Sam Cocokios: Inspirational captain leading next generation of Cronulla Sharks Water Polo


‘Fins Up!’

Water polo has a history in Australia as one of the most exciting and anticipated water sports at European tournaments and the Olympics. Its thrilling energy attracted people like Sam Cocokios at such a young age and has been the pathway for Sam’s involvement in the junior Australian national team and current role as captain of ACU Cronulla Sharks.

Sam grew up near the beachside Sydney suburb of Cronulla and, similar to many others in the area, swimming is more than a hobby. It’s a passion. For Sam, this passion began when he was just nine years old.

“I started in the shallow water polo pool, so I was able to stand up, throw the ball around and just play some summer sport,” Sam Cocokios said to The Greek Herald.

Sam’s ‘summer sport’ turned professional at the age of 18 when he was invited to join the Junior Men’s Australian National Team as a goalkeeper, taking part in three Junior World Championships.

Sam Cocokios facing off against UTS Balmain Tigers on Saturday, December 5, 2020. Photo: Peter Oglos

“The first one was in Perth, which was really cool because it was a home ground advantage and my friends and family could all come and watch. Then I did one more in Hungary and then another one in Kazakhstan.”

Travelling the world and representing his country at a junior level, aged between 18 and 21, Sam said his exposure to the world was “incredible”.

“It’s a completely different culture,” Sam said.  

READ MORE: TGH Exclusive: Anthony Hrysanthos – I hope to lead Australia to an Olympic medal

“You don’t realise how lucky we are in Australia until you travel and get those world experiences.”

Yet, with great life experiences comes many hard sacrifices. While having a great junior career and a strong opportunity to progress further, Sam felt the need to take time off and focus on his personal life.

“I booked a big Europe trip for five or six for five months… then I actually got invited to the Australian Men’s National team,” Sam said.

Sam Cocokios facing off against UTS Balmain Tigers on Saturday, December 5, 2020. Photo: Peter Oglos

Sam heartbreakingly declined the offer to join the Men’s National Team, justifying his need to take a break and to enjoy the “social side of Europe”.

“I’ve committed so much to water polo. So I think I made the right decision then to say no to that opportunity in 2017, and I’ve really given myself this four year Olympic cycle just to relax, recharge, study, work and do all those things to balance your sporting commitments.”

Graduating from a Bachelor of Accounting at university in 2017, Sam is looking to begin his career as a chartered accountant next year.

While he may not be training for Olympic glory, Sam’s love for water polo remains intact with National Water Polo League side ACU Cronulla Sharks, being named captain of the Men’s First Division Squad.

“I’ve been in this club for more than ten years and the club has given me so much, just going through and supporting my water polo,” Sam said.

“And I think being given that captaincy role is really rewarding because now you realise you have to step up into that leadership position and there’s people underneath you now that are looking up to you.”

Sam is supported by his family during every water polo match, holding a strong Greek familial bond through his father’s side. He revealed that his yiayia continues to be one of his biggest supporters, as he carries out his captain responsibilities at the club.

“She’s so supportive and loves it…. I think even having this interview and having her read through, and even my dad, would just make him so proud.”




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

Mykonos shop owner reflects on Australia, Greece and crystals

Greek Australian, Apostolos Triantafyllou, 56, has been living in Mykonos for over 30 years now, and running his jewellery store 'Amethyst'.

Niki Louca shares her recipe for chicken pie with mushrooms

Niki Louca from My Greek Kitchen shares her favourite recipe for kotopita with manitaria (chicken pie with mushrooms) with The Greek Herald.

Dr Trakakis to give lecture in Melbourne on the late poet Tasos Leivaditis

Dr Nick Trakakis will give a seminar on Thursday, May 30 at the Greek Centre in Melbourne on the late poet Tasos Leivaditis.

Greek Australian artist VASSY receives Billions List award

Greek Australian-bred, singer, songwriter and dance music producer VASSY, has been honoured with the Billions List Award by APRA AMCOS.

Themis Chryssidis to reinvent his acclaimed Adelaide restaurant

Themis Chryssidis is transforming his acclaimed city restaurant, eleven, with a new menu and more affordable prices.

You May Also Like

Greek athletes win gold medals at the World Transplant Games in Perth

Greece's table tennis team will return with top honours from Western Australia after claiming gold medals in the 2023 World Transplant Games.

Greek Community of Melbourne honours volunteers at Appreciation Ceremony

Greek Community of Melbourne hosted inaugural Appreciation Ceremony to recognise the contributions of exemplary volunteers.

Nick Kyrgios: Australian public’s lack of ‘respect’ behind Davis Cup snub

Nick Kyrgios has revealed the reason behind his decision to not represent Australia in the Davis Cup this year.