Benchmark of success

Traralgon teen Aaron Benc placed seventh in the double mini trampoline at the National Gymnastics Championships earlier this month. photograph hayley mills

Traralgon teen Aaron Benc placed seventh in the double mini trampoline at the National Gymnastics Championships earlier this month. photograph hayley mills

Bouncing around on a trampoline with reckless abandon is part and parcel of many childhoods but for Aaron Benc it's a much more refined art.

The 14-year-old traded in artistic gymnastics for trampolining a couple of years ago and his decision is starting to pay dividends.

At the National Gymnastics Championships at Melbourne Park earlier this month Aaron competed in the double mini trampoline under-17 division and placed seventh in the country as a bottom-ager – his best result yet.

"I really didn't expect anything going into the championships, I just wanted to do better than last year and actually make my two passes," Aaron said.

At last year's championships the Traralgon resident finished 14th and not only bettered it by seven spots this year but fell just one placing short of a berth in the final.

Mum Jen was among the proud cheer squad at Hisense Arena and couldn't help but marvel at Aaron's progression over the last 12 months.

"The thing I was most proud about this year was that we went in there and was just really composed and actually had a really good time," Jen said.

"He actually took it in this year and had time to help show some of the first-timers the way.

"He works hard and focuses and that's what life is all about – focusing on something and doing the best you can."

The double mini trampoline can be likened to a mix of gymnastics, athletics and trampolining.

Athletes sprint down a carpeted track and hurtle onto the apparatus, perform double and triple somersaults, land on a trampoline and a dismount onto a landing mat.

Jen described Aaron's pet event as "fast and complicated" but luckily for him there is no shortage of practice at his disposal.

As well as training at Maffra Gymnastics, the Trafalgar High School student has a part-time job at a local trampoline park.

"That's where I learn all my skills from, is the trampoline park," Aaron said.

"I get to bounce around a bit and help people and practice while I'm at work."

The next 12 months for Aaron will focus on building towards a third stint at the national championships in 2018 when he will get another crack at the under-17 title – this time as a top-ager.

"I'm either on my scooter, at work, at school or on the trampoline in the backyard," he said.

"The main this about it is that it's fun."

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