Meopham teenager Maxime Carolan’s rapid progress in volleyball shows no signs of slowing down.
Carolan, who had England trials just a couple of months after taking up the sport, has been playing for his country since January.
The 14-year-old, a pupil at Gravesend Grammar School, has now been called up to the national squad for the under-17 Nevza indoor tournament in Denmark next month.
It’s an event featuring top young players in northern Europe.
It’s still only 16 months since Carolan first picked up a volleyball and how he’s taken to it, also enjoying success in beach volleyball.
He caught the eye at a training camp in Leeds to earn Nevza selection.
“Max is feeling great about it,” said mum Sophie Henry.
“He’s a very happy-go-lucky kid but he’s quite discreet about it.
“The amazing thing, where everyone is shocked and surprised, is he didn’t touch his first volleyball until one year and four months ago.
“He feels at one with a volleyball, it feels natural to him, that’s what he says to me.
“He knows he’s only at the beginning but he does look natural when he plays.
“He’s 6ft3in and still growing but he looks very graceful on the pitches.
“England have been teaching him what he needs to know.
“From when I first saw him train to when I saw him at camp last time, I barely recognise my son who started volleyball a year ago.
“You really have to be there to believe it.
“He’s just gone all the way up, nothing has stopped him.
“Being selected for England is always a big thing. The incredible thing is the timeframe.”
Carolan is a mature head on young shoulders.
With his mum’s help he’s organising a black-tie fundraising ball at Cobham Hall on October 29.
Money generated will help the teenager with his travel costs while also supporting the Sport in Mind charity.
“Even though he was offered the ball by Cobham Hall, he wants to use the event to raise money for Sport in Mind as well,” said Henry.
“I think he’s surprised a lot of people in the way he does things. He’s very mature for such a young kid.”
Tickets for the ball, which starts at 6.30pm, cost £75 and are available by calling 07917 896348.