Rope warrior

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For competitive jump roper Dylan Plummer, swing kicks and power tricks are a great way to blow off steam at the Case School of Engineering.

By Maddy Fixler

Most people might have a hard time connecting computer science and jump roping. Not Dylan Plummer. A world champion since childhood, he opted to keep on jumping at the Case School of Engineering, where he finds that the rigors of programming and competitive jump roping blend just fine.

“I’d say jump rope is an integral part of my experience,” said Plummer, a third-year computer science major from Cincinnati. “It’s a good way to take a break from the workload, get your mind off of the mental strain, and do something physically straining instead.”

Plummer won his first world championship at age 10. When he was 12, he was picked to perform on America's Got Talent. Now he jumps with friends on campus and expands his skills with Case Western Reserve University’s Martial Arts Tricking Club.

At the most recent World Jump Roping Championships--July 1-10 at the University of Central Florida--he walked away with several awards, including a first-place finish with his four-person freestyle routine. He credits his love of the sport for being able to balance college and life as an athlete.

“Being in school has made me figure out new ways to motivate myself to do well,” Plummer said.

In between finishing class assignments, competing with the student robotics team and practicing his tricks, Plummer still finds time to add to the Jump Rope Tricktionary, his database of jump roping tricks divided by skill level. It’s available for Android and on the Internet at the-tricktionary.com.

Plummer began developing the app in high school, after taking a computer science course. He launched it during his senior year and has been expanding it ever since.

With competitive jump roping growing internationally, Plummer has found a way to give interested jumpers access to his body of knowledge.

 “Instead of focusing on making myself the very best, now I want to focus on making the next generation better than me” he said. “The generation that came before me taught me everything they knew, and so they gave me the skills necessary to make my own skills and push it forward. Now I can teach the next generation.”

A lot of the app’s traffic comes from users in India and Germany, countries where the sport is gaining popularity.

A rapidly diversifying audience brings the need for changes. Plummer has been working with fellow jump ropers to translate his app into different languages. It is already available in Danish, German, Russian and Swedish.

Plummer has been accepted into CWRU’s integrated BS/MS program for computer science, and he will start those advanced classes this fall. Still, he has no plans to put down the rope anytime soon.

“It’s kind of like an infinite game in that there’s no way to win jump rope. The goal is to keep coming up with new and creative skills,” he said. “So I’m kind of past the point of trying to win every competition, especially because I’m getting old [for the sport], but there’s still always room to make up new tricks.”

To see him in action, view this video clip from the World Jump Rope Federation 2017 championships.