Music is what gets this young swimmer moving, and for Alexander Tuckfield, it seems to be the key to success after qualifying for his maiden Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The 16-year-old is set to compete in the Men’s 50m and 400m Freestyle (S9), after automatically qualifying alongside Brenden Hall (S9) at Trials in Adelaide.
The adventure of a lifetime is dawning on the young SLC Aquadot swimmer as he embarks on his first Games, but for one of Australia’s most promising distance swimmers, he believes he wouldn’t be where he is today without the support of his nearest and dearest.
“My mum was there for the earlier starts for trainings and my dad was at every race so both of them were involved; I am so grateful for them,” he said.
In addition to the support he gets at home, the other key factor to his success is what happens in his head during a race.
“The thing that motivates me in the water is making sure I’ve got perfect technique, it’s something I strive for – and the music in my head,” he said.
“If it wasn’t for the music that plays every time I swim, I would not be going to Tokyo.
“It runs through this one band I found about four years ago now. It’s heavy metal but the words, the music, the rhythm, it’s the best build up for when you’re swimming and in the final lap it all comes together – it may as well be a concert in my head.”
His coach Gavin Stewart from SLC Aquadot has been with him all the way, after Tuckfield made the switch from cross country to swimming four years ago.
This moment has been a long time coming. With the disruption caused by Covid resulting in 4am beach swims trying to keep in shape, it was a steep slope for the young gun, but it’s all coming together now.
“He showed me what the rewards would be if I put in the effort,” Tuckfield said.
“He showed me how to put in the effort and, now I’m here.”
When asked what it meant to have his name called out on the Australian Paralympic team, he responded humorously.
“I was trying to look good on camera, but it definitely messed that up,” he joked.
“The whole time lining up I was just jumping around. I was ready to swim, honestly, I was ready to dive in.
“That day my mum, well, she definitely used a lot of tissues.”
Good Luck for your first Paralympic Games, Alex!