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Zoe Arancini

Age

33

Place of Birth

Subiaco, WA

Hometown

Perth

Junior Club

Melville Water Polo

Senior Club

Fremantle Marlins

Coach

Rebecca Rippion, Peter Arancini

Olympic History

Rio 2016

Tokyo 2020

Paris 2024

High School

Kent Street Senior High School

Career Events

Water Polo Women's Tournament

 

Zoe's Story

With parents who both represented Australia in Water Polo, Zoe Arancini has always been passionate about the sport and had the opportunity to showcase her experience and skills when she made her Olympic debut at Rio.

Her father, Peter, and mother, Wendy, have both played Water Polo for Australia, as well as her aunt, Megan. Her mother and aunt won gold at the 1986 World Championships and her mother was inducted into the Australian Water Polo Hall of Fame in 2009. Her father played for Australia at the 1981 World Junior Championships and was a regular state and national league player.

Zoe burst onto the international scene in 2009 winning bronze with the Stingers at the FINA World Super League final, beating Spain 12-8.

In 2013, she won her first FINA World Championship medal, a silver. Her second, bronze came in the 2019 event where she picked up the MVP award for scoring three goals in the 10-9 win over Hungary.

But disappointment came in 2012 when Zoe made the 17-athlete London 2012 Olympics training squad, but missed the cut when the team was reduced to 13. However, her Olympic moment arrived by making the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Team to continue a great family tradition in Water Polo.

At Rio 2016, the Aussies kicked-started their campaign with a strong, dominant 14-4 win over Russia. Their second pool match proved to be more of a challenge with the green and gold side narrowly going down to Italy 7-8 despite the scores being tied until the final seconds.

The Aussies then powered home to take a decisive 10-3 win over hosts Brazil in the final pool game, setting up a quarter-final clash against Hungary. In a physical, tense and ultimately heartbreaking encounter, the Australians lost in a penalty shootout after scores were level, 8-8, after four quarters, ending their 2016 Olympic campaign.

Zoe credits her dad for being one of her best coaches after she came into the sport because she found it more interesting to play than just swimming laps.

To expand her horizons further, Zoe spent time in 2018 in the Chinese city of Kunshan where she trained full-time with China's national women's team.

The Western Australian-born athlete plays for the Fremantle Marlins in the National League, which is coached by her father Peter Arancini.

Zoe made her second Olympic appearance at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021. The Stingers finished their pool with an impressive 3-1 record, advancing to the quarter-finals of the Games in second position. From there they played out a tense match against the ROC, narrowly missing out on progression in the tournament after being defeated 9-8.

 

Zoe played a key role in Australia bouncing back from this defeat, scoring five goals in their following game against Canada. Another win, this time against the Netherlands, gave the Stingers fifth place overall for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign where Zoe finished equal sixth for most steals in the tournament (eight).

Appointed captain of the Stingers, Zoe led the team to a gold medal at the FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in Peru in March 2022.

In their first international competition after Tokyo, the Stingers went undefeated through the pool matches to set up a gold medal final against the United States.
Zoe was named MVP in a game where the Australians took an early lead and held off fightbacks from the United States in the second and third quarters to triumph 11-4.

That year, Australia finished sixth at the World Championships in Budapest, going down 8-5 to Spain in the play-off for fifth.

At the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, the Stingers pulled off wins over China and France before a thrilling 9-8 quarter-final victory over Greece.

Beaten by just two goals in the semi-final against Spain, Australia then lost to Italy in the play-off for bronze, again by two goals.

Zoe notched up her 300th game for Australia at the Oceania Olympic qualifiers in New Zealand in August 2023.

“It’s a huge honour and a huge privilege to have been playing for my country for such a long time,” she said.

At the 2024 World Championships in Doha, Australia finished sixth, beating Britain 20-8 in the round of 16 before going down by a point to the USA in the quarter-finals.

Zoe, who has completed a degree in health sciences at Perth’s Curtin University, is now focused on Paris.

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