Hawke's Bay kayaker Scott Bicknell's on-water performances have been just as classy as his time management skills this summer.
Bicknell's three silver and two bronze medals at last month's Rotorua-hosted flat water sprint nationals resulted in him being ranked the third fastest paddler in New Zealand.
``This means I have a very realistic goal of being a member of the 2012 New Zealand team at the London Olympics,' Bicknell told SportToday this week.
There will be numerous international events during the next three years for Bicknell, 20, to prove he is worthy of Olympic Games selection. As a New Zealand Kayaking High Performance Programme squad member, Bicknell will head to Europe next month for two World Cup events - the first in Poland and the second in Hungary.
``If I perform well in those I will qualify for the August world championships in Canada,' said Bicknell.
While the K1 spots for the Europe expedition have yet to be confirmed, Bicknell and North Shore's Troy Burbidge will tackle the K2 500 and 1000 events they hope to compete in, in Canada.
``The K2 is my best chance in the long run for the Olympics and there is also a chance of a K1 500 spot,' said Bicknell.
The Massey University student has already represented New Zealand at last year's Hungary under-23 nationals and Czech Republic nationals where he made A finals.
Bicknell has also competed at the Australian Grand Prix.
``I understand the effort and commitment required to attain the highest level and having the chance to represent my country at the next Olympics makes all this hard work worthwhile,' said Bicknell.
The hard work includes four hours of training each day and up to 12 sessions a week. Despite these commitments he has completed two years of a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Human Geography and is on target to complete the degree this year.
``I've maintained a B-plus average and have often had to com plete papers extramurally as I have been training and competing around the country or overseas,' said Bicknell.
Once this degree is completed he intends to do a masters degree in planning. In addition to his kayaking and study commitments, during the summer Bicknell also worked for the Napier City Council Planning Department, coached and competed with the Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club and represented Hawke's Bay in the New Zealand Surf League.
``I've only been able to do this by utilising strong time management practices and focus,' said Bicknell.
At the same time, he knows as the Olympics get closer he may have to give surf lifesaving a miss and focus more on getting to London.
Considering what he has achieved on the water this sum mer, with so many commitments off it, Bicknell is right ... London is a realistic goal.