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BIWPA reaffirms its presence in the United States with a camp in Florida, clinics in California, the Junior Olympics and the arrival of USA Water Polo cadet teams in Barcelona

It is nothing new that the connection between BIWPA and the United States has been very strong since the very beginning of the project. Without going any further, the first athlete who joined the Academy led by Quim Colet was from the US.

Five years later, in the 18/19 season, the Academy has had a total of 15 American athletes. Seven of them have been in Barcelona for a minimum period of one semester and have been able to compete with a club team in the local club league.

In addition, in 2018, a combined team with local and international Academy athletes participated for the first time in one of the reference tournaments in California, the KAP7 International Tournament.

However, summer 2019 clearly represents a turning point in the presence of BIWPA in the US. Here are the four major activities that BIWPA has performed on American soil this summer:

WATER POLO CAMP IN FLORIDA

California takes up a great deal of the water polo in the US. That is why BIWPA wanted to bring its methodology and training in an area that is hungry for water polo. And the result has been outstanding. A two-week camp in Gainesville (Florida) with almost 140 athletes from 12 countries and eight US states.

The objective? To provide players between 12 and 18 years old with tools to improve their individual technique, focusing on the fundamentals and decision-making. The signature of the BIWPA coaching staff, combined with the good predisposition of the Gator Water Polo club, were the key to success.

Florida International Water Polo Camp 2019

Florida International Water Polo Camp 2019

CLINICS IN CALIFORNIA

With a similar philosophy as during the Florida camp, BIWPA coaches also gave several clinics throughout the California area. The California Clinics Tour spread the BIWPA methodology across La Jolla, San Diego, Los Altos, Walnut Creek and Commerce, with more than 100 athletes among all locations.

BIWPA Clinic (NORCAL)

BIWPA Clinic (NORCAL)

FIFTH YEAR AT JO’s

For five times in a row, Barcelona Water Polo Academy attended the world’s largest water polo tournament. With a booth located in the central pool, the Woollett Aquatics Center, BIWPA promoted its team training camps, camps, tournaments and, more importantly, its core program, the Academy. A unique opportunity for high schoolers to study and play water polo in Barcelona.

A total of 860 teams of all age groups participated for eight days in the Junior Olympics organized by USAWP.

BIWPA booth at JO's 2019

BIWPA booth at JO’s 2019

THE USAWP ODP, IN BARCELONA

For the first time ever, the USAWP Olympic Development Program is coming to Barcelona. The ODP is program to identifying and developing athletes to represent USAWP in domestic and international competition.

The so-called “Futures”, the Men’s and Women’s Cadet National Teams will train and compete with two combined BIWPA teams. They will do it in an Olympic facility such as the Montjuïc Municipal Pool from August 4 to 11.

USA Water Polo ODP (Global Wave Inc)

USA Water Polo ODP (Photo credit: Global Wave Inc)

Barcelona (Spain) and water polo form a successful pairing. The Spanish city is undoubtedly one of the great spots for water polo worldwide, where the commitment to a minority sport such as water polo is greater, there are more clubs and more facilities to train and compete at the highest level.

Since the Olympic Games of Barcelona ’92, the city has hosted the World Championships in 2003 and 2013, the European Championships in 2018 and the Champions League finals in 2014 and 2015. Six major events in less than three decades.

In the last two years, 31 teams from 14 different countries participated in BIWPA’s training camps, with the United States as the country with more representation. BIWPA offers the best of Barcelona to all teams: clubs of a wide variety of levels for scrimmages, some of the best swimming pools and facilities to train at (Club Natació Barcelona, Olympic Montjuic pool, etc.), masterclasses with the best coaches, Watlicam sessions, restaurant recommendations, city’s must-sees, etc. Our team training camps are tailored to every team’s needs.

Players and coaches that have lived the water polo Barcelona experience shared their thoughts with us. Here’s what they think:

UC Davis in Barcelona

 

Gavin Arroyo, Head Coach LBSU and former player Atlètic-Barceloneta and CN Barcelona

My experience in Barcelona was unequivocal both in terms of water polo and life experiences. Playing with and some of the legends of the sport on a daily basis was challenging and educational. I was able to wander the streets of the Barri Gotic and plaza born on my way to Spanish class at the escola official de idiomas. There I met people from all over the world who introduced me to their culture and customs. Art, food, music, architecture, history, diverse people, Catalan hospitality with the best water polo coaches and players; That is what Barcelona means to me”.

 

Maggie Steffens, USA Women’s National Team captain and CN Sabadell player

“I feel very fortunate to be playing and competing in Barcelona, Spain. There is an energy here around sport that is inspiring to be surrounded by on a daily basis. In terms of water polo, you are playing against and with some of the most intelligent players in the game. I have learned so much from just watching players in practice and trying to imitate the way they might do something or try to prevent it from happening. I have learned a new style of play, a new vision of the game, a new methodology to training; all of which are tools to add to my tool box”.

“I have absolutely loved playing and learning here and I have been able to do it while living in easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Barcelona is absolutely incredible and has a new gift to offer every day. I have immersed myself in the culture; speaking the language, eating the (unbelievable) food, going to family homes for a Sunday Paella, exploring the streets of the city, & adventuring to the many wonders Spain has to offer. This truly is not just a place to visit, but a place to live. And for me personally, a place to learn and develop as I desire to grow as a player”.

 

Daniel Leyson, Head Coach UC Davis

Barcelona offers the best of both worlds when it comes to travel and water polo. All of the best teams in Spain are in the Barcelona area which enables any visiting team to train with a wide variety of high level clubs. And Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world with great tourist attractions, food, and night life!”

 

Quim Colet, Head Coach CN Sabadell

“Barcelona is the city with the most water polo teams in the world (8) and, in addition, there are more than a dozen water polo clubs in its area, all of which of a very high level. Besides, 80% of the players currently at Spain’s national teams train at the High Performance Center (CAR Sant Cugat), located very close to Barcelona. The Catalan competition is clearly the most important in the world in training categories. On the other hand, Barcelona is also one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, for me one of the most wonderful cities in the world. What more can you ask for?”

 

From left to right: Daniel Leyson (UCLA), Quim Colet and Gavin Arroyo (LBSU)

What type of employee are companies currently seeking? Education and studies are obviously essential to opt for the vast majority of jobs, but they are not usually enough. Beyond a degree or a title, companies look for team players, flexible, autonomous, ambitious, and confident employees, just to name a few. Here are the 7 reasons why water polo players are the best employees.

 

1. Water polo players are detail-oriented

Endless workouts and hours and hours of pool to perfect the shooting technique, passing or other skills. The great water polo players know that success often depends on correcting the details, like egg-beater, leg positioning or faking technique. The details are key in water polo and are what will make one player superior to another. That kind of dedication to the particulars can give the competitive edge in the office as well as in the pool.

 

2. Water polo players can manage their time effectively

In order to be a student athlete in any sport you have to be able to effectively balance your work and school. Water polo players train five days a week and they have at least one game every the weekend. That’s why water polo takes time management to another level. Players have to be capable of keeping up with school, give everything in training, find time to rest and eat and, also very important, find moments for social life. These skills translated into the labor world increase employee efficiency and productivity.

 

3. Water polo players can set challenging, yet realistic, goals

National championships, being called-up for the national team, play with the older category, dream of reaching the senior team, winning MVP awards… Every water polo player trains to achieve goals like these. Working with medium and long-term objectives is always more stimulating. Water polo players understand that the most effective goals are ambitious, but reachable, and once they have a goal, they work tirelessly to achieve it.

 

4. Water polo players know how to be good teammates

Practically all the jobs require being in contact with other people, holding meetings, taking care of tasks that depend on several people, etc. In the same way, water polo is a team sport in which individual success is not contemplated without the help of teammates. In addition, in a minority sport such as water polo, everyone knows each other better and the teams end up forming a large family that goes beyond the limits of the pools. Players know how to deal with people, cheer their teammates up when it’s required and experience the feeling of collective success.

 

5. Water polo players know how to tackle a tedious task and make it interesting

After endless pre-seasons in which swimming with T-shirt and the dryland workouts are part of the daily routine, most tasks in the adult world may seem a lot more interesting. Water polo players, after getting used to hours of exhausting swimming specially in the start of the week, will know how to make from a monotonous task something entertaining and, more importantly, they will have already developed a lot of tricks to keep themselves focused.

 

6. Water polo players know how to perform under pressure

From a penalty shootout to playing the final of a national competition. The pressure is constant in the day to day of a water polo player: games against direct rivals, man-up situations in which scoring a goal is the only option etc. Applied to the workplace, all this effort under pressure is very good practice for any presentations or public speaking that may come their way, or to deal with deadlines.

 

7. Water polo players are intrinsically motivated

The most important thing that water polo players learn from their years of training is how to stay motivated at both the fun times and the hard times. The moments before a major clash or the coach speech before jumping into the water are clear examples that will make the players feel motivated and fired-up before a challenge. Water polo athletes know how to work at what may seem to be a thankless task in order to improve themselves and benefit the team as a whole.

 

Article inspired by “7 reasons why hiring a swimmer will enhance your company”, Swim Swam

We interviewed the star of CN Atlètic-Barceloneta, one of the most talented players in the world, Felipe Perrone. The Spanish-Brazilian participated in the first campus of BIWPA back in 2014, at the high performance center CAR Sant Cugat. Now, some weeks before the 5th anniversary, he talks about the evolution of BIWPA and goes over some of the current issues.

 

In 2014 we had the pleasure of having you on our first-ever camp, the Easter camp at the high performance center CAR Sant Cugat. What are your memories?

My memories are from a group of people who were very excited to launch a new project called Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA). It was the first year and I think I have to make special reference to Cristina here, who was clearly very motivated with the whole project. And all the kids were crazy about the experience they were about to live. To define it well, I think it was water polo in its essence. The children were very excited about the camp, and they had by their side a group of professionals who were really enjoying what they did.

 

At that time you saw the start of BIWPA and, of course, nobody knew how far it could go. Did you ever thing that BIWPA could grow so much?

From the beginning I saw that BIWPA would go beyond that first Easter Camp, especially after talking to the people who were behind the initiative: Quim, Cristina, Yuri… Additionally, having played in many places in the world, I always saw a demand of people who wanted to improve their level of play, improve as water polo players, and were in love with Barcelona. And that is a perfect combination.

I think the first camp was more than just desire and enthusiasm. I could also see that the organization and the staff were great. And this is something that we often lack in our sport. We always ask for better organization, more developed projects in terms of marketing, etc. From the beginning it was clear that the BIWPA proposal was different than what we were seeing in our sport.

 

Felipe Perrone – BIWPA Easter Camp 2014

 

What are your thoughts on BIWPA’s development and what do you think is the best service?

Back in the first Beach Water Polo tournament in Palamós in August 2017 I spoke with the organizers and I told them that this type of events and initiatives are the step forward that our sport was asking for. I think this is the first thing that stands out at BIWPA. The athletes taking part in the BIWPA events know for a fact that there will be a high-quality staff, quality teaching and, above all, an organization that works perfectly.

This is something that all parents in the world seek out. Having their children somewhere they are able to live the dream of learning water polo with other children from different parts of the world, living a unique experience. Besides, they also have the guarantee that BIWPA is a top-tier company and will take care of their children.

 

At the global level, what do you think about the role of private companies in the water polo world, besides federations and clubs?

I see it as fundamental and I think this has been a very important step in our sport, in which BIWPA has played a very important role. The federations and clubs have seen that structurally they are not able to manage the organization of certain events. And here is where private companies have an important role, they have the necessary structure, the know-how and the expertise to carry out this type of events.

We have always said that the problem with water polo is not the rules, but the presence of an organization, a way of doing events, a marketing project… I think private companies are proving that they can take care of events as huge as the Barcelona European Championships or the events that BIWPA leads.

 

What can these private companies offer that clubs and federations cannot?

First, the creation and development of events. Planning events of the highest quality, with a more complete structure and organization. Second, the camps. Private companies have a structure and more resources, such as BIWPA and other companies, while federations are involved in many other things.

Finally, I think the Academy is great and very unique. In many clubs, they have children that would love to have more practices, but they cannot because they don’t have the space or enough coaches. And that’s why I think the Academy is offering something incredible. Not only at a Spanish level, worldwide, in all the places I’ve lived, Brazil, the United States, etc. there are always these athletes who dream of being able to devote more to water polo and cannot because there is no structure for this. But the BIWPA Academy offers them a solution.

 

Felipe Perrone – Beach Water Polo Costa Brava Palamós 2017

 

How important do you think is Barcelona for water polo worldwide?

Barcelona is one of the world’s water polo capitals. And this type of initiatives and events emphasizes Barcelona as a city of water polo. Also, I think events are very important for the popularization of our sport, especially among kids. The first edition of the HaBaWaBa Spain, together with the Europeans, was something that left its mark. And the players saw how people were following the Europeans. We noticed this passion even on the streets. I think this is great news for the growth of water polo. And the fact that it happened in Barcelona make me feel proud.

 

You have played in many other places in the world: Croatia, Italy … What can Barcelona offer that you have not seen in other places?

Barcelona, ​​perhaps Budapest, Belgrade … Few cities have so many pools and a structure that offers so many possibilities to a team or a player. It happens to me very often when there are teams from Brazil who ask, “where are we going to train?”, “Where can I develop as a player?”. In Barcelona there are plenty of clubs, a great education system, and it is a very appealing city culturally and with a good standard of living. All these together make Barcelona one of the best options for water polo.

 

We are recently seeing important changes in the way of understanding water polo, as is the case of Pro Recco, with its tour in the Champions League, or the Spanish Swimming Federation: Do you think that there is a revolution in the world of water polo?

I think so. The truth is that we are always very critical with water polo, but it is true that steps are being taken and we are starting to see the outcomes. However, I think we are a little late and we have to run against time, but very important steps have been taken. We can talk about the agreement with Premaat of the Spanish Federation, the live broadcasts and the league being shown as a product. Also LEN and FINA are working in this direction. I think there is a tendency in all structures to develop the marketing part and offer water polo as a product and not simply as a sport.

 

The new rules are already a reality. Do you think they will work out?

Honestly I haven’t played with the new rules yet and it’s hard for me to give an opinion… But from what I’ve talked to some people, they say that it does not change water polo so much, but it makes it more dynamic and faster. Players who have played under the new regulations have good impressions so far.

The only negative part that I see is that we are asking for a more dynamic and more intense sport and the breaks have been reduced a lot. And I think that will punish a lot of players, especially in long competitions, such as Europeans or World Cups, and especially the Olympic Games, where teams have only 11 players. Fewer players, more dynamic, less rest. Maybe that’s the only comment I have.

 

Is there a change that you think can benefit you for your game?

I believe that the foul in six meters will be the biggest change. Many players will find it more difficult to score goals, but on the other hand the fact that they can get the ball and continue attacking will imply a completely different gameplay. We’ll have to make a change of mindset, both the players and the goalkeeper.

 

As for the national team, how is the team after the success of Barcelona?

Spanish men’s water polo needed such success. It was a dream come true in Barcelona, an unforgettable memory, the Bernat Picornell swimming pools full of people, our fans cheering up and shouting… Almost all of us talk about one of the most beautiful moments of our sports career. But now, after this success comes the most difficult thing, which is to stay up there. We have the advantage of having many players who play many high level matches during the season, we are a young team and we live it all with great enthusiasm, without putting too much pressure on us. When you live things like Barcelona every day that you train you remember this and you work hard to achieve this feeling again.

A successful 2018 has come to an end for BIWPA, which has entered 2019 as the year of its fifth anniversary. In 2018, BIWPA organized a total of 3 campuses in 4 weeks (one in Easter and another three in summer), three events and 15 team training camps. Additioanally, 45 athletes were enrolled in the Academy during the last season. In the paragraphs below we go over the figures, teams and nationalities.

Academy (17-18)

A total of 45 athletes took part in the BIWPA Academy in the 2017-18 season, from September 2017 to June 2018. Out of these 45, 23 participated in the annual program, while the rest, 22, took part in the short program, which allows athletes to experience the Academy for a limited time (during a week, a month or even a semester). Although most athletes were local, up to 14 water polo players came from the United States. In total, we had athletes from 11 different nationalities.

Campus

As usual in recent years, this 2018 we held three water polo camps. During Easter time we were in the CAR Sant Cugat, the high performance center where the best athletes in the country train. On this campus we had a very special guest, the international Spanish water polo player Albert Español. 24 players from eight different countries participated in this first week of camp.

A few months later we moved to Club Natació Barcelona (CNB), ​​one of the best sports clubs in the country, for our summer camps. We spent two weeks in the CNB and one in CAR, between June and July. Throughout these three weeks we had 114 participants from 25 different countries. Up to 69 campers took part in the two weeks of the CNB summer camp, representing 14 different nationalities from three continents: Europe, America and Oceania.

The summer camp at CAR welcomed 45 campers in a single week, coming from 14 countries in Europe and America. All the participants had the chance to see the European water polo championships live from Barcelona.

In total, our camps in 2018 received 138 participants from 26 different countries. At the 2019 Easter Camp (April 14-20) we will celebrate our fifth anniversary, with several surprises to be revealed and the registration still open.

Team Training Camps

2018 has also been a great year in terms of the organization of team training camps. Here are the 13 teams that participated in the 14 team camps organized in 2018: Widex GZC Donk (Netherlands) twice, Water Polo Canada, SK Neptun (Sweden), La Morinda (USA), Cuba men’s national team, Portugal men’s national team, Torino (Italy), 680 Drivers (USA), Rose Bowl (USA), Ontario (Canada), Commerce (USA), Falu Vattenpolo (Sweden), Christ Church Grammar School (Australia). This means an approximate number of 250 athletes from 8 different countries.

Events

This past year has been very positive also in the tournament section. BIWPA organized its two reference events, improving the numbers of the past editions in both cases. The second edition of the Beach Water Polo Costa Brava in Palamós (August 31 – September 2) grew from 16 teams to 26 teams from seven countries. The Macros team, a combination of active players and former players of Club Natació Barcelona, ​​was proclaimed champion of the Beach Polo, which brought together a total of 300 athletes. Top division players such as Edu Lorrio, Víctor Flores, Adrià Delgado or Roc Ferrer participated in the event, as well as the stars of the Spain Men’s national team Fran Fernández and Alberto Munarriz.

Only four days after Palamós, we kicked off the third edition of the Barcelona International Turbo Cup, an international tournament held at the Montjuic Olympic Pool. 16 teams in the male 18U category and four in the senior women’s category took part, approximately 250 athletes from five different countries. CN Barcelona Vista in the men’s competition and CN Sant Feliu in the women’s competition were the champions of the Turbo Cup.

HaBaWaBa Spain

As a new event this year, BIWPA organized the first edition of the HaBaWaBa Spain – RFEN, held in Barcelona alongside the 33rd European Championships. The top tournament for youth ages worldwide was a success in its first edition in Spain, with the participation of 44 teams from nine countries and more than 600 water polo players.

 

Photo: Aerial image of Palamós beach (Girona), during the 2nd edition of the Beach Water Polo. 

Players of Spain men’s and women’s national teams have posed in a fundraising calendar for the NGO Proactiva Open Arms

The BIWPA water polo academy, in collaboration with PFotoàlbums, have launched a charity project to help the NGO Proactiva Open Arms, one of the most active organizations in the rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a 2019 solidary calendar starring stars of Spain men’s and women’s teams.

Cristina Marín, BIWPA’s general manager, is very satisfied with the project: “It is something that we had in mind for a long time and we would definitely like to continue with more solidarity initiatives in the next years”. According to Proactiva Open Arms, “it is thanks to initiatives like this that we have been able to rescue almost 60,000 people in the three years we have been operating in the Aegean Sea and the Central Mediterranean”.

Daniel López Pinedo (CNAB), named best goalkeeper in the last European Championships, didn’t have to think it twice when he had the opportunity to get involved with the calendar: “We did not even think for a second to participate with the calendar”. On the other hand, La Sirena CN Mataró player Marta Bach says she is very proud to do her bit to help all those people who risk their life in search of a better future. “With this calendar, we want to claim that water should be a place to smile, have fun and not lose your life”.

The photo sessions took place in two different places in Barcelona, ​​ water as the link between the NGO Open Arms and water polo. On the one hand, the iconic Municipal Pool of Montjuïc, former venue of the Barcelona 92 ​​Olympic Games. On the other hand, the Barceloneta Beach, which allows us to be as close as possible to the drama of the refugees.

The price of the calendar is 10€ and all the proceeds will go to Proactiva Open Arms. You can purchase the calendar on this link.

16 players from six different Spanish teams (CN Sabadell, CN Atlètic-Barceloneta, CN Mataró, CE Mediterrani, CN Sant Andreu, CN Barcelona) have collaborated with the project. Here is the list: Adrià Delgado, Alberto Munárriz, Álvaro Granados, Anna Gual, Anni Espar, Clara Espar, Dani López Pinedo, Edu Lorrio, Fran Fernández, Helena Lloret, Mª Elena Sánchez, Marta Bach, Mati Ortiz, Miguel de Toro, Paula Leitón and Víctor Flores.

Colet replaces ‘Chava’ Gómez as the men’s coach

Club Natació Sabadell has officially announced Quim Colet as the new coach of Club Natació Sabadell’s senior team. Colet has cancelled his three-month stay in the USA and will be flying back to Barcelona next week. He will remain as the BIWPA Academy’s Sports Director.

CN Sabadell is one of the most important teams in Spain’s Honor Division and it is also one of the Catalan sports organizations with more members -roughly 25.000. The club played the LEN Champions League preliminary round last term. The signs of fatigue in the current cicle and a bad start to the new season have triggered the arrival of a new coach.

Quim Colet has played an important role in establishing the foundations of the current water polo system in Spain, which has become a model of success. Until 2016, he was the technical director of the Catalan Swimming Federation. Quim has already been in charge of Spanish water polo teams in the Honor Division, coaching CN Barcelona, CN Atlètic-Barceloneta and CE Mediterrani, among others.

He has also been part of the technical staff of the senior men’s national team of Spain for many years, having participated in two Olympic Games. Additionally, he was the coach of the Spanish men’s junior national team, clinching three medals in World Championships, one of which, a gold medal in Los Angeles 91′.

The Spain men and women’s senior, junior and youth water polo national teams have been awarded with six medals this summer.

 

Spanish water polo has experienced the most successful summer in its history. Although we were already used to the women’s national team achieving great successes, such as the silver medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games, the gold in the 2013 Barcelona World Championships or, more recently, the silver medal in the Budapest World Championships 2017, this year the men’s team have stepped up with a historic silver at the Europeans in Barcelona. Six teams, three different cateogories and six medals. That’s what we could call a strike.

Since David Martín became the new coach for the men’s national team after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he said the goal was to be in full form for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He wanted to shape a team with a long term objective, but before the Olympics they had to face the Europeans in Barcelona. After a disappointing ninth place in the last 2017 Budapest World Championships, Martín opted to renew the team and incorporated a group of young players who have  led a necessary generational change. Figures such as Álvaro Granados, Roger Tahull and Álex Bustos have taken a step forward and have become key players for the team.

Javier Sánchez Toril’s youth team got the silver in the World Championships that took place in Szombathely (Hungary), while the juniors, with Tato Garcia in charge, took the bronze in the European Championships.

The women’s teams didn’t fell short either. After falling in the semifinals against Greece, the senior team clinched the bronze at the Europeans at home. The girls of Miki Oca never get tired of winning metals. In lower categories, both the youth team in the World Championships, and the junior in the Europeans, took the gold medals in their respective competitions.

The result of many years efforts

As stated by the Royal Spanish Federation in La Vanguardia, this great harvest of medals is not the result of the emergence of large generations of athletes or coaches of the highest level. “It is the work of more than eight years and with many people behind”: Figures such as Gaspar Ventura, who was responsible for the water polo area until two years ago, or Quim Colet, former technical director of the Catalan Swimming Federation and current sports director of BIWPA.

It is also a success of the technification centers where all young talents are trained and prepared so that they can one day compete with the senior team. Obviously, when we talk about high-performance centers, the CAR of Sant Cugat is the crown Jewel. Located on the outskirts of Barcelona, ​​the high performance center has become the best Spanish water polo talent factory.

 

Photo: WP2018BCN

HaBaWaBa Spain 2018

More than 600 kids and 44 teams from 9 countries met at the Montjuïc Olympic Pool (Barcelona)

After 11 editions in Italy, three in Greece and other four in North America, it was Spain and Barcelona’s turn, with a very special first edition. The first HaBaWaBa Spain arrived in Barcelona running alongside the 33rd European Water Polo Championships.

During four days, the Montjuïc Municipal Pool became the festival’s splendid venue. The Royal Swimming Spanish Federation (RFEN) trusted Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) for the organization of the event, which gathered 44 teams -36 U12 and 8 U10- from 9 different nationalities. Among the 44 teams, 27 where Spanish. Italy, Hungary, Malta, The Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, France and Egypt were the other countries represented.

BIWPA was up to a festival that goes far beyond the competition and the results. As indicated by its acronym (Happy Baby Water Ball), the HaBaWaBa is a unique experience for all participants with water polo, fun and learning.

More than 600 young players had four amazing days of water polo and fun, with animation activities, fair play workshops and exciting matches at the Europeans. The Hungary-Italy (5-12), the Montenegro-Spain (7-7) in the men’s competition, or the Greece-Holland (7-8) and the Spain-Russia (12-11) in women’s were some of the best.

From July 18th to 21st , the stands at the Bernat Picornell pools were full of HaBaWaBa kids. Between 300 and 400 participants dropped by the Europeans venue and proved that passion for water polo is more alive than ever.

In the Village area at the Europeans, before the matches, HaBaWaBa’s mascot Rock & Pop and Barcelona 2018’s mascot Wopit were waiting for the kids to make the wait more pleasant with some music and dancing. Of course, Katy Perry’s Swish Swish was the top hit.

The former centre-forward Iván Pérez and former Spain Women’s national team player Laura López were the two HaBaWaBa Spain ambassadors. The legend Ratko Rudic didn’t miss the event either. But the best surprise for all participants was the visit of Spain Men and Women’s national teams. The current silver and bronze medallists took hundreds of pictures and signed autographs for the HaBaWaBa kids.

Hegemony for CNB

Quim Colet, one of the important figures of the water polo model in Spain, led the organization of the competition, in which Club Natació Barcelona (Spain) claimed first place in both categories, U10 and U12. In the U10 tournament, CN Barcelona beat UE Horta ‘Taurons’ (Spain) at the final (6-5), while CN Poble Nou (Spain) finished in third place.

In the U12 category, teams were divided into three different divisions (Bronze, Silver and Gold) after the first stage, so nine teams won an award. CN Barcelona, Posillipo ‘Coccodrilli’ (Italy) and KSI ‘Blue Sharks’ from Budapest reached the podium in this order.

In the Silver Division, YBL Waterpolo Club (Hungary) finished in first place, followed by CN Rubí and Askartza Claret from Spain. Aquatica Torino (Italy) beat Pallanuoto Salerno (Italy) in the Bronze Division final, while CN Helios (Spain) were third.

HaBaWaBa Spain 2019

The Spanish Swimming Federation has congratulated BIWPA on the organization of the HaBaWaBa Spain and they are already in talks to decide place and dates for next year’s edition.

 

Some pictures from the festival, by Pfotoàlbums (more here):

Summer Academy Cover

Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) gives the chance to water polo players to travel to Barcelona, Spain, and participate in an intensive training water polo program. The Academy based in Barcelona welcomes all water polo athletes from 14 to 18 that wish to improve prior to the Junior Olympics -in the case of American players- or just have an extra training before summer vacation.

BIWPA has officially announced its first Summer Academy Program, an extension of the Academy’s annual program. It will take place during June in Barcelona offering athletes the opportunity to register for one, two, three weeks or even the full month.

BIWPA feels that this program ensures the importance of the Academy program and gives the opportunity for inspiring athletes to take part in this experience. Athletes will be able to experience what it is like to work in an intense high-level program directed by the Academy director, Quim Colet, former coach for the Spain men’s national team in two Olympic games.  

Barcelona, one of the epicenters of water polo

Another added value to the experience is the city where it will be held. Barcelona is one of the cities with more water polo teams in Europe. Besides this, June is one of the best months to be in the city: Sun, beach and lots of fun activities to do. The Summer Academy athletes, apart from training twice a day and living the day-to-day with the current athletes, will also take part in tourism activities.  

This opportunity is not only a chance to train in a whole new environment, but is also an opportunity to immerse one’s self in a new culture and learn a new language.

Summer Academy

Other US athletes at BIWPA

The American athletes that travel to Barcelona in June will have the chance to meet other US athletes: Mark Laurlund, Skyler Knoflick and Adam Van Uden, all from CC United, who will help them adjust to the life at the Academy. Besides these three, a former Academy athlete Gavin West, from Greenwich Aquatics, will come back in June for the full month. West made the top 20 cut for the US cadet team after spending one semester in Barcelona. And there’s still another US athlete, Alison Doherty, who is on her third year in Barcelona.

 

Check out the interviews to some of the athletes on BIWPA’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/biwpa/videos

Here is the Summer Academy PDF: http://www.biwpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/summer_academy.pdf

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