House Heroes: Dream Big

Alex Kirchner is a promising young Australian swimmer with dreams of making the Australian Olympic team. But despite being born deaf, he refuses to let that stop him on his path to glory.

15 year old Alex Kirchner is a world class swimmer, who was diagnosed with genetic hearing loss as a baby.

“When I first started swimming, I watched the Olympics and I was like ‘I’m going to be there one day’ and that’s been my goal ever since,” says Alex.

His mother recalls his diagnosis as an upsetting time, where there were concerns about his future, his schooling and what it would mean growing up as a hearing impaired child.

“It was difficult being hearing impaired,” recalls Alex. “When I first started swimming my mum used to hold my ankle at the start of a race and she would let go when the buzzer went off.”

“Over time I’ve learnt to watch the light on the side of the pool and I can go when that light goes off.”

Alex has been swimming for Australia since he was 12 years old and in 2017 he represented Australia at the Deaflympics.

“He was one of the youngest Australians in the Australian Deaflympic team and he came fourth in two of his races and that is against open competitors,” recalls his mother.

“It was amazing to be wearing the green and gold,” says Alex. “The Australian uniform was everything and it was great to compete against people from other countries all around the world.”

In 2018 Alex was named Australian Male Deaf athlete of the year.

If Alex is to represent Australia in the mainstream Olympics he’s going to have to continue training hard, says his mother. “Early mornings, every night and still have that commitment to go. Being deaf doesn’t stop him at all.”

Alex is now a youth ambassador for Deaf Children Australia, inspiring young people to achieve their goals.

“Being deaf doesn’t stop me, it doesn’t frustrate me at all, but it certainly drives me closer to achieving my goals,” he says. “My absolute dream is to make the Olympic team.”

“There’s definitely nothing stopping us, we can all achieve what we want to and you can do anything you set your mind to, so dream big and you’ll get there.”

Discover more about the services and opportunities that Deaf Children Australia provides to enhance the lives of hearing impaired children.

Filmed on location at Auburn Aquatic Centre.