [Noot]. Then I'm off to San Sebastian in Spain with some mates for some sun and surf, then finishing with a bang in Ibiza [an island in the Mediterranean Sea]."
The 21-year-old will return to Oakura before getting back into training.
"Sporting wise, I'm looking to have some fun with the sport for the next month or so. I have the New Zealand short course champs in seven weeks and then the World Cup in November," he said.
"Then it's building towards the world champs in Barcelona next year. If all goes well, I'll carry on swimming for another four years. I definitely want to be at Rio making my mark in 2016."
Dunlop-Barrett said it was only walking into the food hall for the last time at the Olympic village that he truly appreciated how "awesome" the Games had been. "I think I'm already starting to get a bit of post-Olympic depression."
Dunlop-Barrett said the past three weeks in the village had been the best of his life. "Competing at the Olympics is an experience that not even money can buy," he said.
"This last week I think has been more hectic than the week of racing for me. I only get a couple of weeks off a year, so I tried to do as much living as possible."
Dunlop-Barrett said he spent most of his time after his racing schedule finished watching sports or catching up with friends. "Most of my nights were spent running around London with my friends in the swim team. The girls' hockey was the most exciting sport I went to. Unfortunately, I missed seeing all the Kiwis win gold."
Surprisingly, one of the highlights for Dunlop-Barrett at the Games was the day before the closing ceremony - playing touch in the sun with the extended Kiwi team.
"The guitars quickly came out and it was the first real time we could all hang out. The simple things are what I will remember the most . . . that was a special moment."
His favourite memory of the Games was his race night.
"Stepping out from behind closed doors and walking on to the pool deck. I couldn't help but have a little smile when I walked out. It was pretty special."
The closing ceremony easily outdid the opening ceremony.
"Essentially, it was just an amazing concert whereas the opening was a lot more structured. I was with my team-mates Andy McMillan and Matt Stanley when the flame was extinguished and there was definitely a moment of sadness . . . it felt like the dream was over."
- Taranaki Daily News