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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

Barcelona is one of the most important cities when talking about water polo. It has been the host to the Olympic Games (1992), Worlds (2003 and 2013), European Cups (2014 and 2015 Final Six) and will host the European Championships in 2018. The city also contains very excellent facilities that allow athletes to develop into their full potential. We could highlight all of the terrific aspects of the city, but the list is endless so we will only refer to a few:
  • High Performance Center of Sant Cugat CAR 
This is the birthplace of the Spanish Olympics. Because of there facilities, they have harvested some of the most well known Olympic sport legends. With a lot of sweat and tears these prestigious athletes have reached the highest level in their respected sports.
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  • Blume
If the CAR is the cradle, Joaquin Blume of Barcelona is the residence and genesis of Spanish water polo and all of its successes. The golden generation of great deeds has brought them international success for which they are known today.
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  • Municipal pools of Montjuic
These pools are indescribable. They overlook all of Barcelona and they are the the usual venue for major events that the city hosts. With the beautiful views of Barcelona, great facilities and athletic attraction these pools have been proclaimed world champions of Europe.
But this is does not contain the facilities and in the city and its surroundings where many teams participate in friendly matches and trainings in order to improve the competitiveness of the sport.
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Therefore, for those athletes who have contacted BIWPA, Barcelona offers multiple opportunities. Since 2014, nearly 20 teams from around the world have used Barcelona International Waterpolo Academy to prepare for a major event or simply to progress as a team through competition.
And the opportunity BIWPA offers in this area is unmatched. Barcelona has seen teams from Sweden, United States, Netherlands, Australia, Portugal, France … and many have come back to enjoy this experience once more.
Of course there is a special collaboration with the many different Catalan clubs that reside in this area. This collaboration has allowed teams that have come through BIWPA to play against these remarkable clubs.
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Finally, sports aside, there are countless opportunities offered in one of the most important cities in the world. Overlooking the Mediterranean, as it has always been throughout its history, Barcelona has many things to see: jewels of Modernism and contemporary architecture, markets, treasures of the ancient Roman and medieval town …
Barcelona Gauí

Barcelona Gauí

Where do you come from? And how old are you?

San Diego, California and I am 22 years old.

What did you study?

Business and Communications at UC San Diego

Why did you come to Spain?

I wanted to try a different level of water polo and have a different kind of experience. I thought that Spain was a good option because there is a very good level here and the sport is very popular in Barcelona.

What kind of differences have you seen since you have been in Barcelona?

The water polo in Barcelona is completely different than what I know in the United States. The type of play is unlike that of the US. The players are much smaller here, so they are forced to be more creative. In the US players are bigger and stronger so its a different type game.

In Europe our sports system corresponds with local clubs, but in the US high level sports are more associated with the education. In your opinion, what is best for an athlete?

I don´t know what I prefer yet, but playing at University is easier because everything is centrally located. In Spain it is easy for me because I only have to play water polo, I don´t have to do both.

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Why is female team of the United States so good? They just won the World Championship…

It’s really amazing. They are one of the best teams in the world. In the US we train very hard and compete at a very high level. Just like in Europe, water polo is extremely competitive.

And what about you? What do you expect from being in Spain?

I hope to gain a lot by being here, with water polo and with the culture. Sometimes its difficult because I don’t speak the language yet, but day by day I am getting better.

What do you know about your rivals in the spanish league?

I just know about the teams in the top five.

What do you think about BIWPA?

I think its is amazing! The Academy gives athletes a unique opportunity and in America there is nothing like this. I am always telling Cristina how great I think BIWPA is for water polo athletes.

Do you recommend to american players to come to Spain?

Definitely! I think the Spanish style puts much importance on fundamental skill and I think its a great opportunity for young athletes.

How did you learn about BIWPA?

I was looking for a program that included water polo in order to finish my high school career. I searched water polo in Europe and BIWPA was one of the first results that I had found. I have studied Spanish before, so an option to pursue my water polo career in Spain really helped me make my decision.

What skills do you want to develop in the academy?

I hope to gain experience a lot of experience at the academy. The athletes who study at the university – that is where I want to play – have much more experience than I do. It takes 5 or 6 years of playing water polo in order to gain this type of knowledge. I hope to gain this type of experience with BIWPA. Also, my position is a center, so I would like to improve my defensive play.

Why did you choose Barcelona for your training?

Like I have mentioned earlier, I am familiar with the Spanish language and it seems to be a beautiful city.

 

 

What does it mean to come to Barcelona as a young water polo player?

I am not familiar with the history of water polo that exists in Spain since it is my first time here. When I came, Yuri and Cristina explained to me the long tradition of water polo that exists in Catalonia and the area of Barcelona.

And what are your first impressions?

Coming to play with BIWPA in Barcelona was a big change. It was definitely a challenge in a new city. Also, the demand for the sport was something that I had to adjust to. I was accustomed to training 2 hours for 4 days a week. When I came to Spain I training 5 hours every day.  So yes, it has been a big change for me.

How important is it to meet new people and learn a new language during this process?

Meeting new people was not the most important during this process; rather learning a new language wasthe most important to me. Knowing a different language can help you find work in the future, now I can speak Spanish!

Could you say anything in Spanish now?

(Laughs) Ask me a question.

Do you believe that BIWPA might have helped you choose a university with a scholarship?

(In Spanish) I believe that yes, after 10 months I have the experience to play a higher level than ever before.

Can you imagine that you can spend a long stay in Barcelona water polo training, playing in Spain and also discover one of the best cities in the world? Well, that’s what BIWPA can offer through its intensive program of water polo at the Academy. An unforgettable experience that you will have for the rest of your life and you will always remember with affection and, why not, nostalgia over the years.

More than 20 boys and girls around the world have used this tool to continue progressing in their favorite sport and grow as athletes. From the US to New Zealand via Scotland and Singapore. This is a unique opportunity that will help not only athletically, but also to mature and grow as a person.
Hand in hand with our coach, Ferran Pascual, the player will train in the morning and then go to school. The intensive program includes 25 hours a week of daily training exercises from Monday to Friday, divided into water and improving physical strength in the gym. In the evenings, the player can learn Castilian or English and play at a local club to compete and keep improving.

All it combines with Spanish high school (3rd and 4th ESO, 1st and 2nd of Baccalaureate) in the Joaquin Blume Institute, where the player will also live in the residence located in front of the school and whose facilities have been used by great Spanish sportspeople. The golden generation of Spanish waterpolo led by Manel Estiarte began to forge its legend in these walls.

Foto: Eduard Omedes

Foto: Eduard Omedes

All that said, you will be supervised at all times by technicians and tutors of BIWPA, whose reputation and experience is highly regarded. It is also the same training system of High Performance water polo that the majority of players of female and male selection of the senior team in Spain have followed and has been so successful worldwide.

In addition, thanks to an agreement with AGM Sports, specializing in college scholarships in the United States, the chances of a scholarship may be increased by an extensive exhibition and dissemination of the water polo game. This is because college coaches and scouts are always in contact with our technical staff to find out the evolution of the students who pass through our Academy.

In short, the Intensive BIWPA Program or Academy can offer you an unforgettable experience and a unique opportunity to take a leap of quality in your game. Besides, you will have the possibility of combining studies and sports in one of the best cities in the world and compete in the Spanish clubs.

More information in our website

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¿Cuáles fueron tus inicios a nivel de club?

En un club muy humilde de Brasil. Tenía un entrenador que era un enamorado de este deporte, Paulo Rogelio. Entrenábamos mucho recuerdo. Después mi hermano Kiko con 25 y yo con 15 jugamos el Mundial de Fukuoka con Brasil. Hablé con Iván Pérez le comenté que tenía pasaporte y que quería jugar en España.

¿Y cómo acaba esa historia?

Tuve la suerte que Guillermo Molina acababa de fichar por el Pescara y había una plaza en el CN Barcelona. Toni Esteller –que es de los que arriesga- fichó a mi hermano que fue el primero en llegar y yo posteriormente.

Más tarde decides por marchar a Italia…

Sí. Yo tenía ese sueño de jugar la competición de las grandes estrellas. Surgió la oportunidad de ir a un club que era muy bueno para los jóvenes como era el Savona. En aquel momento tenía 21 años.

¿Cómo es el Pro Recco como club y compartir vestuario con las grandes estrellas?

Muy profesional. La ciudad vive el deporte como locos. Es un pueblo de 10.000 personas pero sí que es verdad que la relación con los jugadores es muy profesional. Están volcados en el resultados. Recuerdo que el primer año perdimos la Copa de Europa y al final de temporada nadie sabía quién iba a seguir el próximo año. El segundo año ya la ganamos y nos quedamos más tranquilos.

Hablemos ahora de tu etapa con la selección española.

El primer éxito con España es el bronce en Mar de la Plata. Y luego nueve años increíbles con la absoluta. Quizás no tuvimos la suerte de obtener un oro pero dado el contexto internacional yo lo veo como un logro. Es una etapa muy importante de mi vida en la que he construido muchas amistades y que las tendré toda la vida.

El elemento social en tu incorporación a Brasil es importante me imagino ¿no?

Así es. He visto algo más que las medallas. La función real del deporte de Alto Rendimiento. Gracias a esto he podido crear un proyecto social en Río de Janeiro de 100 niños que me llenan mucho. A veces se olvida de que el deporte también puede hacer personas mejores. En Brasil esto es una herramienta increíble. Además el waterpolo que es un deporte muy completo con valores como el equipo, el sacrificio…

Tengo que preguntártelo. ¿Cómo es Ratko Rudic de entrenador?

Es una legenda de este deporte. En Brasil decimos que si viene alguien con cuatro oros olímpicos y te dice que te rompas la cabeza contra la pared, lo haces (risas). Fuera bromas, le han propuesto un reto impresionante. Es un entrenador muy exigente pero vamos todos a una con él.

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Felipe Perrone en uno de los campus BIWPA

¿Qué será después de Rio para Felipe Perrone…?

Esa es una buena pregunta. Con sinceridad, no lo sé. Tengo presente que cada día es más difícil vivir de este deporte pero hay que saber prepararse para el día de después. En la selección el grado de Licenciados se ha incrementado muchísimo en los últimos años y esto es un dato muy importante. Yo he acabado mi Grado en ADE y ahora pienso en prepararme como entrenador y quiero hacer un Master pero la olimpiada de 2016 lo hace difícil.

En relación a las últimas noticias que han aparecido de que hay varios clubes que atraviesan momentos delicados en el plano económico… ¿Estamos ante una desprofesionalización del waterpolo en España?

Sinceramente me duele. Es una pena que muchos jugadores no puedan dedicarse a este deporte. Yo he vivido un momento en el que se invertía mucho dinero pero esto ha cambiado. En lugar de quejarme prefiero ver su lado positivo. Es momento de reestructurar el waterpolo español y hacerlo más sostenible. Como modelo profesional hay que buscar nuevas iniciativas que nos permitan dedicarnos a este deporte. Lo que se hace hoy en día es de héroes con la dedicación que hay y lo poco que se gana.

Para cerrar la entrevista me gustaría que hablemos de BIWPA. Desde el principio has estado al 100% con nosotros. ¿Qué le has visto?

Yo creo que sobre todo es la idea y la capacidad que tiene BIWPA de desarrollar el deporte. Su potencial para enganchar a más gente en este deporte y disfrute del waterpolo.

Estamos viendo como empiezan a ver diferentes iniciativas privadas donde antes estaba lo público… ¿Cómo lo ves?

Yo lo veo bien. En base al concepto de responsabilidad social corporativa, es un camino para buscar a las empresas. Por qué no una empresa puede asociar su imagen a un deporte. Sinceramente si supiéramos vender la imagen del waterpolo sería uno de los caminos para emprender .

¿Qué recomiendas a los chicos para que vengan a BIWPA?

Lo veo como una posibilidad para ver el waterpolo de forma más intensa y una manera de conocer otras personas, otras culturas de todo el mundo y relacionarte con personas con el mismo gusto. Al final se juntan grupos humanos increíbles. Es un aprendizaje como persona y deportista.

Foto cabecera: Pilar Silvestre

The importance of English these days is seen everywhere. We live in a world in which English is absolutely necessary to advance in almost every trade and those who have early exposure to the language have more possibilities later in life. For this reason, in BIWPA’s camps, our professionals are using as much English as possible with our participants. Although advancement in water polo is the immediate goal, we can’t forget that sport is also a means to educate and teach life lessons and values in a forgiving environment.

Of the parents that call and write to us at BIWPA, the majority ask us about our English classes. We are ecstatic that they ask about this aspect of our services because we believe this is what sets us apart from other water polo academies, for not only our Spanish participants but our international players as well.

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For these reasons we would like to emphasize that though BIWPA is a water polo organization, we also understand the importance of a well rounded education in and out of the pool. We believe that the services that we provide and the caliber of the personnel that work with us also emit our goals.

Players from Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Croatia, The United States, Peru, Brazil and even India have come to learn more about water polo and make new friends with BIWPA. Evidently water polo is the main common interest, however with boys and girls from so many different parts of the world, it is shared through the essential tool of the English language.

In BIWPA you will be combining training sessions with other activities, because we are aware that not all about summer camps is water polo. Also, we want to offer you the opportunity to take part of the Barcelona’s charm enjoying the city with several options during Manel Estiarte Camp and CAR Camp.

Therefore, in addition to train and learn from the best about this sport, there is also available three extra optional activities separated from BIWPA Camp price.

1. Locals Barceloneta Surf

A surf company along Barceloneta beach and a cheap opportunity to have fun surfing the Mediterranean waves. “A great upper body and arms workout session” like Felipe Perrone said, who is also a surf lover.

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2. Barcelona Bike Tour

Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world and a famous attraction for millions of tourists. Barcelona has many typical places to visit and hides many other secrets too, that you can discover riding around in a healthy way, our bicycle tour.
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3. Port Aventura

It is one of the best theme parks in Spain. Port Aventura has a lot of history, many families have experienced their attractions year after year. It is one of the highlights that we can offer as an extra activity to release adrenaline at the legendary Dragon Khan.
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From 5 to April 11 BIWPA will be in Sóller (Mallorca) providing a water polo campus with the collaboration of the Balearic Swimming Federation and the City Council of Sóller. With the help of both entities, the promising young water polo born between 1998 and 2003 can train two daily sessions based on the model developed by BIWPA modernization.

This is the first time a campus of this magnitude in the Balearic Islands and therefore BIWPA take their highly skilled technicians to attest to the importance of this campus is performed. In addition to the double sessions and afternoon training Tomorrow the kids will enjoy training sessions related to individual technique that allows them to continue growing in water polo. Under unbeatable waterworks of Sóller, will be the perfect setting for this sport.

As usual, everything the sportsman needs will be provided by BIWPA, including the sports equipment. The technicians in charge of the campus are the most qualified and they credited their experience and training in the field.

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Yuri Colet: This young Catalan carries water polo in the blood. Trained as a coach in the ranks of the CN Sant Andreu, where he became the second in command of the senior women’s squad. For a year he led the sports structure of Agrupació Esportiva Santa Eulalia and now has started a project in Majorcan land in Soller Gymnàpolis Water Polo Club as technical director and coach.

Itziar Antón: It was one of the great promises of Madrid waterpolo. He began his career in AR Concepción then turn in Ondarreta, Dos Hermanas, CN Ciutat and the finally she played in  La Latina. She’s been playing a lot of games with the Spanish junior National Team. He has combined his life in the world of sports to academic education, specifically in Psychology So it provides the tools to teach future promises the best of the sport guarantees.

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Christian Fernández: 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 was in the Staff of the Spanish National Team when they won silver at London 2012. In addition to treating players Spanish water polo team has also helped in his recovery professional players like Juan Chela among others.

Joan Colomer: It has turned sports training new talent waterpolo. He has participated in other projects such as High Performance coach at the Center for Modernization of the FCN, internal Blume (1999-2005) as part of the technical team of the Spanish National team; and now we are lucky to have him in the BIWPA. He is also a coach at the lower levels of an historic Catalan waterpolo such as Poble Nou who currently plays in Division de Honor.

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Blanca Gil: Has played with the Spanish team on numerous occasions, being named best player in the world in 2005, 2007 and 2008. He has played in teams Swimming Club Ciutat, CE Mediterrani and Sabadell, besides the ASD Roma, Olympiacos and Catania.

Poli Baños: this majorcan combines his vocation nurse with her activity as a referee in the National Waterpolo League refereeing in the Division of Honor. She’s now also refeering the junior international competitions.

Bret Lathorpe: This American player has been part of the US team in junior categories and the second senior team. It was part of the water polo team at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), and work as an assistant coach for UC Davis, and currently plays in the Agrupació Esportiva Santa Eulalia.

On April 7th, 8th and 9th  BIWPA‘ll be Leioa (Bizkaia) offering a clinic for boys and girls born between 1996 and 2003 with the invaluable assistance of the Basque Swimming Federation. Over three days, waterpolo players interested in attending the campus may have the opportunity to train concentrated in two daily sessions led by coach Xavi Balaguer and Joan Albella. Both have an experienced and accredited profile background in the sport.

The clinic will take place in the pool Askartza in Leioa and, for those who wish may stay at the residence Atalaia Claret in the center.

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It will highlight the main technical gestures at the individual level and also be fitted with a specialist goalkeeping coach. To balance and level groups, the participants will be divided into age clínic to better learning.

In addition to video sessions and lectures, BIWPA provide all the needs of the future promises of waterpolo and full equipping of BIWPA, now classic in our campus.

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Prices have been designed taking into account the sensitive time faced by many families and, therefore, range between 350 and 260 euros depending on whether young people remain or not in residence therefore understand that the Basques players, having your home close, wishing to stay overnight in their homes.

In short, BIWPA comes to Bilbao for future promises of the sport to concentrate and enjoy this sport at its best. Training hard, making new friends and improving or settling the previously learned concepts.

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