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Alejandra Aznar USC

After clinching gold and the MVP trophy at the European Youth Water Polo Championships with the Spanish national team, Alejandra Aznar moved to the United States in the 2018-19 season. The young and talented leftie (2000) is one of the great hopes of the future and present of the Spain’s senior team.

In the current Academic year, Aznar has played for one of the top universities on the West Coast of the United States, USC Los Angeles. She finished runner-up in the women’s water polo national championship and also with her club team in Spain, CN Sant Andreu.

 

How has your experience been in the United States?

I have learned a lot. Living far from home and alone, with a different language and country is not easy… In terms of water polo, there are many different things in comparison to Spain.

 

Why did you decide to take your first college year in California?

The truth is that juggling academics and water polo is very easy in the US. Playing and studying in the same place makes it very convenient. Also, when I finished high school in Barcelona I wanted to start a new experience far from home, and now that I’m young I think it’s the best moment.

 

How would you rate this year in the US together with your teammate in Sant Andreu, Mireia Guiral?

She is my best friend and the truth is that things have been much easier with her, because I knew I could count on her in case there were bad moments. Even though I never had to face any tough time, it was always good to have her at home after training on when I needed a break.

 

The next season is prior to the Toquio Olympic Games … Will you stay in USC or home?

Next year I will continue with my club team in Barcelona, CN Sant Andreu. Next year there will be many calls-up and trainings with the national team in preparation for the Olympic Games, that’s why I think I really need to be home.

 

What is your main objective at the sports level for the season 19-20?

Being able to make it for the last calls-up with the national team and take advantage of these practices to learn and improve.

 

How do you see the Spanish team? Do you see yourself with possibilities to enter the team and maybe go to the Olympic Games?

It’s very difficult and on top of that they have reduced the number of players permitted in the squad. It is still early to draw conclusions, but what I can assure is that I will train the hardest I can to make it until the last trainings.

 

Do you plan to return to the United States at some point during your college period?

I think this is something I have in my mind. The truth is that I adjusted quite well to the California lifestyle and I like pretty much everything about living in the US.

 

How different is American water polo compared to Spain?

In the US everything is very planned and marked, all teams do a lot tactical work, specially where I’ve played (USC). Referees call kickouts very easily in the center position, so you have to be very focused in the defence. I also think there’s more contact here when playing.

 

In what aspects do you think you stand out more than other local players due to the fact that you have trained in one of the water polo capitals of the world?

I think that technique is the most important skill that I have practiced since I started playing water polo, both in my club teams in Barcelona and also in the high performance center CAR Sant Cugat. I think that’s not something in the US people focus on that much.

 

Undoubtedly, Spain is one of the top countries in women’s water polo. Still, the United States team seems unbeatable. Why do you think that happens?

I think they are physically ahead of the rest of the teams. I also think that they have very good technique, but I believe the physical aspect is what makes the difference.

 

What would you highlight the most about how to train and play in California?

As I said, teams prepare a lot every game. When I arrived, they gave me a folder to write down the plays and the planning of each game. During the week you already know what plays we will do in each quarter and how we will defend in the weekend game.

Jordi Gascón

After 2 years at the BIWPA Academy, Jordi Gascón (16 years, Club Natació Catalunya) is now studying and training at the high performance center CAR de Sant Cugat. The young player, already for the senior team of CN Catalunya, talks about his experience at the Academy and how it helped him to achieve his goals, such as being called-up for the most important talent factory of water polo in Spain.

What were your goals when you chose BIWPA, both academic and sports wise?

When I started at the Academy my main goal was to qualify for the Catalan Championships, where we finished in second place. It was a complete success! And the truth is that we did not expect it at all. On the other hand, academically at that time I did not have very specific goals since at that time I didn’t really know what I wanted to study.

What memories do you have from the first classes and practices (staff, colleagues, professors…)

I remember that after finishing the first training session I was exhausted. The pace of work is very intense. There is a great water polo atmosphere, the coaches are very experienced and they pointed out our main defects and helped us to improve them. At school, in the beginning I remember that we were all very happy but a little nervous at the same time, as the colleagues, the facility and teachers were new to us.

What were the toughest moments of the season? How did you get over them and what moments / details do you remember of your time at the Academy?

For me the most difficult moments were those training sessions where we only swam, since personally I find this type of training more difficult, although in the end, as they were repeated every week, I got used to it. Also, when we had games on the weekend, thanks to those practices, I felt stronger and with more resistance. One of the good things about BIWPA is that it allows you to meet water polo stars and sometimes they come to the pool with us to do a masterclass. We learned a lot from them in a very short time.

How has working with BIWPA influenced the performances with your club?

It has helped me in several aspects. On the one hand, I learned how to do a good warm-up before a game, like the band workout to prevent injuries and, above all, I have been able to improve my technique a lot and I endure much more the pace of a game.

What are your final thoughts on your experience at the Academy?

I think the experience has been very positive and helpful, because at BIWPA I have become a better player. The short-term objectives have been met, so I’m very satisfied!

 Inés Gómez

Thacher Scannell
Keeping up with our athletes – is a new segment we have started in order to see how our athletes go on to succeed after they have experienced their time with BIWPA. We have had the privilege to stay in touch with most of our athletes and we want others to see how they reflect back on their experience as well as apply it to their current careers. Athletes discuss how BIWPA has helped shape them into the athletes they are today and as individuals both inside and out of the water. Here is Thacher Scannell’s story!

 

Hey Thacher, how’s it going?

Pretty good and you?

 

I’m good thanks! Thank you for taking the time again to have a chat with us regarding your BIWPA experience and how you are doing. I’ll first start off by asking you basic questions just so the readers know a little bit more about you. Is that fine?

Yes, that’s fine.

 

First things first, tell me where you live and what team you currently play for?

I currently live in Stanford, Connecticut which is in the northern-eastern part of the United States. The club I currently play for is Greenwich Aquatics which is just on the next town over. My high school team is called the, “Brunswick Bruins”, which is a private school that I go to. I am currently finishing my senior year at Brunswick.

 

Thacher Scannell Team

Brunswick Bruins team

 

Taking it a step back, when did you start to play water polo? Give us a little bit of your background with water polo.

I started playing water polo around the age of 9 or 10 and I got involved with it because of my previous club that had a swim team. I had been swimming for a while when I decided to try water polo for the first time and I really enjoyed it and I went from that.

 

What position do you play?

I pretty much play anywhere around the perimeter, but I don’t play the centre forward position or the goalie of course. I am also a right-handed player. I’m a lefty in terms of writing things down, but with sports and water polo, I use my right hand. Being able to use both hands for different things, I have been able to develop my lefty game too, so I am a little bit of both to be honest.

 

What are you taking in high school or is there anything in particular that you know you want to do in college?

We don’t really have any majors in high school, at least in my private school, I know some schools do, so we take general courses. I am pretty interested in the sciences and working with money and stuff. I may want to be a banker or go into the banking industry one day. I am still unsure.

 

Have you started to apply to some colleges yet?

We are looking various schools that have water polo programs, but also with swimming, so my parents and I are looking at those. However, the deadline isn’t until a couple of weeks so we haven’t applied quite yet.

 

Do you have some specific in mind for water polo?

Although I might be going to college for swimming, for water polo, I have been talking to Pomona College in Claremont, California. It is part of their five-school system there. They also have one of the USA men’s national team coaches there as their head coach, Alex Rodriguez, so that would be a great learning experience for me.

 

Do you also swim at the same time that you play water polo?

Yeah, it depends on the season that I focus on mainly. In the fall, I usually focus on water polo and in the winter time, it is swimming. In the spring time, it is a mix of both, but summer it really depends on what is happening. The polo season only runs in the fall so it ends up working out.

 

For swimming, do you specialize in certain strokes?

Primarily long-distance freestyle and butterfly.

 

That is very cool that you are following water polo or potentially swimming all the way through your college years. You will have a great time Thacher!

Going back now to BIWPA, how did you come about finding it?

It was kind of my mom who found the program in Barcelona. She wanted me to go to Spain to play water polo, apart from learning Spanish, so we just decided to go. It was really easy to find all the necessary info that we needed and you guys were really helpful in making the process simple.

 

When was the first time you found out about this?

First time I went to BIWPA was when I had finished 8th grade. It was the summer of 2014.

 

How many times did you come to BIWPA and what program did you do exactly?

I came to Barcelona twice consecutively. The first time was for a summer camp I did in 2014 right in the summer of me heading into high school and the summer I also did a national training camp back in the US. The second summer was also a camp in 2015 and I got the chance to play with Club Natació Rubi. It was great to get some playing experience with them and I learned a lot.

 

Thacher Scannell

Thacher, during one of the Summer Camps in Barcelona

 

What would you say was the best thing you liked about BIWPA?

Well water polo wise, the most favourite thing I did was being able to hang out with kids from everywhere. It was cool because you didn’t know them at first, so you’d be shooting randomly with these other kids not knowing who they were, but as practices progressed and you started to know them, you would become close friends with them. You guys did a great job in the pool with team chemistry because you could see how each of us would improve and acclimated to each other’s type of play pretty quick. For the non-water polo part, I like that I still talk to people from BIWPA, and this is 3 years ago that I first met them. It was with other players that I went to the beach with, played volleyball with, and had beach soccer matches. It was the whole experience (water polo and non-water polo) parts that really made us make those connections.

 

Did you feel that some skills or other things you learned from BIWPA, you were able to apply it to your game play in the US?

Oh yes definitely! So, a couple of things that I learned was moving around the defender to steal the ball. The way I learned to steal the ball at BIWPA’s camps, the US didn’t have to teach me, they just told me to do it. I felt great knowing that I already knew how to do it from learning it at BIWPA and especially that it was something that the US told me after 3 years I had been in Barcelona. Basically, they were kind of behind the ball vs. BIWPA and a lot of the other skills I learnt from BIWPA I was also able to teach some of the other kids from around here, which they really appreciated as well.

 

Do you remember who your BIWPA coaches were and do you recall something important they said that really stuck with you?

Yes, Enric Carnella was the coach for my first year, and then my Rubi coach was Ferran. Cristina although wasn’t a coach, was very helpful with things we did around there. Yuri was also my coach at that time as well! Something that stuck with me that a coach said wasn’t necessarily a quote or anything, but more rather criticism. At Rubi, there was a coach that thought I was fooling around when I didn’t think I was. He did yell at me and having this experience really made me take the game more seriously. It bothered me in a constructive way because I knew I wasn’t fooling around even though he thought I was and It really made me work harder and pay attention more at a younger age which would help my progress as an athlete later down the road.

 

You recently played in the Junior Olympics in the US, how was that and how was your experience?

It was good, it was my down year, meaning next year I will be older for the 18U category. My Greenwich Aquatics team didn’t do so well but we have gotten bronze and gold in previous years.

 

Thacher Scannell JOs

Thacher Scannell, with his team at the 2017 Junior Olympics

 

What would you say is the main difference between Spanish water polo and American water polo?

I would say physicality. Just comparing it to scrimmaging, in Spain, the physicality is more graceful, whereas in the US, physicality is used with brute force. In Spain, it is more about fines punching people, where we go above the water in America. This also happens a fair amount.

 

Are there any water polo players that you look up to?

In the States, there are two guys that I look up to. The first played in Greenwich Aquatics when I was 10, and since I didn’t have a team, I played with the 12 and under team. His name was Thomas Dunstan whom later went on to play in the Rio Olympics and it was a pretty big deal as it was the first guy to ever do that from our club. The second guy was Charlie Allens. He was always nice to me growing up and taught me a lot of things about water polo and he now plays at Harvard.

 

What does Thacher miss the most about BIWPA?

There are a couple of things I miss. First, the place where we played was really cool. It had a beautiful pool and their installations were amazing. I miss the coaches a lot too because they were really helpful and really nice. Even if you didn’t speak Spanish, they would try their best to speak English. It was also great to learn from a wide range of people that you aren’t used to before, so learning water polo was fun!

 

Would you recommend BIWPA to other people?

I have actually recommended BIWPA to other people and two of my friends actually came. People ask me all the time about my experience with Spain and how it was and I tell them that it was really fun and I tell them to go. It will be a great learning life and water polo experience for everyone.

 

Lastly, do you see yourself coming back to Spain any time soon or after college?

Yeah, I might be coming back by Christmas time to play for Rubi again and then depending on how college search goes, I might be going for a longer period of time. I might also try and do a gap year in between my freshman year and after I graduate from high school and play in Spain.

 

Well Thacher, I wish you all the very best and I hope your search for colleges goes well. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Thank you. It was my pleasure.

no te pierdas nuestros campus de waterpolo

Ferran Plana, graduate of Physical Education from INEF BCN, technician at the Catalan Swimming Federation of 8 years, head of the men’s group at the training center and professor of the Coache’s School of of the Catalan Swimming Federation, is currently the technical director and men’s head coach of the CN Sant Feliu team.

Dr. Yurema Sabio, trainer at theCatalana Swimming Federation of 6 years, head of the Talent Detection program and assistant coach of the Technification Center as well as a teacher at the Coache’s School of of the Catalan Swimming Federation, is currently Assistant Researcher at the Director of the Functional Molecular Biology’s office at the University of California Davis.

Both, with their substantial professional experience, have worked under the supervision of Quim Colet and have trained young people from 14 to 17 years old at CAR of Sant Cugat in technification programs and today express their opinion about the benefits of our Biwpa waterpolo camps.

 

The experts’ opinions

Ferran Plana, Technical Director & Head Coach CN Sant Feliu

“Each complementary activity that the kids practice daily is very positive. The campus is perfect for the global development of the kids. In addition to being able to go more in depth about things that they don’t experience day to day (individual technique depending on the athlete, lack in some areas, very specialized situations…), the social field (many relationships are made, some friends, collaboration with different technicians and professionals such as tutors, coaches …) and the personal autonomy (coordinate the different schedules they have, take care of free time, enjoy work and rest …) take more importance. In short, many of the areas of child integrity are developed through sport (which is the most important educational tool) and the great work done in the campus. I one hundred percent recommended!”

Yurema Sabio, Assistant Researcher at University of California Davis

I think that de Summer Camp is a very good option for athletes who want to mainly improve the technical aspects of our sport in an excellent environment, with experienced coaches, many resources and the latest technology for sports. Besides enjoying water polo, you can meet people and make friends from all over the world, practice and study English, Spanish, and Catalan, and visit one of the best cities in the world.

campus multiculturalidad de waterpolo en barceloba

The water polo campuses at BIWPA are special. Gathering players from all over the world that share the same passion is one of the best experiences you can have in your life.

It is curious, but for all of us at BIWPA, over time we observe how the friendships that have started out in the water of our water polo campuses continue to strengthen with the passage of time. Living together, encouraging one another in training, sharing the same interests, practicing English … through all of this, participants benefit from very positive results from our campuses that then have an immediate impact on their return home. Not only when it comes to sports, but also their social and personal lives. Beyond the human aspects, at BIWPA we emphasize the sports excellence that involves participating in our water polo campuses.

With a technical team with experience this perfect combination offers all the interests that the player in question must dominate and improve to achieve their goals. We use all the human and technological resources that we have and put them at the service of the participants. In this way, they can identify the postural or technical mistakes that they are making and correct them immediately.

To conclude, according to others who know our project and whose sports’ careers speak for themselves, they will not only corroborate what we have already said, but also add to what BIWPA campus can offer and how the participants will have a unique experience with immediate benefits.

The experts’ opinions

Toni Esteller, Technical Director & Head Coach CN Barcelona (Barcelona) 

“The waterpolo campus offers a lot of possibilities for development and waterpolo education for the players. On the one hand, it is a kind of a master class condensed to a few days and it will improve the technical and tactic knowledge of the waterpolo player, and also work on specific game positions with specialist trainers. On the other hand, the campus is the ideal place to combine waterpolo with a variety of parallel activities like academic or leisure activities or other physical activities. Also, you can break your routine with leisure and discover other waterpolo realities.

Obviously is an opportunity to meet new people and extend your circle of friends, and you can even repeat the experience in the future and recommend it to other players.”

André Avallone, Technical Director & Head Coach SESI (Brasil)

“The Summer Camps place a lot of importance on the waterpolo player. You have the opportunity to have the experience of learning from others coaches, being able to play with others players and understanding and valuing all of the work.”

de california a barcelona

Allyson Hansen (23 years old, from San Francisco) and Sean Grab (also 23 years old, from South Pasadena) arrived to Barcelona at the beginning of September and they are currently playing water polo at CN Rubí.

  • How has your experience been so far?

Ally: So far my experience here has been incredible. My team in Rubi has helped me to feel very welcome here and they have treated me like family. The city of Barcelona is so beautiful and so full of culture. I am very happy to be here.

Sean: The experience here so far has been great. Barcelona is a beautiful city, with wonderful places and people. I have been particularly lucky to play with a great group of people in Rubí. They have made me feel at home, and helped make my move to Spain very easy and enjoyable.

  • Why did you choose Barcelona? 

Ally: I chose to come to Barcelona because I wanted to become a better water polo player and because of the many opportunities that there are here to play high level water polo outside of the United States. A coach from back home, Dan Leyson (head coach of the UC Davis Men’s water polo tem), who played for Barceloneta under coach Quim Colet during the 1990s, had such an amazing experience here & he highly recommended that I take advantage of this opportunity as well. Dan & Quim (along with BIWPA) were the people who helped make this opportunity possible for me.

Sean: To be honest, I had been searching for a team to play with for a while. So when my coach from UC Davis, Daniel Leyson and Quim Colet offered me an opportunity to play with Rubí in Division de Honor, I was excited for the opportunity. Having traveled to Barcelona the past summer to train with UC Davis, I knew immediately that the chance to play in Barcelona again, was an experience I couldn’t say no to. I am very excited to be back in Spain, and playing in one of the most competitive leagues in the world.

  • How is training and playing water polo in Barcelona?

Ally: Water polo is very different here than it is back in the US. The game is a lot more physical and there are not as many calls made by the officials. They really let you play it out over here, which I like. I feel like I have had to do a lot of learning and adjusting, but it has given me a different perspective and new appreciation for the sport. I am so impressed with how much raw talent there is here in Spain.

Sean: It is definitely a different experience from training in the United States. However, I am enjoying it very much. The style of play is much different, as well as the officiating. There is much more physicality to the game that they don’t allow in the states. The thing I like most, is the environment at the games. In the United states, you never have 100 or more people at a game. Here it is normal to have that many people or more, and that brings an energy to the game and the team that is incredible.

It is all still very surreal. Having the opportunity to play in such a beautiful place with such a great group of guys. It is something I am very thankful for, and especially to Daniel Leyson (UCDMWP), and Quim Colet and his BIWPA colleagues for finding me this opportunity.

  • How do you think this experience can help you?

Ally: I think this experience will not only help me to become a better water polo player but also a better person. Since being here not only have I gotten to continue playing water polo but I have also started learning Spanish, exploring Barcelona, creating memories that will last me a lifetime, and gaining new knowledge and skills about water polo that I can bring with me back to the United States.

Sean: I obviously think as a player I will grow, especially being able to play at such a high level of competition, but it will also help me as a person. Having the experience of being with different people in a different place is always something I’ve embraced, and it has always been a positive experience for me. It will provide me more opportunities, and build more friendships that I will appreciate for the rest of my life.

  • Why would you recommend it?

Ally: I would recommend this experience to other water polo players in the Unite States who are looking to improve their game and who want to continue playing at a high level, as well as to those who want to experience a new place & a new culture.

Sean: I would recommend playing in Barcelona for many reasons. The first of which is, you get to live in Barcelona! I also think there is a cultural experience here that you cannot have anywhere else. The people are incredibly friendly, welcoming, and will always show you a good time. Finally, the water polo itself is such a fun and challenging experience, that anyone looking to play overseas should definitely consider the option of playing in Barcelona.

 

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.

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

Max vernet

During this 2015-2016 season, I have experienced some changes that have helped me to develop in many different aspects. For example, in the beginning of May, I came back from Malta after playing in the U19 European Water Polo Championship Qualifying Tournament with the German U19 Junior National Team.

It all started when I contacted the staff of the Deutscher Schwimm-Verband (DSV), the German Swimming Federation. In addition to having my Spanish citizenship, I also have my German citizenship. The only thing left then, was for the coaches to see me play and decide if I could contribute new things to the team. In a month’s time, I was lined up for a training camp and finally I became part of the German team. To face the Qualifiers, we went to a preparation tournament in Novaky, Slovakia. We won the tournament defeating all the other nations. We had played our first official games together and we had good team chemistry. The following week we flew to Malta, where we also won all the matches, qualifying as 1st in our group for the European Championships to be held in Alphen (the Netherlands) from September 11th to 18th. We will have to work hard this summer to keep improving and strengthening as a team, so we can fight among Europe’s top nations.

I have had a great experience during this time. International water polo is quite different to the national water polo that I am used to, and this made me develop a lot as a player. I had to adapt to a new team, new teammates, new coaches and a different way of playing and understanding this sport. I learned how to deal with sudden changes, and how to overcome them in the best and fastest way as possible. I think that these experiences are enriching not only on a sports level, but also on a personal level.

A beautiful ending for a great season

As a Water Polo player in Spain, after finishing last season with Club Natació Rubí, I started this 2015-2016 season with Club Natació Molins de Rei. Last year with Club Natació Rubí was extremely successful; with the U18 team we won the bronze medal in the Catalan Championships, and we qualified for the Spanish Championships, eliminating one of the teams favored to win the title. With the Senior B team, we reached the Fase de Ascenso to 2nd National League (a tournament to determine which team would move up to the next division), losing the final by only one goal. That year, I didn’t play any matches with the Senior A team but I was part of the roster. We won the 1st National League (the 2nd highest division in Spain), which allowed us to be raised directly to División de Honor (the highest division nationally) for the first time in the history of the club.

This season playing in the 1st National League with Club Natació Molins de Rei has also been amazing. We started the year without a specific aim, we just wanted to train hard every day, and give our best in the games. We were a strong team, composed mostly of young players and of three or four veteran players who provided leadership and maturity when it was needed. Throughout the course of the league, we became aware of our own capabilities and realized that we could compete among the top teams in the league. However, it wasn’t until the last games when we realized that we were that close from winning the championship. Finally, we could celebrate the first ascent to División de Honor in the history of Club Natació Molins de Rei. In two consecutive years I had been part of the champion team of the 1st National League, in addition to being part of two clubs who were raised to the División de Honor for the first time in their histories!

On Molins de Rei this year, the club and the coaches believed in me and have given me a unique opportunity by letting me play lots of minutes at a high level league to keep developing as a goalkeeper. I started the season in a very irregular way, I still didn’t fit in with the rest of the team. I was a newcomer to the club, and my performance was not as high as it could have been. I once heard that “the good ones complain, but the best ones adapt”. With this phrase in mind, I continued working for the rest of the season. Facing the situation positively and with the help of my teammates and coaches, I ended finding my niche in the team.

These have been two great and very special seasons to me, each one in its own way. These last two years have helped me a lot to improve in both physical and mental aspects. Next season I would like to play in División de Honor. This year I have felt very comfortable in Club Natació Molins de Rei, and I think this is one of the best options to continue working towards the next season. But now it’s time to enjoy what we have achieved and focus on preparing for the U19 European Junior Championship.

Max Vernet Schweimer

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