SwimScape: Diving into greatness

25 January 2024

Name: Rafaela Kopellou

Age: 15 years

Rafaela Kopellou

In the competitive realm of swimming, where every stroke counts and every lap contributes to success, there emerges a young talent. At just 15 years of age, Rafaela Kopellou is showing a lot of promise in the pool, matching only by her passion for the art of swimming. A proud member of the SNSW Flippers Swim Squad and SOPAC Swim Club, and guided by the skilled hand of her expert coach, Matthew Brown, this Metro North West athlete opens up about her aspirations and experiences.

Rafaela began her swimming journey at 7 years of age and has since honed her skill on her favoured Butterfly stroke. Her swimming idol, Emma McKeon, has been a perennial source of inspiration, although lately, the young swimmer finds herself drawn to the prowess of Kaylee McKeown.

As a member of the Flippers Squad, Rafaela shares her ambitions for the upcoming year.

"I'm aiming to strengthen my stroke and perfect my technique. Being part of the Squad is an incredible learning experience, exposing me to various coaching styles and helping me build enduring friendships with swimmers from across the state and nation."

The Squad program, a melting pot of talent, provides Rafaela with the unique opportunities beyond the pool that she cherishes.

"I love going away on the camps and coming together with different swimmers as one squad."

Reflecting on her most memorable swimming moment, Rafaela recounts the awe-inspiring experience of swimming at the last Olympic trials at the age of 13.

"To swim among my idols and all the Olympians was surreal. It has fuelled my passion to keep pushing my boundaries."

Preparing for competitions is a meticulous process for Rafaela.

"Hydration, nutrition, and mental preparedness are key. I don't miss any training sessions, and I make sure to be in the best physical and mental state before a meet."

When asked about her coach and club, Rafaela's eyes light up.

"SOPAC is a large club, and the support during competitions is unparalleled. Coach Brownie, with whom I've been for the last 12 months, brings a calm and supportive approach. The trust I have in him speaks volumes about our bond in such a short time."

Away from the pool, Rafaela's focus remains on recovery and self-care.

"I spend my time eating, sleeping, and ensuring my body gets the rest it needs."

Describing herself in one word, Rafaela chooses "Resilient."

"I bounce back from disappointment quickly and maintain a positive mindset. It's a quality that helps me overcome challenges in and out of the pool."

As Rafaela Kopellou continues to make strides in the swimming world, her journey unfolds as a testament to dedication, resilience, and an unwavering love for the water. With the Flippers Squad as her compass and Coach Brownie as her guide, the future holds promise for this young aquatic prodigy.

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