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.