He may have just turned 13 this week but Bradley Cullen already has a long list of sporting achievements that looks likely to only grow.
The Cambridge Middle School pupil returned from Samoa last month after competing in the Samoa Swim Series.
Lining up against swimmers from Australia, New Zealand and Samoa, Bradley was listed as the youngest competitor and was pleased with his efforts in the open-water event.
"I did pretty good. I got fourth in the open age group and second in my age group," he said.
Just to add to his recent accomplishments, this past week saw Bradley finish first in his age group at the Waikato Inter-Intermediate and Middle School cross-country competition at Porritt Stadium.
The year 8 pupil initially began swimming competitively at the age of 9 after the tragic loss of his younger brother in a drowning accident.
He later received a bike and from there began participating in triathlons.
"I got a bike and started doing triathlons because Mum thought it would be a good idea, so I carried on with that."
Since then, Bradley has continued on.
He said what he loved most about competing in triathlons was the pure enjoyment, while the chance to meet people and travel excited him.
In April, the gifted athlete won gold in the year 8 age group in the National Schools Open Water Swimming Championships at Lake Karapiro.
When asked about his favourite moment in his relatively young sporting career, Bradley said winning the inaugural national event was top of the lot.
"Probably getting first in the open water nationals a couple of months ago," Bradley said.
In addition to triathlons, Bradley played fullback for the Cambridge Gwynne Shield rugby side where the team placed third at this year's tournament.
Though Bradley admits he loves his rugby, he is adamant his sporting future is in triathlons and swimming.
The young powerhouse trains every day in the pool while he runs once a week and plans to pick up his training on the bike as he prepares for events later this year.
"I'm just preparing for the Waikato short-course champs in the pool," he said.
"In the triathlon, I'm going to the grand final of ITU in October."
The ITU event will host a one-off contest for youngsters to coincide with the main World Triathlete series.
Inspired by the recent London Games, Bradley aims to one day compete in the Olympics, following in the footsteps of his role model and British gold medal triathlete Alistair Brownlee.
As his achievements mount, Bradley could follow on from Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty in New Zealand's proud history of triathletes.
- Waikato Times