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Chay Lapin, born on 1987,  is an American water polo goalkeeper that set the University of California all-time saves record and played with the United States National Team at the Summer Olympics in London 2012, his best accomplishment until today. We’ve had the chance to talk with him to know a little more about his story.

Why do you started playing water polo? 

I started playing water polo in seventh grade. Originally I was not a goalkeeper, I was a fast little dude. There was one tournament our goalie got sick when I was in the eighth grade and each of us played one quarter, I ended up playing very good. From that point on I transitioned into a goalkeeper and was fortunate enough to have a fabulous goalkeeper coach who helped me become the player I am today.

Why do you love water polo?

I love water polo because everyone is like a family. It’s a small world in this sport, and everybody knows each other. I played with and against the same players for over 10 years. My best friends came from the water polo and the people I can depend on came from water polo. I would not be the person that I am today without the sport.

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It was easy to combine your trainings with the schoolwork?

I believe that water polo kept us disciplined in school because we learned at a young age hard work and structure. Although it was demanding at certain times, I was able to handle a high work and training load.

Did you have to  leave anything to keep playing? 

I definitely missed out on a lot of fun activities with friends because of water polo related trips. At the time it sucks here and there to miss weddings, birthday parties etc. but the things that I have been able to accomplish I would never trade for.

Did you always wanted to be a professional water polo player?

At a very young age I started playing with the national development team, from 13 years old I started in the pipeline and had a goal to be in the Olympics.

When did you realize you had reached your goals?

I reached my goal in 2012 by making that Olympic team. My original goal was to make the 2008 team but unfortunately, I got cut.

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How was the experience of playing at the Olympic Games?

Playing at the Olympic Games was very tough and mentally draining but I loved every moment of it. It is very surreal to walk around and see other athletes that you have admired within water polo and other professional sports.

Did you ever considered playing abroad after finishing college?

Unfortunately when I finished college,  team USA decided to stay within the United States and train full time so I did not have the opportunity to go abroad and play. I think that playing abroad is a great experience from everyone that I’ve talked to, if I had an opportunity I definitely would’ve taken it.

What do you think are the main differences between water polo in Europe and in the US?

I couldn’t differentiate all the differences in Europe because I have not played there. I’ve I believe the biggest difference is at a younger age players are exposed to a very much higher level of water polo and coaching. Also there are professional leagues in Europe where there are none in the United States. I believe the United States is growing tremendously in the sport of water pull over the last 10 years, but it starts with the youth and having a high level of coaching to implement habits that are hard to obtainat an older age.

What do you think about BIWPA? 

I support and endorse the vision of BIWPA. Not only does this provide the youth an opportunity to see a high level of water polo but also opens our youth to a culture that we cannot experience here in the United States. This also provides coaches the opportunity to learn different aspects of the game and improve their abilities back home where they’re from.

If I had the opportunity as a child or teenager to travel and learn from top coaching and experience European water polo I would 100% of done it.

Frederik Heyde-Petersen, born in Denmark- 1998, was one of the participants of our Water Polo Summer Camp at the CNB this last summer. After his BIWPA experience, he has been selected for the Danish National Team.

Frederik (known as “Fup” by his friends) is a water polo player from Denmark, who plays on the wing. He spend with us one week last summer, when he was able to improve his water polo skills in our Summer Camp. His improvement has helped him to make his way into FREM‘s (his club in Denmark) first men’s team, playing all the matches in the men’s first division. Rui Moirera – of Portugal fame –, his coach in FREM is very happy with Frederik’s development in the past months.

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He has also been selected, as the youngest player, to the U17 Danish National Team. Frederik is playing for Denmark in the North Sea Cup this weekend in Swansea, Wales. Tom Brandt Lauritzen, Denmark’s national coach, is also glad to have Frederik on his team. “Fup is a player who adapts easily and approaches challenges with humility and hard work” he said.

We couldn’t be happier with these last news about Frederik, who will be joining BIWPA again in 2015 to continue his improvement and learn a lot more water polo. Congrats Fup, we’re really proud!

After being in one of our Water Polo Summer Camps, Lauren Dundee, born in 2000, has come to Barcelona to do a Short Water Polo Program with BIWPA. The Scottish player has had a personal water polo training program, with one-to-one trainings in the morning and team trainings in the evening with the Club Natació Catalunya. She also had the opportunity to train with a Dutch team (WOC Zuid), that was having a Team Training Camp with BIWPA the same week.

We had the chance to talk to Lauren last week, to know a little more about her water polo experience with BIWPA and Barcelona. And here’s what she said.

When did you start playing Water Polo?
I started playing waterpolo two years ago, when I lived in France, because It was compulsary for all the swimmers who were there, so I played two times a week. I choosed to continue because I like swimming anyway, the ball skills are quite easy to pick up, and it was good.

What values have you learned from water polo?
Most of all, team work and awareness, being aware whats going on around you and all the values of being on a team.

Why did you choose BIWPA’s Short Program?
Because I ‘m going to the Great Britain trials next year, and I would like to get in to Great Britain’s national squad. Biwpa’s training may help me (and anyone) to get into a national squad, and I would love to get in so I just want to try and become the best player that I can be. Also because I love water polo, and every opportunity that I can get to play it, is great, specially when you train in Barcelona.

Which are the main differences between the trainings in Barcelona and in Scotland?
There is a lot of differences, some of them I can’t say (laughs). Over here they focus, when I was at Biwpa  last summer we had a day for each aspect to the game, so we’ve got more attention to detais whereas in Scotland there is kind of everything together.

In the Short Program you’ve been working with Enric Arnella, but last summer you were able to meet more BIWPA coaches. What do you think about them?
I though they were great, they were really good and they really care about this sport. All of them really want to do well,  so they tried to do everything in their power to make you the best you could be.

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What do you think of the Spanish players? 
I think the Spanish players are amazing really, really good. They have a goal and they work really hard, they keep going until they achieve it.

You had also the opportunity to play with some Dutch players, are they different?
They are good but I think they are a bit more tense in the water than the Spanish players. Anyway, it was a great experience to be able to train with them.

How was your Barcelona experience?
It’s awesome, I love that, It is so much fun! It was great to play with all the different teams, because I really only played with Scottish people before so It was great to find people from Brasil, Barcelona and the United States of America, making friends… It was really great and I really enjoyed it.

Did you learned something?
I learned a lot really, even things you always need to know. This is kind of an obvious one, but before I came I didn’t really focus as much as I did in the game. I need to know exactly where the ball is, and exactly where my players are, I need to also know where my team is around me, and all of the people that I could be potentially passing to. I ‘ve learned also how much the left hand is used, though I wasn’t using that hand all the time.

Does that mean that your water polo level has improved while being at BIWPA?
Yes, definitely, before I came to Biwpa my head position was all wrong, and my passing wasn’t great. I think everything wasn’t finished off, my shooting was a mess… But then I went to BIWPA, and I got my shoot fix by one-on-one. One of the coaches we got said ‘Come along, go passing with four or five girls’. Passing with people that have a better level than me was great, I was just a little behind, but I just got to their level slowly, and that made me try harder and keep on training, so definitely I’ve improved.

I hope that means you’ll come back to BIWPA anytime soon…
Yes, I would definetely repeat. It was great fun being able to play with people better than me, and I’m definitely a better player. I was playing with people that were also teaching me too as well as the coaches. And I’ve just loved training here, it’s been a wonderful experience.

Thank you Lauren!
Thank you!