All posts in CAR Sant Cugar

For every athlete is very important to have quality material and a nutritious and balanced diet. In BIWPA we are very grateful to be able to transmit these values ​​to our boys and girls thanks to big companies that trust us.

We want to thank them for their kind support and confidence in our project. We also want to take this opportunity to thank Bea Ortiz and Joel Esteller for posing with products from our partners for this pictures.Thank you very much!

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TURBO
Turbo was created more than half a century ago by the Masso family, and today is one of the leading brands of sports equipment.
Their specialty  is water polo and swimming sporting equipment and products, which they do coddling its design, functionality and quality.

For that, and for quite some time, Turbo products are used by record holders and worldwide international teams.

ISOSTAR 
In 1977, Isostar created the first ‘sports drink’ and since then, they have worked to meet the nutritional needs of athletes. Isostar team has the best experts and top athletes to design products that help athletes to excel and achieve their goals, whatever their level or specialty is.

Isostar is present in the routines and diets of millions of athletes, and it is the nutritional benchmark in more than thirty countries on the five continents.

NESTLÉ

Nestlé was founded by German resident in Switzerland Henri Nestlé, a pharmacist who had developed a food incapable of feeding infants at the breast in 1866.

Currently, the company has in its portfolio with baby food, bottled water, milk, ice cream, frozen food, pet food and snack.

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L’ORÉAL

L’Oréal is a cosmetics and beauty company born in France in 1907. Since then, the company has endeavored to offer all kinds of services related to skin  and hair care, sunscreen, makeup and perfumes.

Currently, the company is a pioneer in research active in the dermatological, tissue engineering and pharmaceutical fields and is the top nanotechnology patent-holder in the United States.

VODAFONE
Vodafone is one of the leading telecom companies in Spain. Born as Airtel in 1994, in 1995 they launched its 2G mobile service; a revolution at the time. In 2001 the company was renamed Vodafone as part of the international Vodafone group, one of the ten largest companies in the world today.

Vodafone has been a pioneer in telecommunications, the first company  in Spain with a 4G network. Always staying true to the same motto: ‘We want to improve the lives of people, these being more and more connected in a mobile world. “

PUNT FRESC
Punt Fresc  is a Catalan food company which work is based on the benefits and variety of the Mediterranean diet. It started as a family business in 1957, selling fruit and vegetables in the Catalan markets. For its success, it became a Wholesale. And after some time, they decided to open its first street stores. Their commitment has always been maintaining the quality level of the market food, but move it to the supermarkets to bring people a easier way to buy it.

In 2001 Punt Fresc brand was finally born, and now it’s an unquestionable synonymous with freshness, tasty, healthy and comfort.

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Some days ago we posted the interview with the MVP of the Champions League, Albert Español. So, today we bring you the one that we did with Dani López-Pinedo and Marc Minguell, both also players of the C.N. Atlètic-Barceloneta (C.N.A.B), and of the water polo Spanish National Team.

We met them at the CAR, where they are preparing the imminent European championship.

They’ve done a gap in their tight agenda to talk with us, and they have signed us a Kap7 water polo bal which we will raffle among the participants of our Water Polo Summer Camps 2014 .

If you want it and you haven’t enrolled yet on our camps, hurry up because the camps will begin in less than a week. We’ll be waiting for you in Barcelona!

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Interview with Marc Minguell and Dani Lopez-Pinedo BY YASMINA ARMESTO

How did you get in contact with water polo world?

D: Me and Marc and went to the same school, which had swimmingpool, in the district of Sants. At this school, there was a family who was a lover of the water polo. José Lorenzo, its father, proposed to create a group of students to play water polo as an extracurricular activity. Shortly after, the Club Esportiu Mediterrani announced some tryouts to attract new players. There began all, and since then, we haven’t stopped.

When did you start to play as professional players?

M: We knew that we could be profesional players when we began to play with the first team of our club and also with the National Team. It was at that moment when you realized that this could be your job.
D: The true is that we began to play water polo as an amusement. We were enjoying it, doing friends and it was motivating for us. In addition to this, our coaches give us the tools to progress, so we saw it very clear: at that moment we began n to get mad for this sport.

And you have conquered the LEN Champions League with the first team of the C.N.A.B. What was the most special moment of the competition?

M: One of them was the victory against Brescia, in the quarters final. We work many months to prepare that match so when we won, we began to believe that we could obtain the Champions.
D: For me the most emotional moment was when we went out of the swimming pool, after the final match. We went to find our families and friends. They know perfectly how much we had trained and suffered to achieve the championship. I remember that I was hugging my girlfriend, and i couldn’t avoid crying. It was very emotive.
M: Our families have been there in every match, when we won and when we lost. But I remember when we were waiting for the prizes. We were completely alone. We were all together in a corner of the swimming pool. It was there when I really realized of what we had achieved.

And now you’re preparing the Europeans with the National Team. What sensations do you have?

M: The club and the National Team are quite different: both have different players and different environments. On the one hand, the club is exigent; however it’s very familiar. I feel my club as a part of me. After so many years, it is like to be at home. We’ve been playing so many years with the Barceloneta that we can feel the club success as ours. But, on the other hand, being on the National Team is like to receive another prize. It’s a reward for the successes which you’ve obtained by your club.
D: It might be said that the club is the daily work. And play in the National Team is pretty much the same, but concentrated in two months. So, it’s more explosive. In the National Team all of us are professional players and all of us want to give our 100 %. They have chosen us because we are the best to represent the Spanish water polo so we must to give the best of you.

Spain, Atlètic Barceloneta… You spend almost the time together. Also with Albert Español. How is your relationship?

D: Marc and I sleep in the same room, both in the club and in the National Team. Sometimes I have to see him more than my girlfriend! And we also have a nice friendship with Albert. We’ve got moments for everything and we appreciate our friendship very much.
M: Our sport careers make us spend many hours together, many months, and with some players, maybe years. We are like a second family. In both cases: the National Team and the club.

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Is water polo a kind of inbreeding world?

M: Logically a great majority of our friends has something that links them to water polo. It is a very small world. It goes as when you went to the school, so you made friends in the school, so you spoke, very often, about the things that happened in the school. If you play at water polo: you’ll have friends and will know people which are in the water polo world because they play or they’ve another link to it. It’s normal.
D: We have a group of friends in which not all of them have a link to this sport, and it also helps us. If it was not, we would be always speaking about the same thing. Of course they ask us about the club, the match, whatever.But after comment it, other topics come to talk about as it will happen in the other group of friends.

Did you feel, when you were young, that you were loosing things for being so dedicated to the sport?

D: I would not say it. Play sport doesn’t mean that you couldn’t go to events,or on holidays; but you do it once in a while, because you’have to train hard.
M: Probably when we were young, we never had the typical school summer vacations. Because in those three months, we were preparing with the National categories. Nevertheless, we have won in other aspects. In values, for example, that will be useful for us for many other fields of our daily life.
D: Moreover, in the summer, let’s be sincere, we preferred to be with a team of water polo, where we had friends, that being on the beach with our parents.

If you had not been water polo players, what would be your job?

D: Good question! I just can’t imagine… I began so younger that i’ve never asked me this.
M: In my case, I believe that I would have done what they all do: end high school, going to college…
D: Now, both are ending the business administration career. It has been difficult for the routine and the little available time, but it’s almost done.

Daniel Lopez Barceloneta

Could water polo be a long term job after your career as a player? 

D: I would love it. However the economic conditions do not allow you to live only by water polo. But I would like to teach everything what I have learned to the young talents. Maybe not as trainer, something more as psychological coaching. I would love to show them what we have learned and the things with which we have suffered. Only in order that they could apply that advice in their goals.
M: I am with Dani. There are many things that can be improved  into the sports education of the young athletes. And especially with the children, because they will be those who will become professionals some day. Our experience, also worldwide, might contribute at this very much.

Players of the height of Felipe Perrone or Anni Espar, have given masterclasses in our first BIWPA camp

D:Listen and be with them in a training session is a very good option for the new talents, for sure. They’ve a lot of experience and they still playing. The athletes should keep sharing their talent beyond the end of their chapter as players. They are  prepared and valid people. And if it is necessary, their countries should form them in order to make them capable of teaching.
M: You can’t forget that it is necessary to have a few educational skills at least, but any player who has been in the water polo professional level is a good source of information for the young who want to learn and grow in this sport.

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How do you see the popularity level of water polo on the streets? 

D: The Atlètic- Barceloneta is working very well on this issue. Many clubs might continue that way and also the Federation. Our club gives repercussion to the victories, but also to the day after day work. Barceloneta has been doing it for a few years: making people want to know more and more about water polo.
M: With good victory in water polo, should be quite easy to appear in the media. But a victory in water polo use to ‘live’not much than a week on the tv. A few days after, the other more common sports achieve the focus; so the amazing water polo victory it’s forgotten. However, the truth is that this kind of blindness makes defeats hurt less to us, because they do not remain so much time in the retina of the mass media.

Do you believe that the change of the regulation of water polo will make more people became interested in it?

D: I am very critical with the changes of regulation. The problem is not the sport. The problem is in the people who manage this sport and who does not know – or doesn’t want to –  develop it as it should be. I don’t know if they have or not the best background to manage this sport. But to change the rules is not the way. The way is in the powerful and structured well promotion of this sport.
M: They have already changed the regulation to try to make it showier. And nevertheless, it is the same people who follows it. I know that is difficult to understand a water sport if you are out of the swimming pool, or if you aren’t used to see a match, or if you unknown the game dynamics. It is complicated and it’s a disadvantage. But the changes of the regulation only make players, trainers and umpires become mad. These ‘ brilliant ideas ‘ only make the council sit together occasionally, but then these ideas do not serve for anything more.

Marc, Dani, thanks for your sincerity and for your time. We wish you the best, and a lot of luck in the Europeans.

D: Thanks to you.
M: It has been a pleasure.

Toni Esteller

BIWPA team has had the opportunity to interview Toni Esteller, an internationally renowned water polo coach.

Born in Barcelona in 1955, Esteller has been the National Spanish Water Polo Team coach, and his career has been linked to CN Barcelona water polo club, for more than 20 years.

Throughout this interview, you’ll see how his understanding of water polo is influenced from his strong personality, both in sport and in daily life.

Direct and sincere, he doesn’t mince words, he doesn’t leave anyone indifferent. We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we enjoyed talking to him.

Hi Toni! For those who do not know you, how will you define yourself as a coach?
My greatest attribute is the ability to understand the players: both in training and in matches. I can read what they do, what they think and how they act. I am very stubborn, or rather, very insistent. At all.

You have been the coach of your own son, Joel. How was the experience?
I was particularly demanding with him. As a coach, you are prepared for a lot of situations, but I think nobody is prepared to train their own blood. It’s almost impossible to separate the human side from the sport side, so imagine how difficult it was in those circumstances. As a coach, I was too hard with my son. He took it better than me, because he has endured impossible situations.

Toni Esteller

And how do you remember your time as the Spanish National Team coach?
I have different memories. I was very young, around 32 years old, when I started training the absolute team. And meanwhile, there was a boycott against me …

¿…?
Of C.N. Montjuïc. During my first year as national coach, I combined it with the task of coaching CN Catalunya. C.N. Montjuïc, one of my opponents in the Spanish league at the time, wanted to prove that being CN Catalunya’s coach while I was training the National Team could generate me a conflict of interest.

Was there such a conflict of interest?
I followed strictly sport reasons. Please remember that I accepted the federation’s proposal to train the absolute once the league had already begun. But Montjuïc’s team still thought that I would favor the C.N.Catalunya. Even after I select 8 Montjuïc’s players for the absolute team, the high pressure still continued.

How did you face that pressure?
I believe that everything that happens to you, teaches you as a coach and as a person. Not only the boycott teaches me. Also other things have formed me: the transition of the national water polo team; resign due to the differences with steering committee… All that set of feelings and experiences is what generates the learning of the individual and the coach, it’s a continuous process.

Why did you quit as the Spanish water polo team coach?
First of all, I went in and I found a boycott, and I thought: “What is this?!”. Then, after making the transition team, certain differences with the directive, about the approach of the Olympics in 1992, made me decide: I resigned. And I resigned only one and a half year before of achieving the dream of any water polo coach: be the Spanish National Team Coach for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Do you regret your decision?
It was hard. A lot. And I have to admit that at first, I didn’t want to live the Olympics, I would rather go on vacation. But my wife encouraged me to face the Olympics. And fortunately, Santi Carreras from Catalunya Radio, gave me the opportunity to live the experience of the Olympics as a journalist, working in their radio broadcasting. And I’ll always be grateful to him, because it was an amazing and different experience. So thanks to that, finally I really enjoyed the Olympic movement, in a way that I would never expect.

What do you think about water polo’s social consideration in our country?
We must be critical. In Catalunya we brag to be a multidisciplinary sports country. We are proud of our athletes, we have many Olympic, etc. But it isn’t enough. I can see more and more Franco’s time reminisces in politicians’ attitudes about sports issues. In Franco’s era, soccer and bulls were used as a political element. Currently, the soccer has some similar connotation, because a group of politicians uses this sport for achieving their own political considerations. I miss a more true, solid and clear support for the minority sports, like water polo needs.

What do you mean exactly?
The political elites fill their mouths every four years, or when we win a world hockey championship. But beyond that, in our day to day, that support doesn’t exist. I would like to make them understand that there is something more than the Barça-Madrid match in the Catalan sports life. And despite of being an FCB supporter – I’m a really culé-, I consider that the political elite is concerned to go to sports events only if they report them media presence, as Barça matches do. Furthermore, FC Barcelona is an entity that is fully consolidated at street! Politicians still go to their matches although the FCB does not require the political support. They should support all the other sports that really ‘needs them’, such as water polo.

Toni Esteller

But some political representatives have assisted to other sports matches, isn’t it?
Political elites have sport as a tool for the polls. The discourse of the political caste in relation to minority sports are all words, and only a few actions. The politicians just come to watch the matches of sports (considered native, or minority sports) on rare occasions or when the elections are close. It’s that clear.

What do you suggest?
I’d like Mr. Mas (Catalonia’s President) come to watch, for example, a water polo match at any time, and when no one expects him. Such a gesture would help to understand that there are more sports than football. With his presence, he would imply much more than sending the Councilor for Sports; and it would also help to disseminate and enhance the Catalan culture and our sports.

Is Catalonia a leader in water polo’s world?
In this country we have very valid ideas to support water polo, and another ones to support all the other ‘minority’ sports; but all of us need more. In water polo case, BIWPA’s project forward and shows that Catalans have much to say and to do for this water polo. So with a bit more institutional support, and social consideration, with CAR of Sant Cugat’s facilities, with all the clubs, the National Team, and along with many other agents, Catalunya can be erected in a short term as a major world leader in water polo, for sure.

What do you think about BIWPA’s project?
Featuring an unusual and highly dynamic approach, BIWPA’s project is already a solid reality. Very often, and for different reasons, clubs can not absorb the individual growth, and the development to the excellence, of each player. So, more and more, theses periods for sport technification are necessary and very useful, both for clubs and players. BIWPA is a very good new and  an attractive idea, so I want it to be a very successful platform, because it facilitates the improvement of any national or international player. This project goes far beyond the common concept of an entertainment sports program or camp. It is a serious commitment about the young water polo players and their improvement to achieve the sporting excellence.

Finally, could you answer with a few words to complete the sentences … ?
Beach or pool … beach.
A favorite food … ‘arroz a banda’, a south-catalonian typical rice cooked in fish broth, accompanied by alioli sauce.
Water polo is … a sport and a fantastic job.
A good-luck charm or ritual … I haven’t any now, but the last good-luck charm was my daughter’s doll: a green frog. It was funny because as my son was on the water, my daughter’s doll was in my hand.
A slogan to win … it doesn’t exist, that’s for books. I believe in preparation.
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Thank you for your time Toni!
Thank you too, and wish you all the best with BIWPA’s project

At the beginning, I thought to talk about water polo as a sport with ephemeral success or about less social and media impact, but I am not going to appeal or complain for that, because I think this feeling should be put it behind. The point is that we are stronger because we are different, unique, and besides, we’re good. We cannot talk about minority sport attending the successful results (not only in recent seasons, but also past 2 decades), the outburst of women’s water polo, the number of clubs competing at lower levels and their technical improvement, the amazing coaching, etc. Of course we can improve more than that but this is not our feeling, at least in Catalonia where we work to be better every single day. We do things to go forward, not backwards.

If we take a look back, we find a golden 2013 year in terms of results, especially the female team: April 27th, CN Sabadell female proclaimed European Clubs Champion in Hungary, after a hellish environment in semifinals. On August 2nd, in Bernat Picornell pools in Barcelona, the Spanish Women National Team was, for the first time ever, World Champion, amid a frenzied crowd. The 25th of the same month, in Volos, Greece, the Spanish Juniors made silver medal in the World U20. And, to finish the round, the youngest, the sub17, 2 weeks later, on September 8th, made silver medal in Europe sub17 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Shortly and concisely speaking, the women’s water polo season has been spectacular. And if you take a look a little further back in time, we will see that this success is the result of a really hard work. Female silver medal in the London Olympics 2012, Female World Junior Champion in Trieste (Italy), and the silver medal the male Junior team in Greece in 2011. In the summer, the female sub17 made ​​3rd Europe in Madrid, and the male sub17 made also 3rd in Rijeka (Croatia), plus of the 1st European Cup Women won by CN Sabadell. I’ll throw no further to the head, but enough has been achieved in terms of medals and finals and semifinals played. Besides, I only speak about international results, because nationwide successes are indisputable for our water polo. And I speak for all water polo without recognizing gender or age.

Ferran Plana

Ferran in Portugalete 2014

My point of view is not to compare water polo with other sports, because everyone is working to their fullest potential in terms of the (human and material) resources available, but if we look at other sports in our country, it seems difficult to find any other with same success in different categories and genres (I quote only basketball, year after year busting all medalists in men and women at all ages. BRAVO for them!).

These memories of recent times do nothing more than highlighting the results and translate the many, many hours of work and volume of desire and enthusiasm invested in our sport, water polo, both the players, the technical staff and many other people (to say the least, they do absolutely everything) that are responsible for implementing sports programs for clubs and federations.

The Spanish level has also risen, as well as the number of clubs and the overall development of water polo, but the Catalan level (which is actually the one I have more knowledge of)
has exponentially increased in recent years in terms of players, equipment, and technical structure.  A huge evolution.

A clear example of that was what happened on October 6th, coinciding with the Catalan Cup of the National League, where 43 catalan women water polo players, were rewarded for their amazing season 2012-2013 (yes!, you read well, 43!) for having been international medalists in the last season, on top of the 5 technicians who were part of the successful staffs (both in National teams and clubs). All these awards are just the tip of the spear of a sport in many places regarded as a minority, but that we consider different and unique, and that in Catalonia is very powerful and has a very good health at all ages and genders. And as far as I know,water polo is also spreading widely outside Catalonia (Basque Country, Navarra, Zaragoza and Sevilla, to cite clear examples), and scramble every day to grow in every way and without thinking whether they are better, lower or equal: they work hard. And we do too.

However, the economic situation is very, very tough. Clubs think how to get through their low incomes without dropping their investment, in my opinion, in the most important thing, the lower categories and the formation of new young players. On the other hand, the water polo Federation tries to fit this technical needs with the economic situation of the clubs (short distance commuting, short tournaments, intensification of the weekends…). Do not forget that there is always the main idea that we are “professionals” of water polo (this expression does not go with work hours, salary, etc, but it goes with the availability that each of us has). Finally this is a sport, a right and a pleasure. Just a few of us have the privilege of educating through sport.

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Ferran Plana-spanish seleccion U18

We would like to go out a lot more in the media, but don’t be naive … our country (Spain or Catalonia; I will not go into this debate) has no sports culture generally speaking. In fact, it just has a soccer culture! And the rest goes behind, because what people read, watch and talk about is soccer, sometimes about basketball and of course about Alonso and Nadal. This is it! The rest has to “compete” to appear rarely in the media. And if we briefly show up (due tonational and international events) it means that we are doing well, very well. Even when instantly the society forgets our effort, we keep working, just to reappear again, most of the times thanks to very engaged fans following our victories and showing how self-sacrificing this sport is. If during the season, “we catch” any article, any document, any cuts in a sports or news program, this is more than welcome! And believe me, on a smaller scale so many clubs, federations, associations, coaches and players have entered in the 2.0 age: Twitter, Facebook, profiles, blogs, web pages... with the main purpose to show up and to spread among all of us the information that we want. Although slowly, for sure these new tools are approaching to us to the rest of the world. 

To finish with, I hope that I have achieved my goal with these lines: leave the banners and prejudices that see us as a minority sport. No excuses and worries anymore, we want solutions. Instead of complaining, we should change and fit in. The only way is to work hardly, as other minority sports do. This is the only philosophy and way: feeling completely full and confident, so that step by step, we gradually achieve the same vision of those who watch us from “outside “.