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BIWPAcademy 18/19 pool

Season 19/20 kicked off with 18 athletes, half of them from abroad.

A new season has started at the BIWPAcademy with a group of student-athletes ready to perform to their full potential. The core service of Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA), running from September to June, has started its fifth season with plenty of new features and a new agreement with Club Natació Sant Feliu, a Barcelona-based club team where all international athletes are playing and competing.

The Academy is formed by a group of 9 Spanish athletes playing in different local club teams mixed with a group of 9 athletes from abroad: 7 from the US, one from Mexico, and one from Romania. The coaching staff, led by our Sports Director Quim Colet, is made up of the usual coaches Ferran Pascual and Yuri Colet, and a new addition, Fran Torres.

Three of the athletes, all from the US, are doing the gap year program, aimed at players older than 18 looking for training and competition opportunities abroad. In the next months, other international athletes will join the Academy for a short program or the second semester, which will start in January.

BIWPAcademy 18/19 outside

Official photo of the athletes with the Academy hoodie (PFotoàlbums)

Services

Three new services that were added last season to the program have been extended to this season. The Academy athletes have a physical therapist coming over every Monday, as well as nutrition counseling and a mental coach.

Additionally, the coaches hold Watlicam sessions with small group of athletes once a week to focus on the individual technique and give personalized feedback to every player. 

Ambassadors

The Olympians Anni Espar and Adrià Delgado will be the two BIWPA brand ambassadors for season 19/20. The Spain’s national team player Espar will commit for third year in a row to the brand, while Delgado, one of the most decisive players of the Spanish league, has agreed to represent BIWPA’s values.

Additionally, the Academy will keep the masterclasses as a key part of the sports program. So far, Anni Espar and Felipe Perrone have joined a practice with our athletes.

CN Sant Feliu

This season the BIWPAcademy announced a partnership with CN Sant Feliu. All the international athletes train in the evening and compete in the local league with Sant Feliu, so it is easier for the BIWPA coaches to keep track of the international athletes’ progression.

 

Photo credit: Official photo with the athletes, coaches and part of the Academy staff (PFotoàlbums)

Anni-Adri BIWPA

The two stars will exclusively represent BIWPA and will collaborate in the transmission of the brand’s values through its 4 main services: Academy, camps, team training camps and events.

Adrià Delgado and Anni Espar are the two new brand ambassadors of Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA). Delgado signs with BIWPA at the start of his second season in Spain, while Espar, who has collaborated with BIWPA since it was born, is extending her contract for the third year.

The agreement was made official last Thursday, October 17, at the Blume facilities in Barcelona, ​​where BIWPA conducts training with the athletes of its Academy. It was formalized by Cristina Marín, general manager of BIWPA, and the two professional players.

Speaking about the brand association, Marín said: “It is a great honor that athletes of this level chose to be linked to the values ​​that we represent, which are none other than the dissemination and promotion of water polo and the training of young athletes”.

Adrià and Anni are currently two reference players both in the men’s and women’s water polo community. Apart from involving the players with the Academy, through several masterclasses during the season, the two players will also have presence in the other BIWPA services: campus, tournaments and team training camps.

Two successful figures

Adri-Anni BIWPA

Adrià Delgado, Cristina Marin and Anni Espar pose for the agreement (PFotoàlbums)

Anni Espar’s career achievements are simply astonishing. Espar has won all domestic titles four Champions League with CN Sabadell. Internationally, she has one gold and two world silver medals, an Olympic silver medal and European gold and bronze medals.

Outside of Europe, she became NCAA champion in the US and also won the Australian league. After almost a decade with CN Sabadell, Anni Espar has started a new challenge this season with CN Mataró.

“Adri” Delgado was one of the most valuable players last season on his return to Spain. He finished as top scorer with 73 goals in 29 games and finished league runner-up with CN Barcelona. After he was already called up for the national team, his main objective now is to play the next Olympic Games with Spain in Tokyo, something he already did in Rio 2016 with Brazil.

Delgado said of the deal: “I’m privileged that I’m getting to collaborate with BIWPA, an organization that is giving great visibility to water polo across the world. I really like the work methodology that they have both in the Academy and in the other services they offer”.

Espar was very satisfied to commit one more year to the values that BIWPA represents: “I’m very happy to keep collaborating with a company that helps to the growth of water polo and that allows me to share my passion from Barcelona with players from all over the planet”.

Cover photo: Adrià Delgado and Anni Espar, new BIWPA brand ambassadors, with the general manager Cristina Marín (PFotoàlbums)

Barcelona (Spain) and water polo form a successful pairing. The Spanish city is undoubtedly one of the great spots for water polo worldwide, where the commitment to a minority sport such as water polo is greater, there are more clubs and more facilities to train and compete at the highest level.

Since the Olympic Games of Barcelona ’92, the city has hosted the World Championships in 2003 and 2013, the European Championships in 2018 and the Champions League finals in 2014 and 2015. Six major events in less than three decades.

In the last two years, 31 teams from 14 different countries participated in BIWPA’s training camps, with the United States as the country with more representation. BIWPA offers the best of Barcelona to all teams: clubs of a wide variety of levels for scrimmages, some of the best swimming pools and facilities to train at (Club Natació Barcelona, Olympic Montjuic pool, etc.), masterclasses with the best coaches, Watlicam sessions, restaurant recommendations, city’s must-sees, etc. Our team training camps are tailored to every team’s needs.

Players and coaches that have lived the water polo Barcelona experience shared their thoughts with us. Here’s what they think:

UC Davis in Barcelona

 

Gavin Arroyo, Head Coach LBSU and former player Atlètic-Barceloneta and CN Barcelona

My experience in Barcelona was unequivocal both in terms of water polo and life experiences. Playing with and some of the legends of the sport on a daily basis was challenging and educational. I was able to wander the streets of the Barri Gotic and plaza born on my way to Spanish class at the escola official de idiomas. There I met people from all over the world who introduced me to their culture and customs. Art, food, music, architecture, history, diverse people, Catalan hospitality with the best water polo coaches and players; That is what Barcelona means to me”.

 

Maggie Steffens, USA Women’s National Team captain and CN Sabadell player

“I feel very fortunate to be playing and competing in Barcelona, Spain. There is an energy here around sport that is inspiring to be surrounded by on a daily basis. In terms of water polo, you are playing against and with some of the most intelligent players in the game. I have learned so much from just watching players in practice and trying to imitate the way they might do something or try to prevent it from happening. I have learned a new style of play, a new vision of the game, a new methodology to training; all of which are tools to add to my tool box”.

“I have absolutely loved playing and learning here and I have been able to do it while living in easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Barcelona is absolutely incredible and has a new gift to offer every day. I have immersed myself in the culture; speaking the language, eating the (unbelievable) food, going to family homes for a Sunday Paella, exploring the streets of the city, & adventuring to the many wonders Spain has to offer. This truly is not just a place to visit, but a place to live. And for me personally, a place to learn and develop as I desire to grow as a player”.

 

Daniel Leyson, Head Coach UC Davis

Barcelona offers the best of both worlds when it comes to travel and water polo. All of the best teams in Spain are in the Barcelona area which enables any visiting team to train with a wide variety of high level clubs. And Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world with great tourist attractions, food, and night life!”

 

Quim Colet, Head Coach CN Sabadell

“Barcelona is the city with the most water polo teams in the world (8) and, in addition, there are more than a dozen water polo clubs in its area, all of which of a very high level. Besides, 80% of the players currently at Spain’s national teams train at the High Performance Center (CAR Sant Cugat), located very close to Barcelona. The Catalan competition is clearly the most important in the world in training categories. On the other hand, Barcelona is also one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, for me one of the most wonderful cities in the world. What more can you ask for?”

 

From left to right: Daniel Leyson (UCLA), Quim Colet and Gavin Arroyo (LBSU)

A successful 2018 has come to an end for BIWPA, which has entered 2019 as the year of its fifth anniversary. In 2018, BIWPA organized a total of 3 campuses in 4 weeks (one in Easter and another three in summer), three events and 15 team training camps. Additioanally, 45 athletes were enrolled in the Academy during the last season. In the paragraphs below we go over the figures, teams and nationalities.

Academy (17-18)

A total of 45 athletes took part in the BIWPA Academy in the 2017-18 season, from September 2017 to June 2018. Out of these 45, 23 participated in the annual program, while the rest, 22, took part in the short program, which allows athletes to experience the Academy for a limited time (during a week, a month or even a semester). Although most athletes were local, up to 14 water polo players came from the United States. In total, we had athletes from 11 different nationalities.

Campus

As usual in recent years, this 2018 we held three water polo camps. During Easter time we were in the CAR Sant Cugat, the high performance center where the best athletes in the country train. On this campus we had a very special guest, the international Spanish water polo player Albert Español. 24 players from eight different countries participated in this first week of camp.

A few months later we moved to Club Natació Barcelona (CNB), ​​one of the best sports clubs in the country, for our summer camps. We spent two weeks in the CNB and one in CAR, between June and July. Throughout these three weeks we had 114 participants from 25 different countries. Up to 69 campers took part in the two weeks of the CNB summer camp, representing 14 different nationalities from three continents: Europe, America and Oceania.

The summer camp at CAR welcomed 45 campers in a single week, coming from 14 countries in Europe and America. All the participants had the chance to see the European water polo championships live from Barcelona.

In total, our camps in 2018 received 138 participants from 26 different countries. At the 2019 Easter Camp (April 14-20) we will celebrate our fifth anniversary, with several surprises to be revealed and the registration still open.

Team Training Camps

2018 has also been a great year in terms of the organization of team training camps. Here are the 13 teams that participated in the 14 team camps organized in 2018: Widex GZC Donk (Netherlands) twice, Water Polo Canada, SK Neptun (Sweden), La Morinda (USA), Cuba men’s national team, Portugal men’s national team, Torino (Italy), 680 Drivers (USA), Rose Bowl (USA), Ontario (Canada), Commerce (USA), Falu Vattenpolo (Sweden), Christ Church Grammar School (Australia). This means an approximate number of 250 athletes from 8 different countries.

Events

This past year has been very positive also in the tournament section. BIWPA organized its two reference events, improving the numbers of the past editions in both cases. The second edition of the Beach Water Polo Costa Brava in Palamós (August 31 – September 2) grew from 16 teams to 26 teams from seven countries. The Macros team, a combination of active players and former players of Club Natació Barcelona, ​​was proclaimed champion of the Beach Polo, which brought together a total of 300 athletes. Top division players such as Edu Lorrio, Víctor Flores, Adrià Delgado or Roc Ferrer participated in the event, as well as the stars of the Spain Men’s national team Fran Fernández and Alberto Munarriz.

Only four days after Palamós, we kicked off the third edition of the Barcelona International Turbo Cup, an international tournament held at the Montjuic Olympic Pool. 16 teams in the male 18U category and four in the senior women’s category took part, approximately 250 athletes from five different countries. CN Barcelona Vista in the men’s competition and CN Sant Feliu in the women’s competition were the champions of the Turbo Cup.

HaBaWaBa Spain

As a new event this year, BIWPA organized the first edition of the HaBaWaBa Spain – RFEN, held in Barcelona alongside the 33rd European Championships. The top tournament for youth ages worldwide was a success in its first edition in Spain, with the participation of 44 teams from nine countries and more than 600 water polo players.

 

Photo: Aerial image of Palamós beach (Girona), during the 2nd edition of the Beach Water Polo. 

HaBaWaBa Spain 2018

More than 600 kids and 44 teams from 9 countries met at the Montjuïc Olympic Pool (Barcelona)

After 11 editions in Italy, three in Greece and other four in North America, it was Spain and Barcelona’s turn, with a very special first edition. The first HaBaWaBa Spain arrived in Barcelona running alongside the 33rd European Water Polo Championships.

During four days, the Montjuïc Municipal Pool became the festival’s splendid venue. The Royal Swimming Spanish Federation (RFEN) trusted Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) for the organization of the event, which gathered 44 teams -36 U12 and 8 U10- from 9 different nationalities. Among the 44 teams, 27 where Spanish. Italy, Hungary, Malta, The Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, France and Egypt were the other countries represented.

BIWPA was up to a festival that goes far beyond the competition and the results. As indicated by its acronym (Happy Baby Water Ball), the HaBaWaBa is a unique experience for all participants with water polo, fun and learning.

More than 600 young players had four amazing days of water polo and fun, with animation activities, fair play workshops and exciting matches at the Europeans. The Hungary-Italy (5-12), the Montenegro-Spain (7-7) in the men’s competition, or the Greece-Holland (7-8) and the Spain-Russia (12-11) in women’s were some of the best.

From July 18th to 21st , the stands at the Bernat Picornell pools were full of HaBaWaBa kids. Between 300 and 400 participants dropped by the Europeans venue and proved that passion for water polo is more alive than ever.

In the Village area at the Europeans, before the matches, HaBaWaBa’s mascot Rock & Pop and Barcelona 2018’s mascot Wopit were waiting for the kids to make the wait more pleasant with some music and dancing. Of course, Katy Perry’s Swish Swish was the top hit.

The former centre-forward Iván Pérez and former Spain Women’s national team player Laura López were the two HaBaWaBa Spain ambassadors. The legend Ratko Rudic didn’t miss the event either. But the best surprise for all participants was the visit of Spain Men and Women’s national teams. The current silver and bronze medallists took hundreds of pictures and signed autographs for the HaBaWaBa kids.

Hegemony for CNB

Quim Colet, one of the important figures of the water polo model in Spain, led the organization of the competition, in which Club Natació Barcelona (Spain) claimed first place in both categories, U10 and U12. In the U10 tournament, CN Barcelona beat UE Horta ‘Taurons’ (Spain) at the final (6-5), while CN Poble Nou (Spain) finished in third place.

In the U12 category, teams were divided into three different divisions (Bronze, Silver and Gold) after the first stage, so nine teams won an award. CN Barcelona, Posillipo ‘Coccodrilli’ (Italy) and KSI ‘Blue Sharks’ from Budapest reached the podium in this order.

In the Silver Division, YBL Waterpolo Club (Hungary) finished in first place, followed by CN Rubí and Askartza Claret from Spain. Aquatica Torino (Italy) beat Pallanuoto Salerno (Italy) in the Bronze Division final, while CN Helios (Spain) were third.

HaBaWaBa Spain 2019

The Spanish Swimming Federation has congratulated BIWPA on the organization of the HaBaWaBa Spain and they are already in talks to decide place and dates for next year’s edition.

 

Some pictures from the festival, by Pfotoàlbums (more here):

Summer Academy Cover

Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) gives the chance to water polo players to travel to Barcelona, Spain, and participate in an intensive training water polo program. The Academy based in Barcelona welcomes all water polo athletes from 14 to 18 that wish to improve prior to the Junior Olympics -in the case of American players- or just have an extra training before summer vacation.

BIWPA has officially announced its first Summer Academy Program, an extension of the Academy’s annual program. It will take place during June in Barcelona offering athletes the opportunity to register for one, two, three weeks or even the full month.

BIWPA feels that this program ensures the importance of the Academy program and gives the opportunity for inspiring athletes to take part in this experience. Athletes will be able to experience what it is like to work in an intense high-level program directed by the Academy director, Quim Colet, former coach for the Spain men’s national team in two Olympic games.  

Barcelona, one of the epicenters of water polo

Another added value to the experience is the city where it will be held. Barcelona is one of the cities with more water polo teams in Europe. Besides this, June is one of the best months to be in the city: Sun, beach and lots of fun activities to do. The Summer Academy athletes, apart from training twice a day and living the day-to-day with the current athletes, will also take part in tourism activities.  

This opportunity is not only a chance to train in a whole new environment, but is also an opportunity to immerse one’s self in a new culture and learn a new language.

Summer Academy

Other US athletes at BIWPA

The American athletes that travel to Barcelona in June will have the chance to meet other US athletes: Mark Laurlund, Skyler Knoflick and Adam Van Uden, all from CC United, who will help them adjust to the life at the Academy. Besides these three, a former Academy athlete Gavin West, from Greenwich Aquatics, will come back in June for the full month. West made the top 20 cut for the US cadet team after spending one semester in Barcelona. And there’s still another US athlete, Alison Doherty, who is on her third year in Barcelona.

 

Check out the interviews to some of the athletes on BIWPA’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/biwpa/videos

Here is the Summer Academy PDF: http://www.biwpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/summer_academy.pdf

Team Training Camps

Up to 18 teams (in 16 different training camps) chose BIWPA and Barcelona to carry out customized water polo camps in 2017, also known as ‘team training camps‘. But the number of teams is not the only thing that stands out. More than ten countries had a presence in last year’s team camps.

This eagerness to go abroad and attract teams from all over the world to Barcelona –one of the epicenters of global water polo–, is one of the aspects that BIWPA strives for day by day. And the number of team training camps organized in 2017 perfectly reflects this international focus to which the International Academy is committed.

The United States, with four teams, has been the country with the most significant presence, followed by Holland with two and Belgium, also with two. The rest of the teams have been from a different country each, with the important presence of countries as varied as the Philippines, New Zealand or Canada.

Although this is a program specifically designed for tailor-made training, it goes beyond what is strictly water polo. BIWPA offers well-rounded experience that combines personalized training, scrimmages with local teams, as well as the possibility to enjoy tourism and gastronomy in an unbeatable setting like Barcelona.

Right below, there’s a recap of the team training camps of 2017. BIWPA closed 2017 with a total of 16 team training camps, 18 teams and 11 different countries.

The ‘team training camps’ of 2017, in images

The University of California, Los Angeles, better known as UCLA, has trusted in BIWPA to help the women’s water polo team start off their season in Barcelona.

UCLA took part in a team training camp and the girls, led by Brandon Brooks, had a 10-day stay in the Catalan capital where they combined training sessions, friendly matches and leisure and cultural activities.

“Barcelona was always at the top list of my favorite cities in the world, so I wanted to have a chance to bring my girls here and get to see the city and the community. Also, the Spanish women’s water polo is very high”, assures Brandon.

High level trainings

The training days were composed of double training sessions and friendly matches against teams of Barcelona and its metropolitan area such as CN Mataró, CN Rubí and CE Mediterrani.

To carry out their trainings, the girls enjoyed the magnificent facilities of Montjuïc Olympic pool, with spectacular views that the city of Barcelona has to offer, and Centre Natació Mataró which is recognized for its beachside facilities.

“The facilities are great. Two facilities right on the beach and one up in Montjuïc; you can’t say any pool is really any prettier than this one. We had dinner in some excellent restaurants, the food was great, the people were great…we had an excellent time” assures Brandon.

Olympic background

The team also consisted of two Olympic players like Rachel Fattal and Maddie Musselman, who both win gold medals in the summer Rio 2016 Olympics.

In addition, Brandon Brooks, who took over as coach in 2009, was part of the United States national team who participated in Athens 2004 Olympics and Beijing 2008.

In 2007, the UCLA women’s water polo team gave their University a national title, number 100, a record that stands in the NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association.

VIDEO – Watch UCLA experience in Barcelona

uclacampnou

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

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.

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