All posts in Anni Espar

BIWPAcademy 18/19 pool

Season 19/20 kicked off with 18 athletes, half of them from abroad.

A new season has started at the BIWPAcademy with a group of student-athletes ready to perform to their full potential. The core service of Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA), running from September to June, has started its fifth season with plenty of new features and a new agreement with Club Natació Sant Feliu, a Barcelona-based club team where all international athletes are playing and competing.

The Academy is formed by a group of 9 Spanish athletes playing in different local club teams mixed with a group of 9 athletes from abroad: 7 from the US, one from Mexico, and one from Romania. The coaching staff, led by our Sports Director Quim Colet, is made up of the usual coaches Ferran Pascual and Yuri Colet, and a new addition, Fran Torres.

Three of the athletes, all from the US, are doing the gap year program, aimed at players older than 18 looking for training and competition opportunities abroad. In the next months, other international athletes will join the Academy for a short program or the second semester, which will start in January.

BIWPAcademy 18/19 outside

Official photo of the athletes with the Academy hoodie (PFotoàlbums)

Services

Three new services that were added last season to the program have been extended to this season. The Academy athletes have a physical therapist coming over every Monday, as well as nutrition counseling and a mental coach.

Additionally, the coaches hold Watlicam sessions with small group of athletes once a week to focus on the individual technique and give personalized feedback to every player. 

Ambassadors

The Olympians Anni Espar and Adrià Delgado will be the two BIWPA brand ambassadors for season 19/20. The Spain’s national team player Espar will commit for third year in a row to the brand, while Delgado, one of the most decisive players of the Spanish league, has agreed to represent BIWPA’s values.

Additionally, the Academy will keep the masterclasses as a key part of the sports program. So far, Anni Espar and Felipe Perrone have joined a practice with our athletes.

CN Sant Feliu

This season the BIWPAcademy announced a partnership with CN Sant Feliu. All the international athletes train in the evening and compete in the local league with Sant Feliu, so it is easier for the BIWPA coaches to keep track of the international athletes’ progression.

 

Photo credit: Official photo with the athletes, coaches and part of the Academy staff (PFotoàlbums)

Anni-Adri BIWPA

The two stars will exclusively represent BIWPA and will collaborate in the transmission of the brand’s values through its 4 main services: Academy, camps, team training camps and events.

Adrià Delgado and Anni Espar are the two new brand ambassadors of Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA). Delgado signs with BIWPA at the start of his second season in Spain, while Espar, who has collaborated with BIWPA since it was born, is extending her contract for the third year.

The agreement was made official last Thursday, October 17, at the Blume facilities in Barcelona, ​​where BIWPA conducts training with the athletes of its Academy. It was formalized by Cristina Marín, general manager of BIWPA, and the two professional players.

Speaking about the brand association, Marín said: “It is a great honor that athletes of this level chose to be linked to the values ​​that we represent, which are none other than the dissemination and promotion of water polo and the training of young athletes”.

Adrià and Anni are currently two reference players both in the men’s and women’s water polo community. Apart from involving the players with the Academy, through several masterclasses during the season, the two players will also have presence in the other BIWPA services: campus, tournaments and team training camps.

Two successful figures

Adri-Anni BIWPA

Adrià Delgado, Cristina Marin and Anni Espar pose for the agreement (PFotoàlbums)

Anni Espar’s career achievements are simply astonishing. Espar has won all domestic titles four Champions League with CN Sabadell. Internationally, she has one gold and two world silver medals, an Olympic silver medal and European gold and bronze medals.

Outside of Europe, she became NCAA champion in the US and also won the Australian league. After almost a decade with CN Sabadell, Anni Espar has started a new challenge this season with CN Mataró.

“Adri” Delgado was one of the most valuable players last season on his return to Spain. He finished as top scorer with 73 goals in 29 games and finished league runner-up with CN Barcelona. After he was already called up for the national team, his main objective now is to play the next Olympic Games with Spain in Tokyo, something he already did in Rio 2016 with Brazil.

Delgado said of the deal: “I’m privileged that I’m getting to collaborate with BIWPA, an organization that is giving great visibility to water polo across the world. I really like the work methodology that they have both in the Academy and in the other services they offer”.

Espar was very satisfied to commit one more year to the values that BIWPA represents: “I’m very happy to keep collaborating with a company that helps to the growth of water polo and that allows me to share my passion from Barcelona with players from all over the planet”.

Cover photo: Adrià Delgado and Anni Espar, new BIWPA brand ambassadors, with the general manager Cristina Marín (PFotoàlbums)

Passion for Beach Polo takes over the beach of Palamós

 

The tournament, organized by Barcelona International Water Polo Academy in cooperation with the local government, took place in Palamós (playa Grande) during the first three days of September. 16 teams from 5 different countries (Spain, United States, Holland, France and Russia) took part in a very international first edition of the Beach Polo.

The field was made of inflatables and measured 15×20 meters. It was located very close to the seashore, making water polo more dynamic and visual. The innovative modality of water polo brought to the beach a lot of people. A great number of passers-by stopped to ask about Beach Polo, and some of them stayed to watch the games. Local media outlets such as TV Costa Brava, as well as TV3, came to Palamós to cover the event.

The city government is very happy with the organization. According to the councilor of Tourism and Economic Promotion of the city government, Emili Colls, they intend to host more editions in the next years. BIWPA is also very satisfied with the tournament and intends to bring more water polo-beach to Palamós.

People cheering up during the All-Star game / Rogier van Veen

The All-Star game, which took place on Saturday evening, gathered a great crowd at the beach. Water polo stars such as Felipe Perrone or Daniel López Pinedo, as well as the three World runners-up in Budapest, Anni Espar, Clara Espar, and Bea Ortiz, took part in the friendly game. Members of all the teams and other people that were in Palamós at that moment took a seat and witnessed the exciting game. Some important figures from the Catalan and Spanish Swimming Federations also watched the game. 

In terms of the competition, Club Natació Catalunya ended first place after beating The Seamen in the final (8-11). Los Macros finished in the 3rd place after defeating ACH Los Facilones (18-20). Sergi Clols (CNC) was named MVP, while Cameron Ravanbach (The Seamen) finished the tournament as the best goalkeeper.

Beach Polo Stars

López Pinedo y Felipe Perrone, enemigos por un día / Rogier van Veen

CLASSIFICACIÓ FINAL BEACH POLO

One month prior to the start, the Beach Polo has almost 20 teams registered and a remarkable international presence

The first edition of the beach-water polo tournament Beach Polo Costa Brava was presented last Friday (July 28th) in Palamós beach “Platja Gran”. Members of the city council and local media outlets attended the event in which Cristina Marín, General Manager of BIWPA, and Joel Esteller, coordinator of the tournament, presented the Beach Polo and talked about the details of it. The mayor of Palamós, Lluís Puig, stressed the importance of hosting an event of such characteristics for the development and the economy of the city.

One month ahead of the kick off, almost twenty teams have already signed up. Roughly half of them are coming from different countries, such as the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Russia. There are also teams from other regions in Spain like the Basque Country and Galicia. Finally, some of the squads are formed by a mix of different players currently playing in Catalonia or Spain and even a team mixed with Spanish and American players.There will be a squad formed by players of Club Natació Barcelona, Spanish top division team.

Beach Polo Team

BIWPA and Palamós, joining hands for the Beach Polo

The venue will have two different areas. The first area will be located right in front of the sea and the water polo arena. From this area, the referees and BIWPA coordinators will take care of everything related to the competition and the games. Next to it, there will be another marquee with different kinds of drinks for the participants.

The second area will be situated in the back, where BIWPA will place different marquees for the cafeteria and another zone with merchandising, with the presence of brands that support the event such as Turbo, Powerade, Coca Cola, Estrella Damm, Boirón, Freixenet or Frit Ravich. In the middle of the two main areas, there will be a chill-out zone with tables, chairs, sun umbrellas and music for the athletes to rest or hang out.

The tournament will last 3 days, from September 1 (Friday) to September 3 (Sunday). On Saturday, different top water polo players will come as guests. Felipe Perrone, one of the best water polo players of the moment, will come over in Palamós. Besides, the three world runners-up in Budapest, Anni Espar, Clara Espar, and Bea Ortiz, will also visit us.

The schedule will be released in the next weeks, when the inscriptions close.

Teams registered so far:
  • UC Davis: two women’s teams (U.S.)
  • Lyon Rhone Water Polo (France)
  • Paris Aquatic (France)
  • Verona (Italy)
  • Moscu State University (Russia)
  • ZPC Wiekslag: men’s and women’s team (The Netherlands)
  • Z&PC Watervlo (The Netherlands)
  • Catalan team
  • Catalan team
  • Club Natació Barcelona (Catalonia)
  • AESE (Catalonia)
  • Eibarko Urbat I.K.E.: men’s and women’s team (Spain)
  • Real Club Náutico de Vigo (Spain)
  • C.D. Fortuna K.E. (Spain)
  • Mixed Spanish and American team

Spain couldn’t beat the United States and got a silver medal that looked like a victory

 

Miki Oca’s squad got silver medal in the World Championships after losing the final against the United States. The American team confirmed its condition of unbeaten, clinching the second World gold in a row. After winning gold medal in Barcelona 2013, this is the second best place ever for Spain Women’s National Team in World Championships.

Everybody knew from the beginning that beating the United States was a very tough challenge. But the Spanish warriors got more confidence as the tournament advanced, while the team coached by Adam Krikorian didn’t seem to be performing at its best.

As for the game, Spain kept the odds to win intact until the half time, but the last two quarters put an end to any hope by the Spaniards. The second period finished 5-3, but Spain never took the lead on the scoreboard, and the only moment it got close was when it tied 3-3 in the second quarter.

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The Spaniards, silver medal / FINA

Silver usually feels bitter, but this time it was deemed a success from the very first moment, rather than a failure. New talents are popping up on the Spanish side, and with an average age of 23, the future of this amazing group looks bright. Paula Leitón got awarded the best center-forward of the tournament with only 17 years old and players such as Bea Ortiz, Paula Crespí or Ana Gual are gaining prominence.

This is a second place that reaffirms the high level of Spanish water polo and shows to the World that Spain is a leading country on this discipline. The next big challenge for Miki Oca’s warriors will be next summer in Barcelona. The 33rd LEN European Water Polo Championships Barcelona will be a great opportunity for both the Men’s and Women’s National teams to aim at medals with the supporters cheering up from the stands.

 

Photo credit: FINA

They had already made history getting into the top 4 after defeating Greece on penalties. But yesterday, with a great performance against Canada (12-10), the Spanish warriors showed their eagerness for more medals and clinched a spot on the final of the World Championships.

Spain dominated the game from start to finish, except for the last minutes of the fourth quarter, when Canada made a comeback up to 10-9, 4 minutes before the final whistle. Ana Gual and Bea Ortiz, as well as the goalkeeper Laura Ester, were the most valuable players of Miki Oca’s squad.

The defense that worked so well for Canada to defeat the Hungary, turned out a failure against Spain. The Spaniards realized from the first moment that one of the Canadian defenders was acting as second gatekeeper, leaving one Spanish player alone. Canada never took into account how good is Spain at long-distance shoots and Ortiz and Gual capitalized on that with 3 and 5 goals respectively.

Players that don’t usually have an important role scoring goals, stepped forward in this aspect. That was the case of Marta Bach or Clara Espar, who scored one goal each and paved the way of our warriors towards the final.

The United States is the very last obstacle until the gold medal. Next Friday at 20:30, the Spanish warriors will face the though American squad for second time on this World Championships. This time, though, they expect a different outcome, with the clear intention of repeating the gold medal that that they got 4 years ago in Barcelona. Yesterday’s victory positions Spain as the best team in Europe once again.

The Men’s team finished 9th place after defeating Japan (13-11). David Martin’s squad still has a lot more room for improvement. Next big challenge will be next year in the LEN European Championships in Barcelona.

 

Photo credit: FINA

The Spain Women’s Water Polo National Team reached the semifinals yesterday after beating Greece at the penalty shoot out. After a very tough game in which Greece took the lead since the very beginning, Spain tied the game 5 seconds before the final whistle (10-10). Judit Forca, top goal scorer of Miki Oca’s squad, scored on a men down situation with a very nice shot.

Apart from the leftie Forca, Bea Ortiz led the team in terms of the scoring. The former CN Rubí player and one of the images of Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA), hit 5 times the Greek net and became a key figure to clinch the victory for the Spanish national team. With Anni Espar pulling the strings, Spain made it through the quarter finals with an exhibition of strength and courage.

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The Spanish players, celebrating a goal / FINA

At the penalty shootout, two figures popped up with great performances. Laura Ester, who saved the last penalty, and Helena Lloret, who scored the last penalty with an unstoppable shot that got into the goal with a little suspense.

On the other hand, Canada defeated the host team Hungary unexpectedly (4-6) and will be the next rival for Spain on its way to the final. The girls will have the chance to fight for a medal no matter what happens at the semifinal, which can be considered already as a success and a very important milestone for this group of athletes. Whatever happens in the next game, this is the second best result ever achieved on a World Championships for Spain women’s water polo, except for the gold medal in Barcelona 2013.

Congratulations for keeping up the good work and a special shoutout to our BIWPA ambassador Anni Espar, and to Clara Espar and Bea Ortiz, BIWPA collaborators.