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