Eyes set on the 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Para Swimming Championships

Alex Saffy will be striving to gain international classification next year after narrowly missing out on the chance to compete in Tokyo at the Paralympics.

With the Commonwealth Games and World Para Swimming World Championships taking place in 2022, the South West Academy of Sport recruit wants to ensure another opportunity to pull on the green and gold doesn’t disappear.

Saffy, a teen swimming sensation known as the “Bunbury Bullet”, has embarked on a journey to secure an international classification which will allow him to compete on the world stage for Australia.

Recently categorised as a Tier 4 athlete with Swimming Australia as well as being a member of the national para development team, Saffy is fortunate to have access to opportunities that will help him on his journey to reaching his goals.

“International classification evaluation occurs at WPS approved and sanctioned competitions around the world so athletes need the backing of Swimming Australia to be selected to go. I am really hoping I have the opportunity to get classified before the international meets next year,” Saffy said.

“I qualified for and had a provisional spot on the Paralympic team but because I don’t have an international classification – which is what you need to compete internationally – I wasn’t able to go. But that’s all right.”

The 15-year-old Dalyellup resident, who trains with the Bunbury Swimming Club, made a plan earlier this month in support of his worlds and Commonwealth campaigns.

Being part of the SWAS Individual Athlete Support Program is providing the Bunbury Catholic College student with high-level support.

Saffy, who has Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, is the second para athlete to earn a place in the SWAS Individual Athlete Support Program and the first para swimmer to be part of the program.

“The support has been good. I’ve been getting access to workshops and physio, which is really helpful of them. I am very appreciative of their support,” Saffy said.

Training six to eight times a week in the pool, plus two to three sessions in the gym, has seen Saffy produce some amazing results in the water, including at the 2021 Hancock Prospecting WA Short Course Championships held in Perth last month.

He performed strongly at the Championships, walking away with a gold medal haul that included first place in the able-bodied 200m butterfly along with an official Australian record in the multi-class S9 category.

His efforts led to him being named as one of six regional athletes selected into the State team for the 2021 Duel in the Pool.

While the team will be unable travel to Canberra for the 2021 State Team Championships which was cancelled due to COVID-19, they will attend and compete in a duel meet between WA Gold and WA Black at Christchurch Grammar School between October 4 and 6.

Despite achieving a high-level of success, it is friendship that motivates Saffy to return to the pool each day.

“The friendship and the people here. I like having the boys and the rest of the squad around. It makes me want to come to training because we have a laugh and stuff,” Saffy said.

 

Alex Saffy’s 2021 Hancock Prospecting WA Short Course Championships results:

MC (Multi-Class) races

Gold in:

400m Free MC

100m IM MC

100m Free MC

100m Fly MC

200m Fly Able Bod

50m Free MC

100m Breast MC

200m Free MC

50m Fly MC

Able bodied races

Gold in:

200m Fly – 2:10.11