AIS Women's Water Polo - Melissa Rippon
Melissa began playing water polo at the age of 13, following her older sister, Rebecca, and two brothers — Adam and Justin who played for Sefton High School based in Sydney — into the sport. She then became a member of the Cronulla Waterpolo Club. Four years later, in 1998, she was offered a place in the Australian Institute of Sport women’s water polo program.
In 2000, Melissa was offered the position of reserve member of the Australian Stingers national women’s water polo team, and was there in Sydney when the team won Australia’s first Olympic gold in women’s water polo.
Melissa’s impressive performance over the next two years earned her full membership of the Stingers in 2002 and, in 2004, a position in national league team the Brisbane Barracudas. Then in 2004, with sister Rebecca and step-sister Kate Gynther, Melissa helped the Stingers to achieve fourth place at the Athens Olympic Games.
Melissa’s impressive performance during the 2004 Olympics was a major factor in her being offered the position of Stingers captain in 2006. Since she has taken on the role, Melissa has led the Australian Stingers in a steady climb to the top of world rankings. The team won the gold medal in the 2006 World Cup, the silver in the 2007 world championships — where Melissa was named a member of the world championship all-star team — and, most impressively, the bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
In 2006, shortly after becoming captain of the Stingers, Melissa also took on the role of captain of the Brisbane Barracudas and guided the team to victory in the 2009 national league.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Melissa is currently not only balancing preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games and competition with the Barracudas, but is also in the process of transitioning to high performance coaching through the Australian Sports Commission’s National Coach Scholarship Program.