+ Win Well

Olympians guiding new generation of Stingers to win well

For Bec Rippon, Australia’s first female Head Coach of the National Women’s Water Polo team, The Stingers, culture is number one.

Rippon represented Australia at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and was appointed as Head Coach in December, after serving as Assistant Coach at Tokyo and the last three World Championships.

And having just over 220 days to prepare both herself and the team for Paris, Rippon quickly identified the team’s culture as job number one.

“When I took over the head coaching role I thought, ‘I know the players, I know the staff, and I have good relationships’, but taking on the head coach role is a different thing,” Rippon said.

“I've come at it with a lot of enthusiasm, but also with some key areas that I think can have a big impact. So rather than trying to go too broad, just nailing down on things like the culture and our values and then some performance things in the pool as well.”

Australian Stingers Coach Bec Rippon

Among those helping Rippon with the culture piece are a couple of fellow former Stingers – Assistant Coach Tarryn Woods and Operations Manager Bronwyn Smith who have 208 and 242 Australian caps respectively and were both part of the gold medal winning team from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

“Having players who've been there and done that, like Tarryn and Bronwyn, just helps me feel more supported and that I can turn to them with any questions,” Rippon said.

“They've been through this as players and then they've both been involved in the program for a long time as staff members as well. We've also got Eddie Dennis, who's also played for Australia and coached at multiple Olympics, so I feel really quite lucky with the support that I have.

“I think having that knowledge and experience is really important, and having people who are also then willing to bring that and also be open to the new generation of players and what they bring. We've tried to really make this an inclusive environment where we want to hear their voices, we want to see what matters, and we're trying to create our own legacy and what that looks like for this team right now and what it looks like in the future.”

Australia wins gold in water polo at Sydney 2000 Games

Given her focus on team culture, Rippon really resonates with the vision of Australia’s High Performance 2032+ Sport Strategy vision, ‘We win well to inspire Australians’.

She said: “Win well to me means a lot of things. But I think it is really about embracing the players and who they are individually and bringing them into an environment where they are part of a team and part of something bigger.

‘We're really trying to drive their performance through a holistic approach. The work that we're doing on the culture piece is pretty massive and it's working on the team values and how we live them, how we breed them, and how we actually act in them.”

Want to learn more about how athletes are bringing Australian sport's vision to 'win well and inspire Australians' to life? Click here to read about Australian Boxing Captain Caitlin Parker and her preparations for Paris.

You can also make your own commitment to win well but signing the pledge here.

Australian Water Polo Stingers Coach Bec Rippon