Bankstown Sports Club would like to congratulate former Bankstown Sports Swimming Club member Rebecca Rippon, who has been appointed Head Coach of Australian Women’s Water Polo.
Bec - an Olympic bronze medallist who has played 266 test matches for Australia - becomes the first female to lead the squad and will take the team to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Bec began her sporting career at Birrong Pool around the age of 10, as a swimmer. Showing promise from an early age, she swam in national championship and open water swimming events over several years.
Bec took up water polo as a bit of fun during high school and soon realised there were more opportunities to compete at a professional level than swimming and decided to pursue a career in the sport.
After finishing school, she undertook a degree at Western Sydney University Milperra in the sports administration field, while also working at Birrong Pool in a general duties role.
Bec was also given the opportunity to coach various swimming programs and squads at Birrong and says this experience is what kick-started her coaching career.
“The skills and knowledge I got from swim coaching was in-part technical, but I learned more about group dynamics and managing interpersonal relationships within a squad. I learned a lot about how to motivate and how to bring out the best in people, and a lot of the ‘soft’ skills you need when leading professional athletes”.
Bec says one of her childhood dreams was to become a professional coach one day, and it’s surreal to think that it’s come true.
“As we were growing up, my sister and I always said the institute coach roles that had such a big influence on our careers, would be a dream job. We never really thought it would ever happen, but I ended up there!”
Bec says she still keeps in touch with her Birrong pool squad mates.
“We all caught up a few weeks ago actually. It was the old Bankstown crew which has always had a really strong connection, and we try and get together as regularly as we can.
“We all talk about it a lot, how our time at Birrong was the time of our lives. We’re all still friends and we look back at that and think we’re so lucky to have had that as kids. We still value those friendships and the connections we made, and I think we all try and recreate that for the kids we are coaching and working with now. It’s that sense of community and connection”.
During her career, Bec has coached at every level of the sport including the Australian Waterpolo League where she recently served as the NSWIS Head Coach. She has also led Australian national age group teams and dedicates time to key grassroots programs such as Water Polo NSW’s ‘Girls Making Waves’.
Bec hits the ground running in her new role with the Ord Minnett Aussie Stingers playing three Green and Gold Test Matches in Brisbane this month, as part of their selection for the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha.