Olympic medalist Katie Zaferes says strong relationship with coach key to her success

Katie Zaferes on the importance of her relationship with coach Joel Filliol.

Staff Reporter
Last updated -

As most professional triathletes will admit, having a strong support network plays a key role in their success, with Olympic medalist Katie Zaferes no different in this regard.

Coached by triathlon legend Joel Filliol, who also mentors notable names such as Vincent Luis and Vasco Vilaca, Zaferes has been one of the most successful triathletes on the WTCS circuit in recent years.

On a recent episode of the Super League Triathlon interview series, Zaferes revealed what makes Filliol such a great coach and shared how the Canadian has played an integral part in her continued success.

“I’m grateful to have had this relationship”

In addition to her two medals from the Tokyo Olympic Games, Zaferes has also won a WTCS title and two Super League Triathlon series titles under the tutelage of Filliol.

Joel Filliol with athletes Katie Zaferes and Belle Geens.
Photo by Tommy Zaferes / ITU Media

One of the key ways that Zaferes says their relationship benefits her is the way Filliol balances things out, with the former Australian Olympic Programme Head Coach bringing a very measured presence to matters.

“I love that Joel is not reactive, […], having him being so even and supportive, is why I’m grateful to have had this relationship for quite a long time now.” 

This quality, which manifests itself at times where the stakes are at their highest, is what Zaferes says allows her to fully focus on the task at hand when the pressure is starting to build.


“He really understands me as a person”

Another quality that Filliol brings to the table according to Zaferes is his knowledge of her as a person, not just as an athlete. This, she says, is one of the most reassuring aspects of their relationship.

“Just to have him knowing what I need and supporting me, he really understands me as a person and knows how to help me under all the different conditions [in the sport].” 

When times are tough, the American can rest assured that not only does she have one of the most knowledgeable people in the sport on hand, but that it is also someone who is cognizant of her thoughts and feelings.

“To have a coach who can take you from really unsavoury circumstances to put you in the right physical and mental frame of mind to do your best is really good.” 

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.


In episode 1 of our new SBRX Show we sit down with ultra runners and coaches Kim and Jayson Cavill to get their take on the Barkley Marathons and triathlon & trail running gear reviews, training tips and more
Discover more
Daniela Ryf fist pump finish line Challenge Roth 2023
Best triathlons in the world: Top 10 bucket list races
Triathlon clothing through the ages: from Speedos and tank tops to ultra-aero tri suits
PRO triathlete and Challenge St Polten champion Tom Hug on the bike course
Challenge St. Pölten – PRO tips for taking on Europe’s oldest middle distance triathlon
Jonny Brownlee swim pool neom 2022 Photo Bartlomiej Zborowski Superleague Triathlon
Jonny Brownlee on the pool swimming drills to do now to get faster in open water
TRI-FIT Geo Coral women's tri suit
TRI-FIT GEO Women’s Tri Suit Review – How does it fare in our quest for the ultimate long course kit?
latest News
Marta Lagownik (POL) takes the win at Challenge Gran Canaria.
Challenge Mogán-Gran Canaria: Harrett and Lagownik take maiden professional wins
Luke Willian (AUS) wins the Wollongong World Triathlon Cup
World Triathlon Cup Wollongong: Luke Willian delivers as rising star Tilda Mansson shines
World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki 2023 Gwen Jorgensen
WTCS Yokohama: Start lists announced for CRUCIAL Olympic Games triathlon qualifying race
lionel sanders wins oceanside 2024 [Photo credit: Donald Miralle / IRONMAN]
Lionel Sanders shares next step in season plan after IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside victory
Alex Yee run Paris Test Event 2023 [Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]
World Triathlon shares full picture on Paris Olympic Games swim situation amid water quality concerns
triathlon on your terms
Never miss out with our triathlon alerts & digest. Get a dose of adventure & inspiration with Boundless.
Invalid email address
The SBRX Group

Proudly elevating endurance sports through content, products & services

Share to...