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Zack LaGrange (19 years old, San Diego) arrived in Barcelona on September 7th and he is currently playing water polo at CN Rubí.

  • How has your experience been so far?

My experience so far has been amazing. I have learned so much in and out of the pool. I’m learning water polo skills that you can’t find anywhere in the U.S.A. I’m also understanding so much about the Spanish culture and the things that I can apply to my life in the states.

  • Why did you choose Barcelona? 

I chose Barcelona because of the connections my water polo coach had with BIWPA and because of the amazing water polo competition. BIWPA has made my experience everything that it is, including finding me a family to live with and a club to play with in the highest division in Spain. But the beautiful city of Barcelona was also incredibly influential in my decision. The opportunities I have in Barcelona are endless, from learning the Spanish language, to absorbing so many aspects of the Spanish and even larger European culture. Not to mention being in the one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world.

  • How is training and playing water polo in Barcelona?

Training and playing in Barcelona have been great. I’m learning so many new skills in the pool that were never emphasized to me in the U.S. but have already made me a better player. Water polo in Spain has allowed me to strengthen so many aspects of my game, making me a stronger, smarter, and overall better player. The competition in Barcelona has also allowed me to experience a whole different world of water polo not available to me in the U.S. It’s great for me because simply playing against and alongside such great players is just as helpful as being coached by great coaches.

  • How do you think this experience can help you?

My experience in Barcelona can help me by allowing me to gain so much water polo knowledge before heading off to college in the U.S. Water polo as a whole in Europe is much more intense than in the United States, and Barcelona is one of the greatest cities in the world to be a part of such an amazing water polo culture. I can learn so much that I couldn’t anywhere in the U.S. before starting college water polo, where can apply everything I have learned here.

  • How do you think this experience can help you?

I would recommend this to many players my age and younger in order for them to develop in the sport. This experience can help so many water polo players. Being a part of such a different style of water polo is incredible for anyone trying to learn as much as they can about the sport in order to strengthen their abilities.

  • Why would you recommend it?

I would have loved to come and train at the academy when I was younger. BIWPA has so much to offer in that it allows kids to train with one of the best water polo coaches around, Quim Colet, and experience another culture so much earlier in life than other people would. Any young player who attends the academy will undoubtedly learn so much about the sport and so much about Barcelona and Spain.

At the end of October, BIWPA made an undeniable leap of quality. The participation of a crew of BIWPA in the International Tournament, organized by the historic Greek NO Vougliameni in their own home, has been & is a milestone.

The fact that fourteen young Catalans, from different clubsfour of them from our own Academy-, had the opportunity to travel & compete with renowned sports organizations in Europe, is something extraordinary & unique until now. Not only because of the experience they have had, but because it makes us grow beyond sports.

The idea of creating a water polo project rose up after London 2012. A project where the young from all over the world could come to Barcelona to progress & improve their water polo, had a giant step at the end of the indicated date. Now, BIWPA is not just a company that is dedicated through the campus & the Academy to accompany the promises with their performance in this sport. We have demonstrated that we have the ability to reinvent ourselves and to go to a tournament with the mentioned characteristics as an own entity. Over there, where the clubs haven’t been able to reach due to different circumstances, we have tried to cover the void.

In this way, we also try to give back, within our possibilities, the work that clubs do in the training & formation of the players, the effort & talent of the players with a certain future and, above all, to return to this sport and to the people who have helped us in this process, all kindness and care we have received over these years from those who have formed part of this project directly and indirectly.

The preparation for the tournament

 As the result of which, the trip was a complete sporting & institutional success. The congratulatory messages received by the organizers and other participating teams was all a praise & compliment. In addition to the good play demonstrated & the exemplary behavior of our players, we were also recognized for having the ability of joining different players of great quality from different clubs to BIWPA: CN Catalunya, CN Molins de Rei, Cn Sant Feliu, CN Montjüic, CN Rubí, CN Poble Nou & CN Olot. Here we express our gratitude to them for their facilities.

The challenge was enormous from the very first moment.  Under the direction of our Technical Director, Quim Colet, we wanted to make this quality leap in the best possible way. Result of his previous period of life, as the Technical Director of the Catalan Swimming Federation & of a whole life dedicated to this sport, Quim Colet knew perfectly, for one reason or another, which players could fit within a strong & competitive team and could take advantage of this opportunity. Added to his water polo knowledge at an international level, he was the most indicated person to lead this team and obtain the best possible result.

First and foremost, competitives

The chosen players were: ten players added to the four that belong to our Academy. Captained by Víctor Andrade from CN Molins de Rei & directed by Quim Colet, the tournament was complicated since the very first match against the historic Greek Olympiakos. A benchmark in the Hellenic country and in Europe. A result of 14-9 led the rest of rivals to believe that BIWPA presented a competitive team. The mini-league of classification followed the same pattern as the rest of competitions. Victorias against el Faliro (8-6), Vougliameni B (1-19) y Hellas SK (1-16). But the Cross brackets were a different story.

The semifinal against the strong Savona, one of the most ´piu forte´ teams of Italia, directed by an entire institution in the Pallanuoto, like is Claudio Mistrangelo, got us out of the final. With a result of 7-9, the BIWPA team were combative until the end, facing one of the strongest of the tournament, and finally, won the competition.

The fight for the third place was also complicated, facing the Olympiakos. Despite falling by a single goal (9-8), the fact of having placed against the difficult situation, facing one of the European clubs whose reserve of young players is recognized for its prestige, was already, by itself, meritorious.

Víctor Fernández (14), Alex Royo (13), Jordi Gascón (11) and Albert Ponferrada (10), were the team´s top scorers. The two goalkeepers, Eric Domíngues & Ahmad Perez had minutes in equal parts and stood out of the safety they gave the team in every moment.

To conclude, thank the Organization of the tournament and specially, to the coach of N.O. Vouliagmeni, Spiros Boulougouras.

Kelly Doherty (California, 1999), who has been in our Academy for the past two years, will now be playing in the prestigious University of California, Berkeley.

Sometimes dreams do come true, due to a lot of effort & sacrifice. For Kelly & her family, this has been the reason for so much happiness, as well as for BIWPA. When Kelly arrived in Barcelona, she had in mind the goal of playing for a university in the United States of America. Something complicated, but not impossible.

We got to meet her during our summer water polo camp. Both sides were extremely delighted from the beginning. As soon as she knew about our Full Program, she didn’t think twice. She landed in September in Barcelona with her sister, Alison. During these two years they have been supporting each other to grow not only in the sport, but also on a personal level.

After two years of countless hours at the pool, improving her individual technique during long training sessions with her teammates at the Academy, and later, at the CN Catalunya club, Kelly has succeeded & made it. She has reached an optimum level of the sport, so much so that one of the most prestigious universities in the United States believes that she deserves to defend their colors.

Like Kelly, there has been more than 20 boys & girls from all over the world who have come & been in our Academy to improve their water polo skills in Barcelona – in addition to learning the Spanish language – one of the most important cities for this sport. In addition, Kelly has completed her high school studies at the ES International School school with which BIWPA has a collaboration agreement, the ESIS school is dedicated to working with international student-athletes to realize their full potential and to provide them with a lifetime of opportunities.

They have improved, competed, made new friends & returned home with the satisfaction of having worked hard in the water, and of course, always with a smile. The thing is that sometimes dreams come true & someone like Kelly Doherty can attest to it.

But beyond Kelly´s case, there are thousands of male and females water polo players in the world with a goal. Some of them, want to end up competing in Europe & take on an experience that will last them a lifetime. Others, on the contrary, just like most of our players, want to achieve their maximum potential and goal: to apply for a university chosen by them, and to in order to do it, the only secret is to work hard and be surrounded by the best.

For this reason, from BIWPA, we have created the Academy, with the hope of being, as it has been so far, a tool for those athletes who want to achieve their goals in life. Regardless of how ambitious it would be, in BIWPA, we would like to be part of this process.

The University of California, Los Angeles, better known as UCLA, has trusted in BIWPA to help the women’s water polo team start off their season in Barcelona.

UCLA took part in a team training camp and the girls, led by Brandon Brooks, had a 10-day stay in the Catalan capital where they combined training sessions, friendly matches and leisure and cultural activities.

“Barcelona was always at the top list of my favorite cities in the world, so I wanted to have a chance to bring my girls here and get to see the city and the community. Also, the Spanish women’s water polo is very high”, assures Brandon.

High level trainings

The training days were composed of double training sessions and friendly matches against teams of Barcelona and its metropolitan area such as CN Mataró, CN Rubí and CE Mediterrani.

To carry out their trainings, the girls enjoyed the magnificent facilities of Montjuïc Olympic pool, with spectacular views that the city of Barcelona has to offer, and Centre Natació Mataró which is recognized for its beachside facilities.

“The facilities are great. Two facilities right on the beach and one up in Montjuïc; you can’t say any pool is really any prettier than this one. We had dinner in some excellent restaurants, the food was great, the people were great…we had an excellent time” assures Brandon.

Olympic background

The team also consisted of two Olympic players like Rachel Fattal and Maddie Musselman, who both win gold medals in the summer Rio 2016 Olympics.

In addition, Brandon Brooks, who took over as coach in 2009, was part of the United States national team who participated in Athens 2004 Olympics and Beijing 2008.

In 2007, the UCLA women’s water polo team gave their University a national title, number 100, a record that stands in the NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association.

VIDEO – Watch UCLA experience in Barcelona

uclacampnou

The water polo player Anni Espar (Barcelona, 1993), who is currently playing for CN Sabadell and the Spanish National Team, has signed a contract with BIWPA and she will be our new brand ambassador.

The Catalan player has always been involved with all of BIWPA’s projects, both in Summer Camps and the Academy, where she regularly attends to perform master classes with our athletes.

“BIWPA has always seemed to be a company with very interesting projects and passionate employees about water polo, just like me. That’s why I have always been interested in helping them grow and improve in any possible way”, says Anni.

With BIWPA, Anni Espar has the opportunity to share her knowledge with young water polo players who want to learn and improve their techniques, something that she finds to be “a great and brilliant idea”.

New challenges

At the end of this year, the Catalan player will leave Barcelona for Sydney, where she will be playing water polo in the University of Sydney team, in addition to finishing her studies.

“I look forward to new experiences and being able to continue growing both as a player and as a person. I have a strong desire to go to Australia to compete with one of the best teams and to continue learning from new coaches, new peers and teammates, etc. While I’m there, I will be playing for the Sydney University and simultaneously I will finish my studies in Business Administration. I will have some extra time which I plan to take advantage of by traveling & by creating a BIWPA Campus there, affirms the Catalan player.

Anni Espar had a similar experience in the United States of America where she won the NCAA title with the University of Southern California: “I lived one of the best experiences in the USA while I played for USC for a year and I learned a lot”.

For BIWPA, it’s a great privilege to count on one of the best players in Europe, named the best water polo player of 2012 by LEN and Silver Medal in London 2012.

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Last week, BIWPA, represented by Yuri Colet, participated in some conferences dedicated to the training of water polo technicians, thanks to the invitation of the Swedish Federation.

Yuri Colet attended the conference as a guest, invited to a symposium in Stockholm, organized by the Swedish Swimming Federation for all aquatic disciplines. The National Body was pursuing the goal of deepening the required knowledge in forming water polo basis, at technical and tactical level, for collective and individual games.

The day was a real success. Among the public there were different profiles, from the technician with many years of experience behind them, to young ones who were beginning to be trained and formed. “The truth is that the dynamic was very positive, in every moment there was a good participation and any doubt and question of the attendees was dissipated”, describes Yuri Colet who values very well the opportunity of this offered knowledge &, who doesn’t discard at all the possibility of the repetition of this invitation for the BIWPA.

The appointment to which attended Yuri Colet as the co-founder of BIWPA, had its origins in the Team Train Camp that the Swedish team SK Neptune carried out 2 years ago. The Greek technician, Alexandros Vlastos was delighted and as its results, a professional relationship was established.

It also coincides, with an important moment for BIWPA, as this summer, continuing with the implemented philosophy in our Academy which helps the players to grow their skills in the game, the horizon that the technicians can also participate in our programs has been opened. In this way, they can continue to grow and increase in their knowledge and therefore, professionally in their respective areas in which they can carry out their task.

The interships are an innovative instrument in its field which is already bearing its fruit as could be seen this summer with the participation of different technicians. Following this training methodology, Yuri Colet went to Stockholm trying to transfer the knowledge which is being applied in different services of which BIWPA is making use.

crisyuri

Last weekend, the First Edition of the Barcelona International Turbo Cup -Youth U18 category-, organized by BIWPA, was successfully carried out in the Montjuïc Olympic pool.

Ferencvárosi TC was the winner of the tournament after beating the CN Granollers 7-6. CN Rubí and CN Barcelona took the third and fourth places respectively. The individual awards went to Pitu Puig, of the CN Granollers, as the best player of the tournament and to Miklos Jokai, of the Ferencvárosi, as the best goalkeeper.

The tournament counted on the participation of a total of 16 teams. Many of them,  arriving from the different European countries, such as: the Exeter WPC (Great Britain), the NC Monza (Italy), the Szeged VE (Hungary), the SSV Esslingen (Germany) or the Portuguese team under-18, plus 5 more catalan teams which participated too: CN Barcelona, CN Catalunya, CN Rubí, CN Sant Feliu y CN Granollers.

Nonstop waterpolo 

During three days, the Montjuïc Olympic Pool turned into an authentic waterpolo party where players, coaches and fans enjoyed the morning and afternoon matches, and where a good music- which was borne by Red Bull and made it all even more pleasant-was not missing between the matches.

All of that in an unbeatable scene, offering spectacular views of the city of Barcelona, which captivated all foreign teams who also enjoyed the good weather.

A big success

The organizers are very pleased with the great reception of the First Edition of this tournament and they are planning for the next editions.

Quim Colet, the BIWPA Sports Director, assures that “it’s a luxury being able to carry out a tournament of this kind in Barcelona and specially, in a symbolic and emblematic facility of the city. All teams have expressed their desire to participate in future editions, enjoying the waterpolo of this marvelous city”.

On his behalf, Joel Esteller, the tournament coordinator, acknowledges that “we are very satisfied with the results. Coaches, players and families have encouraged us to repeat the event next year. We accept the challenge and we get to work for the next edition”.

final-qualification

quim-colet
The waterpolo coach, Quim Colet, with more than 30 years of experience as waterpolo coach, is now the new Sports Director of BIWPA.
Today, the BIWPA Academy begins the 2016-2017 season under the sports direction and management of Quim Colet.

Quim Colet is the new Sports Director of BIWPA and also, the responsible for Sports Academy. The international academic year has already begun and with him, BIWPA begins this season. The new Sports Director will manage, coordinate and supervise the daily trainings of the young athletes who will form part of the BIWPA Academy in the season 2016-2017.

Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) is a unique and novel project which is destined to train and educate young waterpolo athletes from all over the world in Barcelona, combining studies with the waterpolo. BIWPA has found in Quim Colet the sports experience which was looking for, necessary for the direction, in addition to “know our philosophy and working methodology”, confirms the general management.

Quim Colet has been the Technical Waterpolo Director of the Catalan Swimming Federation during the last eight years, designing and adapting a working model which is a worldwide reference. In addition, he has coached the male waterpolo Olympic team in Beijing 2008 & London 2012, and also the junior team selector, obtaining several medals such as the gold medal in the World Junior Los Angeles 91, the Bronze medal in Mar Del PlAta 2005, and the silver medal in Volos 2011, as well as some medals in European Championships like: the silver in Sopron 1992 or the bronze in Oradea 2005

xavi garcia

We´ve talked with Xavi García from VK Jug CO. Good read to know more about one of the best seasons in the history of croatian team.

What an incredible season of JUG. The League, the Cup and now the Champions League. A triplet within reach of very few in the world

It is something so difficult. It has been the best season in JUG history. To reach something like this in a big club like JUG has to be something difficult.

JUG has invested heavily this season. Did you expect this success at the beginning of the season?

Definitely not. They had two years without winning a title and the goal was to win a title but we could not imagine what was about to happen.

About the Final Six. You were not between the favorites. First Eger, then Recco and finally Olympiakos. Three top level matches, and really physically demanding, in a short period of time. What were the keys to win the title?

We were not favorites at all. Our main goal was to get into the semi-final match. Once we achieved that, our objective was to face Recco as well as we could, we got the match where we wanted and in the penalty shooting we reached the final. Against Olympiakos, it was our third match. We were exhausted. They had played only one match and that was a benefit for the greek team. Our dfense and our goalie was spectacular and they only scored 4 goals. That way is difficult to lose…!!!

“Xavi Garcia, Felipe Perrone and Maro Jokovic are my mind in the water”, said your coach. With no doubt, words that show the good relationship with the coach…

Yes! The truth is that we get on well, not only me but also every player in the team. I think it is the key to achieve all the success.

In a personal ambit, it is your first Champions League. What means to you this achievement? Is it the perfect end to a foreign trip that began years ago?

It is one of the best things for a waterpolo player. Not only because it is the first champions league, but also because it is the best title in Europe. It is not the end of nothing, I hope that I can still be playing waterpolo for more years although there are some people that want to retire me. There are a lot of players that ended their sportive career without winning any Champions League but their career has been great…

felipe-perrone

-Three of three posible titles. Amazing. What are the keys to reach this success?

It has probably been our hope, practice hard and a way of playing that let all of us reach our best level of waterpolo.

-JUG has invested heavily this season incorporating you and Xavi Garcia between others. You have far surpassed the initial goals…

Yes. They demanded us one title this season and finally we have achieved all of them. You can’t imagine the happiness of the people in the city.

-About the Final Six. You have given a lesson. You beat Eger in front of their crowd, Pro Recco in the penalty shoots in an excellent match and in the final you beat Olympiacos that were more fresh than you…

It has been so tough. The first match against Eger after a month without official games. Next, Recco proposed a suffocating pressing. And finally the final, I don’t really know from where we got that energy to play.

-One more time Felipe Perrone proves again that he is one of the best players in the world. Your appearance is stellar and you take the reins of the team in the moments of more tension…

Well, I had a good championship but the truth is that we play in a way that lets me play at my top level. Besides having left-handed players in the team, centers, goalie, center defender… was fundamental.

-You already have 3 Champions leagues. You walk into a select club within reach of very few in the history of this sport …

Honestly I don’t think in that kind of things. Every one has each history . If I think in how we did it in Barceloneta, I think it passed a few months before we realized what we had achieved and I think this year will be the same.

-And now Rio 2016 with Brasil. What is the preparatory path until August?

I can’t think in Rio yet but the way is training 7 hours each day since last Wednesday. Before Rio we have the final of the world league that is really important for the image of the team.

-A medal would be the best way to close one of the bests season in your sportive career. Are there options?

In Brasil is a miracle to be able to compete Two years ago Brasil lost for 10 goals. Our objective is to be on the first eight teams and then be able to play a quarter final match in front of 18.000 people where we can dream big.

-As you know, in BIWPA this summer we are buzzing with the camps. We would like you to send a message to all the guys so they want to join us and they can dream with becoming, with a lot of effort, the next Felipe Perrone.

What I can say to them is that they have to take advantage of this camps to learn a lot, and also to make new friends from Spain and the rest of the world. It is an unique opportunity!!!

P.S. We miss you a lot in Spain…

I miss Spain too

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