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Lea YANITSAS
Sport Water Polo
NOC Australia   
GenderWomen
Born15 Mar 1989 in Sydney, AUS
Height1.72 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Family
Husband Andrew, son Constantine [2018]
Other names
Lea Barta
Residence
Sydney, NSW, AUS
Occupation
Athlete, Physiotherapist, Student
Languages
English
Higher education
Physiotherapy - University of Sydney: Australia
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began competing in water polo at age 14 in Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Why this sport?
Former Australian water polo captain Debbie Watson was her school teacher. Her older sister also played the sport. "It was a random sport for me, but I was inspired and saw what Debbie had achieved. I was however not a water athlete. I played touch football and netball and mostly ran in high school, and I didn't know much about the sport at all. So when I went to the trials I was a poor swimmer, but my netball reflexes and leg strength from running made for a good goalie so that is where I ended up. I always dreamed of going to the Olympics but you can't do that with touch football or netball, so I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to give it my best and have a go."
Club / Team
UNSW Wests Killer Whales: Sydney, NSW, AUS
Name of coach
Paul Oberman [national]
Preferred position / style / stance / technique
Goalkeeper
Handedness
Right
International Debut
Year
2009
Competing for
Australia
Location
Canada
General Interest
Most influential person in career
Her husband. (neoskosmos.com, 03 Jun 2021)
Hero / Idol
Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman, Australian water polo player Alicia ­McCormack. (theaustralian.com.au, 25 Jun 2016; waterpoloaustralia.com.au, 01 Jul 2013)
Injuries
She missed the 2014 international season because she broke her finger in five places. (galabid.com, 01 Jan 2015; aquaticsuperseries.com.au, 17 Dec 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” [Thomas Edison] (education.olympics.com.au, 10 Nov 2016)
Awards and honours
In 2020 she was named Sportsperson of the Year by Bayside Council in Victoria, Australia. (theleader.com.au, 31 Jul 2021; Bayside Council Facebook page, 26 Jan 2020)

She was named Best Goalkeeper in the Australian Water Polo League in 2018. (randwick.nsw.gov.au, 07 Nov 2018)

She was named in the 2015 Australian Water Polo League All-Star team. (dailytelegraph.com.au, 11 May 2015)
Famous relatives
Her husband Andrew has coached water polo at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, NSW, Australia. (waterpoloaustralia.com.au, 06 Apr 2017)
Other information
MATERNITY BREAK
She returned to training with the national team in 2019 after giving birth to her son Constantine [Dino] in 2018. "Getting back in the pool felt great, I loved the feeling of moving my body again, of stretching out and of achieving goals separate to mummy life. It was tough though. The logistics were a bit of a nightmare, so much planning, when or how was Dino going to sleep, or eat, did I pack enough clothes, enough nappies, enough everything. But we got the hang of it. Training on zero sleep was a whole new level of exhaustion." (abc.net.au, 13 Nov 2021, 21 Jul 2021; greekherald.com.au, 03 Jun 2021; wateruknow.com, 30 Oct 2019)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
In 2021 she became member of Female Performance and Health Initiative Athlete Reference Group at the Australian Institute of Sport [AIS]. "The only way to achieve the best from our athletes is to understand them as a whole human. As a mother returning to elite sport myself, I encountered multiple barriers in returning to training and I would like to see fewer barriers, better education, more resources and research available to athletes on their specific health concerns." (Instagram profile, 15 Nov 2021; abc.net.au, 13 Nov 2021, 21 Jul 2021; ais.gov.au, 14 Jul 2021)

OTHER STUDIES
She has studied for a master's degree in continence and women's health physiotherapy at Curtin University in Perth, WA, Australia. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Dec 2021)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2021 Tokyo, JPN Team  
6 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA Team  
World Championship
Rank Year Venue Event Result
3 2019 Gwangju, KOR Team  
8 2017 Budapest, HUN Team  
4 2015 Kazan, RUS Team  
2 2013 Barcelona, ESP Team  
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
2 2010 Christchurch, NZL Team