It’s already been a busy 12 months at the South West Academy of Sport, with several athletes and officials achieving in and out of competition. Justin Fris takes a look at some of SWAS’ best moments over the past year: Official opening of SWAS headquarters Despite opening its doors last July on Spencer Street in Bunbury, SWAS chief executive Bernice Butlion was determined the academy’s new headquarters got the official opening it deserved. On November 8, the building was officially opened by Sport and Recreation Minister David Templeman, who amused the crowd with his speech prior to cutting the ribbon. “It is great to see that the minister supports SWAS and other sporting initiatives, which give as many people as possible the opportunity to take part in sport,” Butlion said during the function. Several SWAS athletes also attended the opening and assisted with the event’s co-ordination. Success celebrated at SWAS annual awards dinner In February, a jam-packed Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre witnessed another successful SWAS annual awards dinner. Prior to the formalities of the evening, the audience listened to former Perth Wildcats captain Greg Hire, who spoke about the importance of mental health — along with how he embraced challenges in life to become a successful athlete. Affectionally known as the “Bunbury Bullet”, para-swimmer Alex Saffy was crowned SWAS Sports Star of the Year, on the make of appearances at both the 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Para Swimming Championships. Despite not being able to attend the evening because of his training commitments in Canberra, Saffy said he was blown away by the honour. “As a regional athlete it was so important to have the support of SWAS as it really helped me to prepare for the experiences of the past year,” Saffy said. “I really appreciate all that Bernice and her team do to help the athletes in the South West. “To receive the individual male athlete of the year and sports star of the year award is an honour, especially amongst so many talented athletes.” Award winners SWAS Sports Star of the Year: Alex Saffy (swimming - para). Community achiever: Lauren Rowe (dressage). Emerging star: Thomas Cross (athletics). Female team athlete: Ashlee Jarvis (hockey) and Ella Roberts (football). Male team athlete: Brady Hough (football). Individual female athlete: Lauren Rowe (dressage). Individual male athlete: Alex Saffy (swimming - para), Wally Foreman Coach of the Year: Matt Jamieson (football) and Keith Old (hockey). Community and inclusion embraced at Fun Run SWAS’s decision to relocate its annual fun run from Bunbury’s Leschenault inlet to the Australind foreshore again paid of, with solid participation numbers across all categories. A new category — 2km run — was created for family members of all ages to participate in the event.