- High Performance Center of Sant Cugat CAR
- Municipal pools of Montjuic
The Club Natació Barcelona celebrates 108 years of its history. It has been a pioneering club and, until recent years, one of the bastions of Spanish and international water polo.
It was Bernard Picornell who introduced water polo in the CNB and in Spain at the beginning of XXth century. The first match played was in 1908 and since then this sport has always been being present on the shores of the Mediterranean.
In the middle of the twenties, the CNB opened the swimming pool of the Escullera (Breakwaters), a symbol of the water polo in Spain and place where the main players of the club originated.
Up to a few years ago, the CNB was a club that dominated this sport in Spain with infinity of national titles that moved it up to the highest level. The clearest example of that time of splendor [glory] is the ancient swimming pool of the club that today is closed to the public, but those who could live great moments in this swimming pool will always remember the great episodes that took place there.
The achieved titles and championships [that were won] are collected in the showcase of the CNB, attesting to how big this club has been and where players of big international prestige have served, like Manel Estiarte, who is probably the most famous for being an outstanding player. To beginning of the eighties, it managed to win the continental title beating the team of Spandau 04. Also, in the middle of the nineties they had obtained a LEN Cup, a title that they repeated almost ten years later.
It was perhaps the last big title that they achieved. After this, the economic problems appeared continuously, thus the club is losing competitiveness but keeps hope and enthusiasm as a flag.
So, this year they celebrate 108 years, and from BIWPA we want to wish the club many years more of long life since it is a club that has always met fondly our entity. There our campus participants have always had a place to keep on growing like sportsmen and persons and its categories teams have always proved to be ready – as those of other clubs – to collaborate with the foreign teams that come to us.
The New York Athletic Club (NYAC) is one of the pioneers in the United States when Water polo was just starting to grow on the other side of the Atlantic. When the majority of people start reading this article they have no idea of the true origin of the sport. Some historians place it in Scotland towards the middle or the end of the nineteenth century.
Water Polo was very popular around the world la belle epoque “Happy” years in the 1920’s. There were no common rules until all the federations were globally aligned. We could say that Water Polo in the United States was distinguished by it being stronger and more aggressive. The New York Athletic Club emerged as a club with different disciplines such as track and field, fencing and other Olympic type sports, one of them being Water Polo. In 1915 NYAC modeled its’ game after the English, making it less brutish and more tactical, emphasizing swimming more.
The system that was being used for the Olympic Games then is very different from what is currently being used. Back then the best club team would represent their country instead of making teams from their best players. In America, NYAC was unstoppable. One of the most memorable moments was when they claimed gold in front of a large American crowd in St Louis, 1906. Based on American sources, we have to mention that there were only American teams participating. But you cannot deny that NYAC represented their countrymen with star players like no other country.
After the depression of 1933, Water Polo started disappearing from the American fans. It continued to be that way until the 1950’s but in 1958 it returned very strong like never before with NYAC.
In 1960, the American Olympic committee changed the roll for NYAC, from that point on, an appointed person (coach) was the person who will select the players to form the national team to represent the country.
Merrill Moses, Josh Samuels, John Mann, Tony Azevedo, Jesse Smith and Alex Bowen and many more excellent players have been part of the national team and also part of NYAC.
When you talk about American Water Polo, you talk about NYAC today. After one hundred years of starting their program, it is more lively than ever winning many national championships and displaying a huge showcase of medals and trophies.
Xavi, I have to tell you. You’re a classic in water polo. How did you start this love affair with water polo?
Thanks for the classic comment! Well, maybe, yes … I’ve been a player, coach, technical director and president of a club. I’ve played in all divisions of state water polo and I have also trained in all the divisions; great male and female and players. Thirty-odd years of romance with water polo.
My start was somewhat atypical. After practicing some sports, including swimming, one day at the Sabadell Swim Club I ran across veterans from a water polo team working out. They lacked goalkeeper and so I jumped in, certainly fortunately, lol … and from there I went on to train with the kids my age and in a short time started playing in the junior category and the Absolute team. It was about 1983 or ’84, and water polo snagged me for life.
Like everyone, you would have started in the water. What are your memories of that period of your life?
Well, I started swimming when I was 8 or 9 years old at the Badia facilities; newly built, but after a couple of years I fractured my arm (humerus bone), and I took a year off. After a while, I opted for football and tennis, but I had already acquired a basis to play water polo. My memories are of the mythical and now defunct “Muni” of Sabadell with his balloon. Training with Jordi Molet, Llorenç Carbo and with many players who currently are still some of my best friends, such as Pere Carrasco, Marc Alcón, Antoni Nouvilas or Joan Manel Xiberta.
When did you decide to pass from the water to the bench?
The first team I coached was the absolute feminine team the Sant Feliu Swimming Club, back in ’90. When I left the Sabadell team, I ended up in A-2 (now First) in Sant Feliu. There they proposed that I combined being the goalkeeper of the team with coaching the Women’s team and I accepted the challenge. They were two seasons in which I learned a lot and I liked being a coach. And I have never looked back. But you always feel like a player. Last season I played 1st division Catalan meetings with the absolute A from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).. against the kids who I now train!
What teams have you trained and what anecdotes could you tell us that you remember fondly?
I will recount in chronological order: Sant Feliu Swimming Club – Absolute Feminine, UAB Waterpolo – Absolute Masculine and Absolute Feminine, Sabadell Swimming Club – Absolute Masculine and Absolute Feminine and now, Poble Nou Swimming Club – Absolute Masculine and Masculine Cadet. Also, during my eight years in Sabadell I was also assistant coach with the junior teams, both masculine and feminine.
My best moments in water polo so far undoubtedly have been in the UAB Waterpolo Club. We created a club of friends with whom we came to play the First Division, playing there many seasons. I lived very intensely: as player, coach, president, managing the economy with the vice president Ermengol Llorenç … The anecdotes are endless, both in and out of the water: incredible results in relation to our structure, organized trips thinking about the after-match … and a philosophy of waterpolo that is unparalleled throughout state water polo. I should write a book!
But there is something I must tell you, that’s romantic, which is when I was coach of Sant Feliu Swim Club Feminine Team, I met a player, Olga, who I married, and she’s still is my wife. We have two children who also have become addicted to the pools. The best of water polo, haha!
Surely your great leap so far has been the Sabadell Swim Club, where you directed the absolute women’s draw …
Yes, I passed from a sensational club of friends, to accepting a professional challenge in the Club of my entire life. It was 4 years of sporting success winning 3 leagues, 2 Queen cups, reaching an F4 in the LEN Cup. We created, alongside Mateo Celma, Pere Carrasco and Toni Sánchez, all the feminine structure base of the club, and that allowed us to practically renew the entire great team we had for a very young team, which has been the basis of both Sabadell Swim Club (CNS) and the Spanish selection. They were bad times for resources and recognition of women’s water polo, but I always remember the selfless spirit and ability of work and sacrifice of that group of excellent players. Hence I took another leap at that big moment, to the Sabadell Absolute Masculine team. It was 2007.
Later you assumed the technical direction of the CNS but it did not quite jell. Why?
I collated the Technical Directorate of CNS with the post of coach of the Absolute Masculine Team for 4 years. I accepted it because it was a great dream for me. Imagine, your Club presents you the dream project. For the first time I became a full time professional. We built a project together with Pere Carrasco, who shared coaching and Technical Department duties with me, Marc Alcon as a manager responsible for the section, key managers such as Claudi Martí and a team of highly qualified coaches, basically from the Club.
The project for the masculine team was simple, but required time and patience: To provide continuity to our base-grown players to fill the absolute team with them, and for the wheel to continue rolling. In addition we would facilitate and promote their education. We wanted to create a strong Sabadell Swim Club DNA with magnificent existing resources.
Thus, we gave meaning to our water resources, our Santa Clara School and our potential in categories (in 2008 we won all the championships of Spain of ages and we were youth champions in 2008, 09 and 10). In order to achieve that we became more flexible in technical hierarchies, we created tools and resources for our players (like the team B in 1st and 2nd Division, flexitime for studies, grants, etc.), we gave them a place in our absolute Divisón de Honor (top league in Spain) (DH), we showed them the way and instilled in them the CNS DNA. We did not want to be eternally condemned to sign up players to be up there and be proud of the fruits of labor of education of all our structures (technical, managerial and social).
In the women’s project we set a roadmap to be the best team in Europe. There was a very big “niche” there and we had to take advantage of that.
On a sporting level, the results were excellent: success in all age categories, a very competitive absolute masculine team with great recruitment of young players from the Club, a women’s team that was sweeping Spain and the European champion.
Economically we optimized and rationalized resources. In 2003, 10 persons were taking in 80% of a big budget. In 2011, redistribution had largely benefitted the feminine team, athletes and the technical base.
Everything evolved according to the objectives set, but sometimes in sport decisions are not made based on an analysis of validity of a project and of professionalism and the results of work; and unfortunately all the people who were part of this exciting project had to leave it in the middle of 2011.
This summer you are back to the bench after a period in which you have remained on the sidelines…
Well yes! The disappointment was huge in 2011 and I moved away from it a bit. I needed a “cure” from water polo and serious reflection. I studied a Master of Sports Business Administration at the UB and disconnected. But gradually I turned to engage in water polo, first W. UAB, after that with BIWPA and now coaching at Poble Nou Swim Club.
In June, a good friend and old salt in water polo, Joan Colomer, called and said that Poble Nou intended to continue with the waterpolo in a new work project with the base and with an absolute amateur and that he would be there. He asked if I felt like joining in. I was thrilled, stung by the water polo bug. I had a meeting with Jordi Homs, President, and found it a very good proposal. That left me only to get the ok from my family, but as they already know me, it seemed immediately clear to them.
It has been a summer of rumors about Poble Nou. How have you lived?
Initially I distanced myself from the situation of the club, with the news coming about the possible resignation at DH and the possibility of water polo in general being seriously affected. I thought that situation was a shame for our waterpolo. When I agreed with Jordi I joined, and it was always clear that the part of base teams and all amateur would continue, no matter what happened with the professional team. The club has tried to find resources up to the last minute to follow the DH, but has not been successful.
What project awaits this Club with Xavi Balaguer in charge, and what technical team are you counting on to carry it out?
Well, the control is a matter of teamwork with Joan, and I will bring my expertise and experience to this exciting challenge in a historic club.
The club has undergone many changes of players in all categories. The situation of uncertainty that it has lived through for a time has made many athletes opt to go to other clubs, but we have registered 7 competing teams, covering all categories of waterpolo for this season. This shows that our commitment for the base is firm although we don’t have an excess of kids. The project moves to stabilize the various club teams in terms of number of players and provide reliability and quality to our training. We will become a training club of athletes and people which kids will not only not want to leave, but they will want to come to us.
We have 3 highly skilled technicians in a mixture of experience and youth: Joan Colomer who needs no introduction, with the little ones; Marc Martinez, a young coach looking forward to the experience; and myself with the older ones.
Moving on to BIWPA. You are a key pillar of this project. What is your role?
First, I’d like to say that I am very grateful to the trust Cristina, the authentic engine of BIWPA, and Yuri have placed in me from day one. I think I have a very BIWPA profile and because of my training and experience I am very cross-sectional and I can occupy and I do occupy different functions. In BIWPA I take care of the Technical Department, and that means training tasks and campus direction coach, and some tasks at the Academy. Lately I’m more oriented as manager of foreign teams in the Training Camps and as head of the large collaboration project with the Dutch Federation.
The arrival of foreign teams and the Academy make BIWPA pretty unique in the world.
The BIWPA concept is awesome. It has covered an essential gap in our sport. I have lived through the birth of the project from day one and I’ve always believed in it. In times of crisis and abuse at all levels to “second fiddle” waterpolo, an initiative arising like BIWPA is priceless. I think BIWPA complements the great work that the clubs do every day with a series of projects and high quality services such as Camp and Training Camps for teams. But I would highlight the Academy as innovative. From responsibility, professionalism and passion we offer a number of services that undoubtedly benefit our waterpolo with many synergies with federations, clubs and athletes. Other sports have had similar initiatives for years. Over time I think you will see the true importance and dimension BIWPA, here and in the world of international water polo.
One of the recognized services are BIWPA Team Camps that allow us to bring teams from around the world to Barcelona. One that had a recent visit to Barcelona were college students from UC Davis, trained by prestigious Californian coach Daniel Leyson (the US team selection assistant in the 2004 Olympic Games and player in the Atletic Team of the Barceloneta Swimming Club in 1995 – 1998 seasons).
Thanks to our Team Training Camp we have been able to have the community pools of Monjuic for two foreign teams during this week. On one hand, [we have] the young men of CNAC (Portugal), and on the other the female cadet of Melville (Australia). Both teams have trained throughout the week in double sessions, with the invaluable help of a Catalan team to intensify the practices, in this case the CN Rubí.
A developing sport
This is how Filipe Oliveira (Coímbra coach) and his players Henrique Silva and Tiago Dinis (International U17) define the water polo in Portugal. “The situation isn’t good. There isn’t very much culture, the country only thinks about soccer and doesn’t offer support to the other sports. There is little outreach so it is costly to try to gain momentum to get on the level of other countries like Spain for example”, assured Oliveira. In the opinion of the three, the Portuguese players need to improve their fitness and strength, in addition to learn[ing] the best tactical basis to reach the elite. Without going any further a player who reaches the level of the Spanish, French or Italians is seen as a rare breed.
If we stop the focus in practice, Tiago Dinis tells us that the main differences are the “in Spain they train with much more intensity, in addition to employing more hours of training, especially outside of the pool. They focus on developing the tactical/technical part and the strength of the players. The workouts here are more specific, while Portugal we touch base on swimming and passing.” Additionally, the Portuguese coaches generally have difficulty finding solutions to the problems of their equipment due to a lack of proper training.
Henrique Silva believes that the fact of playing in CN Rubí is very positive for the Coímbra as it helps them improve their competitiveness: “in Portugal we are one of the best teams, but if we played in Barcelona’s league we would be competing for last place. The teams in Barcelona are more physical, taller and have better ball control than us.” Something that his teammate agrees with, adding that they are also “more intelligent, their movements are automatic because they train more, [they are] very organized and [there is a] great understanding between them. They don’t need to be quicker than us because they’re smarter”, said Dinis.
Finally, the assessment of the role of BIWPA in this camp is extremely positive in all aspects. For the coach, Filipe Oliveira, he noted that it enables “see[ing] another way of life, meet[ing] people at different levels and experience, to try to be the best in the world. Our goal should be to reach the level of Spain”.
Improve from the same idea
Quite different is the case of Melville, a team from a small Australian town. We talked to three members of the female cadet: the coach Chloe Nella and players Brooke Pensini and Sarah Leavy. For the coach the water polo in is going through a good time, practicing a style that is “more physical, stronger, and quicker. Overall we train during the same hours as in Barcelona, even though in Australia there is only on pool for male and female teams, so is it difficult to do as much as we would like”, confesses Nella.
Their team chose as part of their program video sessions for morning workouts where the players can see from under water cameras their mistakes that they later correct in the pool with BIWPA coach Xavi Belaguer. For Sarah Leavy it’s an essential help to improve “different perspectives, such as the placement and use of the legs”.
In regards to the general practices, they don’t differ much from what they do in Australia, because as Brooke Pensini tells us they have “similar exercises and objectives. In Barcelona it is true that they are harder, you need to act and think quickly in order to take advantage of situations.” Thanks in part to the help of CN Rubí who has been a worthy support for the Australian cadets. The three members of Melville agree in pointing out that this is a physical and very competitive team that is also very organized.
In closing, there are always words of gratitude for the BIWPA experience, according to Chloe Nella “it has made us faster, stronger and more physical. The girls have learned to grab the opponents, hold the defenders and take advantage of it. Additionally, the defense has learned to stop the drive of their mark”
By Christian Fernández
Today I want to present a tool that you can be very useful both to prevent overloading and to recover from workouts: Grid Roller of Triggerpoint brand. This “loop” was created by Cassidy Phillips, specializing in biomechanics and diagnosed with Fibromyalgia athlete who began researching on how to modify your workout to lose the pains suffered through muscle and facial work. So he invented inter alia Grid.
This loop is wrapped in a high density foam with reliefs that make it more or less hard rigid cylinder. Try to simulate the application of massage by hands, arm, fingers; getting the massage effect reaches perform dilation i elfecto relaxation of the musculature. It can also be used for exercise but not today speak of that use.
How is to be used:
It’s pretty simple. We have to stop the roller rolling over in a few minutes i start to notice muscle pain which indicates that deep massage is being performed. Usually between 3-5 minutes per muscle group may be sufficient to feel the relaxation, but also depend on how we are loaded. I recommend using especially after workouts where there has been a good muscular load, once completed training can be used about 15 minutes and you will see how the feeling is very nice once the session.
It is important that detectéis muscle areas accustom to suffer more overhead and incidáis around with the Grid. Using the Grid does not have to be a reason for not visiting your “Physio” trust, but it can help you maintain a better state i evitaréis muscle injury.
There are other brands and models that can be used and serve like not having the same design. Although I’ve tried, so far, this is the one I like
I leave some links where you can see how you can use:
About Christian Fernandez (@christian_osteo)
Physiotherapist and Osteopath established reputation. His career has always been linked to sport and its relationship with the Spanish waterpolo is a good proof. He joined the staff of Spanish women’s water polo Olympic team silver medalist who proclaimed in past Olympic games in London 2012 and took gold in world of BCN. In addition to treating players Spanish water polo team has also helped in his recovery professional players like Juan Chela among others.
Christian Fernández is also the physiotherapist BIWPA, and currently has embarked on a new project: FIOS. It is a company created for the purpose of disseminating training for physiotherapists and osteopaths, quality and a personal touch.
By Xabi Gómez.
This weekend was the XXIX edition of the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) in the beautiful facilities of CN Barcelona. How could it be otherwise, BIWPA has been present in parties and among others in BIWPA, were able to watch the games the Dutch teams that have participated in training of modernization of BIWPA.
The draw for the Copa del Rey left the following matches for quarterfinals: Atlètic-Barceloneta Vs CE Mediterrani with a clear victory by Chus Martin; CN Sabadell Vs Terrassa which ended with the victory of the latter before a seasoned Sabadell always led by Chava Gómez, who testified that despite having more limited than their neighbors, always try to give the best resources.
CN Mataró Vs Poblenou left us several readings, one of which is undoubtedly the good work of Mataró coach, Bob Fernandez I take the premiere of his rivals for the first time ever in a quote from this level. But surely the party of choice for these quarterfinals was the great match we left Barcelona hosted the CN and the Real Canoe. A hotly contested clash that ended in penalties and served for Toni Esteller be classified for the next round to the delight of the home crowd, he had in his young goalkeeper Star game.
The semifinals also left large parties. On the one hand the anticipated final between Terrace and Barceloneta. A disputed crash that ended with the victory of the sailors by a tight 8-6. On the other hand, the other ‘semi’ between CN Mataro and Barcelona was also a nice game to be concluded, not without controversy that if, with a tight 9-7. For both teams, highlight the French Medhi Marzouki and Brazilian Oneto Gomes, author of three goals each.
The end was decanted advance. The Atlètic-Barceloneta was much higher than your opponent and win was 11-5. Thus, the sailor club wins his third consecutive Cup title and enlarges further his legend on the national scene.
Perhaps one of the best readings leaving us this Copa del Rey 2015 is the good reception of the public who has had, and is to do this type of event in Barcelona is synonymous with success. The organizers of the CNB made public at all times were hooked to the show.