All posts in Entrevistas

We have talked to Rosie Morris, former captain of the GB Water Polo Team, about her career, the current situation of water polo in the UK and her upcoming collaboration with BIWPA, where she will conduct a master class at the Reading Summer Camp.

First of all, welcome to the BIWPA family. What do you expect from this camp?

I’m expecting a really high level camp with a real mixture of ages, abilities and levels of experience. Hopefully there will be a mix of nationalities participating, as it’s a great opportunity for kids to meet new water polo friends from all over, while making huge improvements in their game. There’s a great mix of coaches too, so it will be brilliant to be a part of the team, whilst learning and passing on my expertise as well.

You will share this experience with Ciara Gibson, with who you represent GB Team at London 2012…

It will be great to coach alongside my GB teammate and good friend Ciara, with the different perspectives and ideas we can each bring. Ciara has played in the Spanish league for many years and is one of the best left handers there is, which showed in Mataro’s recent success in the LEN Trophy, so she brings the knowledge and experience from there. I’ve played in goal for GB for over ten years, including two years as captain, so have collected plenty of international match experience (and so much training too!) in different competitions, so hope that I can bring plenty of goalkeeper-specific knowledge to the camp, and hopefully some different perspectives from the many coaches I have had over the years.

It was the first GB women’s water polo team to compete at the Olympic Games. A great achievement I guess…

Yes, it was a great achievement for our team and for everyone who had given so much to water polo in Great Britain. When we found out that London was set to host the 2012 Games, we knew there was a small chance that we would be able to go, but a lot depended on our results and on being able to prove that we could compete with the other teams. We trained unbelievably hard and were awarded a host place in the Games as a result, which was the best feeling!!

What does it mean to have been part of the Olympic Games?

The Olympic Games is what every athlete dreams of, so to play in an Olympics on home soil was even more special, with my friends and family there to support me. When I first made it on to the senior team aged 17 we used to lose to the top teams by about 20 goals (or more!), so although we didn’t get the victories we hoped for in the Olympics, we got so close to the best teams and gave them all a scare!

What is your favorite moment from your career?

My favorite moment from my career is walking out on to poolside for the first game of the Olympics in London and hearing the enormous roar of the home crowd. The noise was just incredible and I got goose bumps all over from the feeling of sheer exhilaration. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud!

How did you end up playing water polo?

I was a swimmer, and my older sister used to play water polo in the pool next to where I did my swimming training. It looked like fun, so when I stopped swimming as competitively aged about 15, I began water polo and loved it. I started playing outfield, but at GB trials when I was 17 I was asked to train to be a goalkeeper.

What do you think about the current situation of water polo in the UK?

It’s a real shame after the London 2012 Olympics, where we hoped to build a fantastic lasting legacy for water polo and help our sport grow, but instead we are now in the sad situation where water polo is completely unfunded by UK Sport and British Swimming, with no senior GB teams for men or women and nothing for young players to aspire to. I hope the situation will change, but until team sports are regarded in a higher importance, or big changes are made within the sporting organisations, water polo will stay at the amateur level that it has slipped back to.

How important do you think these camps are for the improvement of the kids?

These camps are great opportunity for the kids to really develop as water polo players. Learning in an intense water polo environment with others of similar age and ability will help them to pick up the skills they need and make huge improvements in their game, whilst also making new friends and enjoying the game.

What is your opinion about BIWPA’s project?

The BIWPA’s project is fantastic. The more kids we can encourage to play and develop as water polo players the better, and it’s great that BIWPA is bringing their venture to England this year.

joel esteller

How was the idea of organizing an international tournament?

I have worked with BIWPA since the inception of its Summer Camps in 2014 and 2015, but the ideas and projects never stopped and in September 2016, I proposed my intention to carry out any of the projects that had been raised in our meetings Cristina Marin general manager. Soon the idea of ​​an international water polo tournament that I raised to Cristina became more than just an idea for me.

Youth is not a common category in tournaments …

One of the keys to successfully realize the project was the age of the participants. Youth is not a common category in national and international tournaments. However, it is a very interesting age to promote and develop as it is the last age group before the move to the senior level. It is always a highly motivated group that has no peer tournaments where level can be measured and can test themselves.

So far it’s been a successful call with teams in England, Italy, France and of course Catalunya …

The first reports published regarding the tournament created a lot of interest and team registering for the tournament have come from cities all over Europe. Players, coaches and delegates continue to send requests for information and most are enthusiastic about the project. Barcelona is a city with a strong power of attraction for both sporting and tourism. The BCN International Turbo Cup will be a spectacle.

The dates are suitable for teams can reach a little more ground balls season …

Another positive aspect is the timing, in September after the period of summer vacation, players participating in the tournament BCN Turbo Cup come to the competition just before the start of the league competition, is the ideal way to start the season.

What you will find participants?

The tournament will be held from 9 to 11 September, with five games being played at the municipal swimming pool Montjuic, one of the most symbolic parts of the city. The aim is to create an environment not only for sports but also maximum comfort, so players can share and enjoy their experiences.

What does it mean to you on a personal level take care of this tournament?

Personally directing this project is an ambitious challenge for me, water polo is my passion, and to organize this competition allows me to enjoy the atmosphere involving sixteen teams playing and sharing the experience of an international competition. Great European water polo powers such as Hungary and Italy will be represented among other countries. With all these different communities, the tournament is assured to be a sporting success. We are also mulling various options that will enhance the good atmosphere in the pool. It is a good chance to come for the inaugural tournament and to make the most of the three days in Barcelona.

Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish.

junior olympics

Growing up as a water polo player in the United States, I was privileged to take part in one of the greatest club tournaments – USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics. Junior Olympics is the largest national tournament in the United States bringing teams and young athletes from all over to compete at a high level. These athletes train all summer for an opportunity to play on the main stage.

Junior Olympics offers 10U to 18U boys and girls the opportunity to compete in a 4 day tournament hosted in a location that USA Water Polo has designated. This 4 day tournament is jam packed with water polo games throughout the entire day and hosted in over 20 different facilities; being the best facilities that the host city has to offer.

I have been able to compete in Junior Olympics since I was 14 years old and every year offering a new and unique experience. Playing with SOCAL Water Polo Club, I was able to compete every year against the best club teams in the nation. This experience always brought me very exciting opportunities – traveling to far off destinations, bonding with my teammates, and competing in gold medal matches.

Junior Olympics is far more than just a summer water polo tournament. It is a journey. All summer you and your teammates spend hours training and playing games in preparation for an opportunity to participate in the ¨big leagues¨ of club water polo. Training 3 hours a day and playing in weekend tournaments, just to do it all again the following week. And finally, the moment arrives in late July when you and your team are having a JO´s send-off party to celebrate the end of an enduring summer and the beginning of the 4-day JO excursion with the goal in mind; to take home the gold. It was always worth it.

ciara gibson
We have talked to Ciara Gibson, recent winner of Spanish Queen’s Cup and LEN Trophy with CN Mataro. This summer she will be collaborating with BIWPA on the water polo camp that we are organizing in Reading. In this interview you can learn more about one of the best water polo players in the UK.
An English woman that ends up living in Catalonia. How did it happen?
My parents moved to Spain in the 80s: my father lived in San Sebastián and my mother in Mataró, and they then decided to settle in Mataró for a few years. They wanted to see the Barcelona Olympic Games, and in 92 I was born. So, my brother and I are ‘mataronins’.
 
You´ve been playing for a long time in CN Mataro. What do you remember from your beginnings?
I remember being desperate to improve – get higher out of the water, learn to do a bounce-shot and achieve a good faking technique. I was desperate to get into the pool and play with the ball, and when I had to play a match I used to get very nervous when waiting to play.
Why you could not play with the spanish national team despite you were training with them at the CAR?
It’s a difficult subject to understand, and I still don’t. Since both my parents are British, I was given a British passport. And when I wanted to play for the Spanish junior team, I wasn’t allowed because I lacked Spanish nationality. The process after requesting nationality – in the country where I was born and bread – took over 3 years and as a consequence I missed out on all junior international competitions. They were very frustrating times as I didn’t fully understand why I wasn’t able to play with my teammates and friends who I trained with on a daily basis.
 
How did you feel taking part in the Olympic Games in your homeland? More pressure?
Incredible and intimidating. Playing in the Olympic games is every Water Polo player’s dream and the atmosphere in the Olympic Village was incredible. Also, it’s hard to get used to the idea of playing in front of 5.000 spectators and controlling your nerves. Luckily, when the game starts, all external factors are forgotten.
 
What is your opinion about the current situation of water polo in the UK? Was London 2012 the necessary incentive to grow?
The Olympic Games helped people gain more knowledge about our sport and since the team in London proved Water Polo in the UK could be amongst the top teams, UK Sport decided to increase their funding. Sadly, they decided to  withdraw the funding two years later (including Basketball, Synchronized Swimming and other sports) endangering the post London legacy. It’s a shame given the amount of talent there’s in the country, who can’t compete internationally.
Luckily, there are still many professionals working hard to improve the level of waterpolo and to one day be amongst the top teams again.
 
Back to Mataro. This season has been amazing: first of all Queen’s Cup against CN Sabadell…
We had never beaten Sabadell until now, so we have been pursuing this day since the team was created. And, winning our first national title made it even more significant. It didn’t come easy though, we had to play our best game to achieve it and on that day, every player of our team was outstanding.
…and a few weeks ago, the LEN Trophy against Vouliagmeni…
I could have never imagined we would achieve to win a European title. To play a Final-Four has been my dream ever since I started playing Water Polo in Mataró 12 years ago.To win it with my first team and with the girls I’ve been training with forever, makes it vary valuable. It hasn’t been easy and it’s a reward for all the hard work everyone has put into this team.
 
What means for CN Mataró wining these two titles?
To achieve the first two titles in the history of the club, beating great teams like Sabadell and Vouliagmeni, has given us a massive boost in confidence. We’re very keen and determined to keep on training to improve as a team and so are our upcoming generations of Water Polo players.
The Reading Camp will be your first experience as a BIWPA coach, what do you expect from this camp?

I hope to share my deep passion for the sport with future promises and have an impact on their waterpolo careers.

How important do you think the water polo camps are to improve the technique of the guys / girls?
It’s a unique experience where players can make friends and live and breathe Water Polo, being surrounded by professionals and Water Polo lovers. It’s a great experience where one can have fun and learn on a daily basis.

We´ve talked with Yuri Colet, BIWPA co-founder and Manager of Gymnapolis Waterpolo Soller about his club and our following water polo camps.

This is your second season in Mallorca in front of Gymnapolis Waterpolo Soller. How do you assess an individual?
I’m learning a lot in the field of sports management and event organization. In addition to applying my methodology club in the categories that are slowly paying off. Undoubtedly the growth of water polo on the island has been notorious.

-What have been the keys in your opinion?
I think there are few teams on the island, but at the core of each team there is much technical trust and hard work hard. From my time in Baleares I see the motivation of these boys and girls. Also the support of the federation to the children’s Spanish National Championship Children’s Championship allows us to make a good following of the young and see the evolution.

– What are the next steps for water polo on the island?
We must establish a good competitive and arbitration system. And most of all I think it is important for teams from here, to go out on their own or in other foreign countries to gain experience, ideas of how kids live water polo !!

– Last weekend was the fourth edition of the tournament. All sporting success to be settled every year …
Within our means I think we’re betting on these tournaments each season will be more and we intend to keep improving and organizing more events that promote and assist Balearic water polo.

– With regard to BIWPA, as a founding partner and CTO of it, what has it provided water polo so far?
Mainly it provides opportunities for people looking to improve, have fun, learn and make friends. The methodology BIWPA is always present in all services, training camps, the camps academia, etc.
At the end our goal is to help water polo players be their best!

– The dates for the water polo Camps are approaching. What can the kids expect?
Well they should expect a technical breakfast, technical lunch, and technical dinner!! The truth is that the campus sessions focus on improving individual technique. But there is evidently no time for everything, we’ll play other sports games, see videos and certainly laugh a lot !!

anni espar
 We´ve talked with Anni Espar, professional water polo player and BIWPA ambassador. Good read for all water polo lovers!
What memories do you have of your formative years in the CE Mediterrani?
I started there since I was a baby, combining water polo and swimming. They were my first years and I took the opportunity they have given to me as a player of my first team.
In 2009 you took your first step in CN Sabadell
It was the opportunity to continue growing. Sometimes you have to make these changes. I thought I did not want to be stagnate and this was a way to learn from other players, coaches, club … it’s the same vision I had when I left for the United States.
Certainly crossing the Atlantic was your great personal commitment
It was a difficult decision to leave everything behind and embark on this adventure. I spoke to Anna Pardo and the truth is that I was really excited. Further, the full scholarship that I was offered to study there was also very important when making the decision. It was a year in which I had time for everything.
How do you assess the possibility to combine studies and sport at the highest level?
It is a wonder. I lived five minutes from the training facilities and campus. I would use a bike. 6;00 to 8:00 in the morning training, after class train, and then the same in the afternoon. The facilities you use are immense. You only worry about training and studying.
What do you like most European or American system?
Is different. The truth is that I wish we could have such large sports complexes like in the United States and it was so easy to have it all so close. Still, I must confess that in that sense, BIWPA is doing a great job focusing on the possibility of combining education and sport for athletes who can not access the High Performance Centers in their respective countries.
Is a college education more valuable in America if you are an athlete?
Being honest it does not have the same value. In America if you’ve been an athlete you have more recognition and value companies. In job interviews, the sporting aspect often plays an important role.
Why most Spanish players and players who leave the United States are girls?
The scholarships are divided into male and female. The same money in all sports. As in football a lot of money for the guys goes, in other sports there is more diversity, something that would take advantage of other sports such as basketball or water polo. The university would also be interested in foreign players to give a plus of competitiveness.
To close your stage in the United States … what does it mean to be a NCAA Champion?
For me it was something to feel proud of. At my university it meant to be very much a USC Trojan. This was instilled in me since I understood the rivalry with UCLA, Stanford … create a special bond with the University. So you can imagine the importance that is given to this title, I had a teammate who was an Olympic champion and for her it was more important to win the NCAA than the Olympic Games. Obviously I do not share that view, but I give it a lot of value. When I won the NCAA I remembered what Anna Pardo said, “You win an NCAA ring and check again”, and I did (laughs).
With the selection you have also had some great moments. What is the best remember?
I think there are two. When we qualified for the final of the 2012 Summer Olympics as were World Champions in Barcelona 2013 before all our people. I must say that losing an Olympic final was very sad but this year, I hope to try to get me a thorn for four years.
Anyway, following recent events (World and European) you have us spoiled with victory … What lies ahead for the Preloympic qualifiers?
It is true that they have not been our best competition, I still think we’ve been there, especially in the European. We have fought to the end. We are calm about our game but it is true that in terms of results, other teams also compete. We will qualify for the Olympic qualifiers and the Olympic Games we will not go on vacation. If we play well we will have possibilities.
Speaking of BIWPA, from the beginning you have been involved in the project …
They are doing a great job for the water polo and at the worldwide level. Training in the CAR of Sant Cugat is priceless. The food is good and the ability to enjoy other athletes, especially for boys and girls aged 14-15 is a very nice experience. The campus offers you the opportunity to improve your technique with good coaches, if they continue doing this work in a few years they will have more impact. The Academy has had several players around the world and seeing it from outside, if I had the opportunity to play in another country to continue studying, it would be a dream come true. A wonderful experience. In addition, BIWPA also manages other foreign teams to come to Barcelona to compete with other competing teams. Surely BIWPA will grow in the coming years.
max-vernet-waterpolo

Hi! I’m Max Vernet Schweimer, a 19 year old Spanish water polo player. By now, I live in Barcelona. I started practicing this sport at the age of 7 and I have always been playing for Spanish clubs.

During summer 2014, my life experienced a big change. The San Diego Shores Water Polo Club was doing a Team Training Camp in Barcelona organized by BIWPA. The academy knew about my interest to travel to the USA to play water polo there and they informed me about the opportunity to contact this club. BIWPA managed for me a training with the Shores and introduced me to the coaches while they were in Barcelona. After staying in touch with the Shores’ staff to organize the whole trip, I finally could make it to San Diego in July 2014.

I was in California for three weeks, training and playing tournaments with the San Diego Shores. One of the competitions I played is called Junior Olympics (JO’s), which is one of the most important water polo events in the USA. There, all the young water polo players from the country gather and play against each other to become 1st of the Nation with their team. You also have the opportunity to talk to coaches from American colleges and universities there. Being part of that was absolutely incredible!

Traveling is a beautiful experience, but if you do it alone and with a concrete purpose, it’s even better. At the beginning it was a bit difficult for me to adapt to the lifestyle. American water polo is pretty much different to Spanish water polo and I needed some time to get used to it. But, in my opinion, seeing other water polo styles enriches you mentally and makes you a better player. I also had the chance to visit new places which I had never seen before and to meet wonderful people who I hope to see again some day. It was just amazing!

I would like to thank all the people who made this journey possible. First of all, thanks to BIWPA and the whole staff of the San Diego Shores Water Polo Club who helped me to arrange everything. A big hug for friends, players, families and coaches for what they did for me when I was there. They made me feel like home in every moment! And finally, I want to thank my parents who always support me in any decision I make and without them anything of this would have been possible.

Max Vernet Schweimer

alberto-waterpolo
From my experience in the US I can say it has been one of the best things that could have happened in my career, because of the different gameplay with the Americans in relation to European or Spanish. It has also been an awesome experience regarding my social and personal life, because I have met many people from elsewhere with different opinions and customs and that always enriches you as a person. BIWPA helped me to organize and arrange accommodations during my time in the US. I was living with a family of a fellow water polo team in which I played and I think I was very lucky to live with that family for their hospitality and kindness to welcome home a person who they did not know and treated me as a member of their family.
There are some differences in water polo in the US compared to water polo practiced in Spain, so I think my stay there helped me to grow at a sporting level thanks to the advice and technical coaching points that advise you on how they prefer you to play and eventually there comes a time when you get used to the gameplay there. During my stay in the US I was able to play at several tournaments and qualifying rounds (in a month and a half I played about 40 games), that helped me to get more experience as an athlete.
Also the time I was there helped me improve my English, especially oral expression, since I only lived with people who speak English I struggled to communicate with others. After a couple of weeks, I could understand my teammates and the coach when they spoke to me quickly and colloquially.
It was the best trip of my life so far, because I was able to visit and enjoy one of the most amazing cities in the world such as San Francisco and cities and neighborhoods around, like Berkeley.
Finally, as to my opinion and experience of JO’s, it is the most important tournament for clubs in the United States, if you were to put a score out of ten, no doubt would be a ten for the organization, because there was many teams to play in the pools in Los Angeles, where the tournament was held, and the coordination of each category by level and age. During the tournament I played approximately eight games, and although we all wanted to win, matches were raced but where they were always fair games. The opposing team was considered a rival, but never an enemy and after the game the team players together chanted the name of the opposing team and when we greeted each other after the game, we always said “well played” regardless of whether we won or lost . In short, I think it’s a very impressive category for a tournament, the number of teams involved, the level of play and sportsmanship of the participants.
blanca-gil

 How did you start in waterpolo?

I came from the world of swimming and I took part in it. My brother also did it but he decided to change sports. I followed him.

What do you remember about your beginnings and when you start playing in the national league?

My beginnings were a good step because I only thought about having fun and nothing else (waterpolo hooked me like a drug). The first year that I started playing I stood out in the ascent phase being the best player and the national team called me. It was a very nice stage I will never forget. At club level my first team was the best I had (very modest) and pure companionship.

Your big jump was going to Italy to play. How was this transfer given?

Well, after four years disputing international tournaments with the national team, I was able to choose to play in several teams. And I did not think twice, because at that time it was the best league in the world and my goals were different.

 What are the differences between Spain and Italy?

Well I don´t like to comment on something that for the moment I do not know , 10 years ago I went to Italy and honestly over the years there are things I could not see or experience firsthand in Spain. I can speak about Italy, a very competitive league and in my case a professional league (because I´ve always lived off waterpolo) very hard and serious training which for me was a job and responsibility. I learned a lot in every aspects, tactical, technical…

 With the national team you have been one of the most influential players…  (Brief overview of your career with the national team)

The Spanish team has given me a lot! I have had the opportunity to learn from all the coaches who have gone through the selection. Thanks to them and thanks to all the colleagues who have accompanied me throughout my career, I have been the player I was and am very grateful for that and I value it.

A notorious episode of your career was your frustrated signing with Pro Recco, what had happened and which were the consequences?

Orizzonte, the team where I was playing in that moment, did not give me the desire to go to play with Pro Recco. Orizzonte behaved very badly with me but I have forgiven. The consequences were that I lost a good and excellent contract, but I decided not to stop my career. In five days I took the bags with my husband and I went to play the Greek league with the Olympiakos team. There I had the opportunity to learn a different way of working, although I was not very happy at first because it was not in my plans.

But without any doubt one of the biggest obstacles that you have encountered in your career was the uterine cancer detected in 2009. How did you live that period?

It was a very bad and hard period, but I surprised myself with my reaction, I had to keep doing what I liked and I had to stay in the top.

Recently, you decided to hang your swimsuit, why?

Circumstances of life and changes, the reasons are clear: to dedicate to my family. I suffered 15 years around the world without my parents and my brothers and I could not enjoy them. Now I want to have more time and give more attention to my son and my husband. Being on the highest level and being a mother is like being a superwoman! Life are stages and now is a new one. Although the decision was hard to take, one day it had to end. And now it has come my time!

Now that you are no longer in active, you want to stay linked to waterpolo. What awaits the children who come to your campus in august in Mallorca?

Mainly my goal is that they have fun and learn everything they can, and to stay with the memory of having been a special time and it was worth it. Transmit all what I have learned, I also want to get involved like one of them with the same enthusiasm as when I started.

What do you think about biwpa and in your opinion how can it help waterpolo?

Everyone should support and recognize that biwpa is doing a competent and a quality work. It is helping greatly to international waterpolo. I wish I had had the opportunity in my time to make a campus of this level.  It gives the opportunity for players to have a more complete training and this indirectly helps all clubs.

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