All posts tagged entrevista

Thanks to our Team Training Camp we have been able to have the community pools of Monjuic for two foreign teams during this week. On one hand, [we have] the young men of CNAC (Portugal), and on the other the female cadet of Melville (Australia). Both teams have trained throughout the week in double sessions, with the invaluable help of a Catalan team to intensify the practices, in this case the CN Rubí.

A developing sport

This is how Filipe Oliveira (Coímbra coach) and his players Henrique Silva and Tiago Dinis (International U17) define the water polo in Portugal. “The situation isn’t good. There isn’t very much culture, the country only thinks about soccer and doesn’t offer support to the other sports. There is little outreach so it is costly to try to gain momentum to get on the level of other countries like Spain for example”, assured Oliveira. In the opinion of the three, the Portuguese players need to improve their fitness and strength, in addition to learn[ing] the best tactical basis to reach the elite. Without going any further a player who reaches the level of the Spanish, French or Italians is seen as a rare breed.

If we stop the focus in practice, Tiago Dinis tells us that the main differences are the “in Spain they train with much more intensity, in addition to employing more hours of training, especially outside of the pool. They focus on developing the tactical/technical part and the strength of the players. The workouts here are more specific, while Portugal we touch base on swimming and passing.”  Additionally, the Portuguese coaches generally have difficulty finding solutions to the problems of their equipment due to a lack of proper training.

Henrique Silva believes that the fact of playing in CN Rubí is very positive for the Coímbra as it helps them improve their competitiveness: “in Portugal we are one of the best teams, but if we played in Barcelona’s league we would be competing for last place. The teams in Barcelona are more physical, taller and have better ball control than us.” Something that his teammate agrees with, adding that they are also “more intelligent, their movements are automatic because they train more, [they are] very organized and [there is a] great understanding between them. They don’t need to be quicker than us because they’re smarter”, said Dinis.

Finally, the assessment of the role of BIWPA in this camp is extremely positive in all aspects. For the coach, Filipe Oliveira, he noted that it enables “see[ing] another way of life, meet[ing] people at different levels and experience, to try to be the best in the world. Our goal should be to reach the level of Spain”.


Improve from the same idea

Quite different is the case of Melville, a team from a small Australian town. We talked to three members of the female cadet: the coach Chloe Nella and players Brooke Pensini and Sarah Leavy. For the coach the water polo in is going through a good time, practicing a style that is “more physical, stronger, and quicker. Overall we train during the same hours as in Barcelona, even though in Australia there is only on pool for male and female teams, so is it difficult to do as much as we would like”, confesses Nella.

Their team chose as part of their program video sessions for morning workouts where the players can see from under water cameras their mistakes that they later correct in the pool with BIWPA coach Xavi Belaguer. For Sarah Leavy it’s an essential help to improve “different perspectives, such as the placement and use of the legs”.

In regards to the general practices, they don’t differ much from what they do in Australia, because as Brooke Pensini tells us they have “similar exercises and objectives. In Barcelona it is true that they are harder, you need to act and think quickly in order to take advantage of situations.” Thanks in part to the help of CN Rubí who has been a worthy support for the Australian cadets. The three members of Melville agree in pointing out that this is a physical and very competitive team that is also very organized.

In closing, there are always words of gratitude for the BIWPA experience, according to Chloe Nella “it has made us faster, stronger and more physical. The girls have learned to grab the opponents, hold the defenders and take advantage of it. Additionally, the defense has learned to stop the drive of their mark”


Necessary question. How did you get started in this sport and what are your earliest memories in the water?

I wasn’t a very good swimmer and since I was tall, the club suggested that I try water polo… After my first day of practice I had decided I was going to play water polo… I had a great time.

Your career in Spain was mainly developed in the CE Mediterrani winning the league title in the 2002-2003 season. What do you remember from that time?

 During my time with CE Mediterrani I remember being around the best players. Most were part of the Spanish selection, so each practice was a luxury because of the high level and discipline they had. There I learned to love the essence of water polo, there was no financial aid or national teams or club level… so it was putting in the hours and effort to enjoy the sport.

Simultaneously the first international successes started with the junior selection in Loule and Calgary 

I remember those summers, with coach Mar Sanromà, we worked very hard, many hours training and a lot of discipline. We knew this was the only way for good results. Also it was the first time that we would with a psychologists and biomechanics. And all that effort served a purpose, the first medals came in women’s water polo categories (bronze in El Europeo in Loule and bronze in the world championship in Calgary)

You were part of the team that participated in the 2003 World Championship in Barcelona that is considered the precursor of the current generation that has achieved much success.How is it playing the World Championship at home?

Being 20 years old and one of the smallest/shortest on the team I remember it was brutal, throughout the championship I had goose bumps. I couldn’t believe that so many people looked up to us, followed us and enjoyed our games. I remember it as one of the most important moments in my career.

Thanks to that generation, the plan ADO entered with all that it entails. It seems people forget that there was women’s water polo before [now] What changes have you noticed since then? 

The people who spent years in the world of women’s water polo know that without this generation, the women’s water polo world as we know it now probably wouldn’t exist. There were players who trained every day after a hard day’s work, who asked for vacation time to go to stages or tournaments, who  “mortgaged” there summer so that could be “full with the selection, and all this without financial compensation… it was admirable. Thanks to that team and that first ADO, some players from the selection could be without a job, or could continue their studies. The ADO grants are essential for the players to devote sufficient time to polo for great results, otherwise it would be almost impossible.

Plata en Málaga 2008

Plata en Málaga 2008

In 2004 you went to the United States where you won an NCAA ring in your first season. How is water polo across the Atlantic?

It is hard water polo, many hours of training/practice and a lot of disciple. The workouts had a starting time but no end, hours of meetings, you had to study film of rivals before the game, etc. When your goal is to win in the NCAA [title] there is a lot of pressure. Additionally, in the case of having a “full scholarship”, the continuity depends on your academic and sports results.

 Having studied in America, Has it helped you now going back into the workplace?

 It helps to have a career in the US and have a high level of English. The latter is critical today in any career.

Later you return to Spain where in the 2009-2010 season you reclaimed the league championship with Mediterrani some of which have then been a very important part of the current national team…

 It is the league that I remember most fondly. It was a tough year in many ways, but we know how to cope very well: we were very disciplined (we withstood whichever training they threw at us), talented players… but it was the attitude in the water and good relationship between us which made us win this league and made it memorable. I can assure you that any player that formed part of this team remembers that season specially.

 And then you decided to go on a trip to the birthplace of world water polo, Hungary. There you won second place twice in the league. What are your memories of that experience?

 I was coming from the U.S., where everything is based on discipline and hard work, so I was shocked to see a totally different type of water polo… One based off talent. Seeing 12-15 year old kids with a ball control that players in Spain only achieved in the last years of their careers leaves you speechless. And this is because in Hungary they start at a young age working on individual technique and ball control.

Probably, what has stayed with me of those years is having been on a team with some of the best players of Hungarian history.

 Not to mention the silver you won with the selection in the 2008 European Championship in Malaga….

 Unforgettable…  how the fans encouraged us in that championship! Waiting for us outside the pool to sing to us, encourage us… we really enjoyed it. I remember the semifinal game that we won against Hungary, it was very exciting. And even then we lost the final, we were ecstatic to get the first medal of the women’s water polo in a major competition.

 What have been your best and worst memories in this sport?

 I can’t decide on just one good memory, probably I could summarize it in three:

 -The games won and lost that marking a turning point in my career and my development as a player

-The times in practice and traveling with my teammates, that makes you remember everything lived with a special affection.

-And all the moments and games shared, both the selection and the club, with my sister (Cristina Pardo). I wouldn’t have enjoyed everything in the way that I did without having her by my side.

The worst memory probably is the day that I decided to stop playing water polo, I still miss it. But there always comes that time when one must make that decision and not look back, because in reality, there are many wonderful things waiting for us outside of the pool.

 What advice would you give to younger [players] given your experience? 

Two things:

– To get anything (go to the selection, win a league or to play more minutes in club) you must work hard… there will be disappointments and failure, and these will be what help us achieve our goals, otherwise we would never get there

Water polo is a part of life that we must take advantage of and live intensely, but it is not the only thing.  Never stop studying and have other dreams and goals outside of the water.

Lets talk about BIWPA. What do you think and what can they offer to current water polo? 

BIPWA is a great project, and I think the key lies in the variety of programs, being able to combine them with studies and cultural diversity. I think that to play at another level it’s essential to enrich learning different ways of understanding water polo, and this program can offer this experience to developing players.

 ¿Cómo empezaste en este deporte?

Todo empezó en el colegio, donde aprendí a nadar. Gracias a José Lorenzo que fue el que me metió en el waterpolo, a partir de ahí fui al CE Mediterrani en infantil y desde entonces estoy enganchado a este deporte.

Digamos que es en Mediterrani donde debutas pronto como portero del absoluto pero, es en Sant Andreu donde comienzas a madurar entre los tres palos.

Así es. Estuve tres años en el ‘Medi’ y luego ya pasé al Sant Andreu. Ahí es verdaderamente donde me formo. Ocho temporadas donde aprendí mucho como portero de División de Honor.

En 2008 fichas por el Atlétic Barceloneta como segundo portero de Víctor García.

Llegaba con 27 o 28, Víctor y yo nos llevábamos muy bien pero era una competición pura. Santi Fernández, técnico en aquel entonces, nos decía que quien estuviese mejor jugaría esa semana. Si jugaba uno u otro, no había enfados más allá de lo deportivo.

Un poco como sucedía con la selección con Iñaki Aguilar…

Si al final es una competición sana. Yo creo que es bueno competir cada entrenamiento porque al final eso te hace mejorar.

En 2009 empiezan el rodillo del Barceloneta en las competiciones nacionales. ¿Cuáles son en tu opinión las claves del éxito?

La gente dice que la inversión económica. Obviamente este es un factor importante porque te permite tener buenos jugadores pero además yo creo que también aquí se ha iniciado un modelo de trabajo muy importante y que está dando sus frutos.


El cenit de tu carrera a nivel de clubes llegó el año pasado con la Final Six…

Es una sensación increíble. Es cierto que teniendo en cuenta el presupuesto de los seis primeros nosotros manejamos unas cantidades inferiores. Ahí se invierte mucho más. El caso del Pro Recco es bastante ejemplar. Este año están barriendo en la liguilla y como sigan así pocos podrán plantarle cara. Pero bueno, volviendo al año pasado creo que fue un éxito impresionante que no lo esperábamos. Teníamos claro, eso si, que queríamos llegar lejos y para eso el club había invertido.

Sin embargo, este año lleváis un par de jornadas con algún que otro bache en Liga…

Si llevamos un mes duro. Las condiciones que tenemos este año son difíciles. Brasileños que tienen que jugar fuera, lesiones… No estamos todos en los entrenamientos. Nos está pasando factura pero yo creo que el equipo llegará a mayo en buenas condiciones porque ya veo que en los entrenamientos estamos volviendo a recuperar buenas sensaciones.

Este verano el nuevo seleccionador Gabi Hernández te dejó fuera de la selección. ¿Cómo valoras la situación pasados unos meses?

Pasan las convocatorias y ves que no estás. Nunca he renunciado ni renunciaré a jugar con la selección. Seguiré trabajando y esperaré la llamada si algún día llega.

¿Cómo ves a la selección actualmente?

Está en pleno cambio. Hay que dar tiempo, porque este año no hay competición y tenemos que darle partidos a los jóvenes porque la mayoría no esta jugando Copa de Europa. No tienen competiciones internacionales y al final sólo están jugando la Liga. Es un salto demasiado grande.

¿Y a Lorrio y Tebar?

Son dos porteros jóvenes que están preparados para jugar pero creo que evidentemente les faltan partidos internacionales como al igual que pasa con los jugadores. En este deporte no hay milagros.


Hablemos de futuro. Háblame de Miki Linares.

Es un porterazo Miki. Le queda trabajar mucho pero yo le veo condiciones para ser uno de los mejores porteros de España y por que no, a nivel internacional. Vamos a ver cómo se desarrolla pero por ahora tiene buena pinta.

Preparando la entrevista, llegué a la conclusión de que a Dani Pinedo le ha llegado tarde el éxito en comparación a otros porteros que ya desde jóvenes se auparon hasta lo más grande.

Si estoy de acuerdo. Es cierto que la carrera del portero es más larga que la de los jugadores y cuando éstos últimos tienen 15 años deportivamente hablando, los porteros podemos tener 20 más o menos.. La carrera del portero es difícil.

¿Crees que aquí se trabaja bien con los porteros?

En España no se trabaja bien esta posición y quizás esto es lo que hace que un portero serbio a los 20 años sea bueno y a uno español todavía le quede mucho. Nosotros trabajamos a base de errores. Así de simple. A partir de los 26 años es cuando en España un portero se va consagrando.

¿Qué hará Dani Pinedo cuando cuelgue el bañador?

Ya veremos, me veo bien (risas). Tengo 34 años y todavía me quedan tres o cuatro temporadas si el cuerpo aguanta. También es cuestión de contratos etc. Pero en principio quiero seguir hasta que pueda físicamente. De todos modos, seguiré vinculado a este deporte y me gustaría enseñar a los jóvenes y ponérselo más fácil de lo que hemos tenido nosotros.

¿Waterpolo en verano?

Sin duda. Creo que excepto los jugadores internacionales, el resto pasa demasiado tiempo parado en estas fechas. En el resto de Europa ya existen este tipo de ligas. Puede ser Beach Polo o como en invierno entre clubes. Montenegro, Croacia… El waterpolo es un deporte de verano y es una manera de que la gente que no va a la selección, tenga ritmo.


¿Qué te parece BIWPA?

Muy interesante. Como te he dicho antes a nivel público andamos un poco estancados y este tipo de iniciativas son muy buenas para salir adelante. Me hace pensar que el waterpolo está vivo.

¿Qué aptitudes tiene que tener el portero?

Es una combinación de muchas cosas. Carácter, físico, cabeza, liderazgo… Creo que es una posición solitaria pero que reúne muchas cosas de este deporte.

Semana Santa Campus BIWPA de Dani Pinedo ¿tienes ganas?

Muchas. Será el primer campus en la historia específico para porteros. En los clubes hay condiciones más difíciles porque solo hay un entrenador y nosotros, los porteros, estamos acostumbrados a ir a nuestra bola y a hacer nuestros entrenamientos. Así que animo a todos los porteros a venir porque tendrán atención al 100%.

By Xabi Gómez.

Most know you by those successes which gave the Spanish waterpolo in the nineties but also have a very important water polo player baggage.

I’m lucky. At 15 I was in Mexico 1968 Olympic and and that you mark. Later I also went to games Munich 1972 and was European Champion in 1981 with the CN Barcelona, the club of my life, in that final against German Spandau in which Manel Estiarte was a key player despite his youth. I have been Champion of Spain, numerous times selected as an international player, I participated in 4 World Championships … But obviously people remember most from my time as a coach.

By then the Spanish waterpolo be from another galaxy, much less professionalized …

We were in their underwear. It is from Moscow 1980 when there begins to emerge Spain, being among the top six. It is a stage that almost I have to remember black and white (laughs). I remember when I went to CN Barcelona in 1979, had a much Estiarte team worked with and incorporating Salvador Franch in goal. We were head high in Europe until the end that we could break the myth and were crowned champions in the pool of Sant Jordi.

How was the transition from player to coach?

It happened when I was in the CN Helios from 1975 to 1979. He acted as player and coach at a time. Something very hard to do and I swore it would not do. So much so that in 1983 the CN Terrace wanted to sign me with the same role and previous experience of Zaragoza had to refuse. I knew that it would only be a coach, so Terrace accepted my conditions and there began my coaching career.

In the last decade the polo has changed much looking back. What are in your opinion the factors that have influenced this change?

Definitely offensive game terms. I think what they want federations is to enhance this aspect. The fact that the coaches try to out of their boxes to the most offensive players in a clear example. Another aspect I think it was the physical preparation. I think in the preparation of a water polo player, hours of dry and then water, videos, lectures … an elite player devotes six hours a day training. We have come far. When I trained remember we trained three days a week, 1,500 meters and then spent the ball quickly because if we were bored. Has professionalized the game much.


Anyway, we are practically the only sport that periodically change of rules …

Totally. In Sydney 2000 I talked to several professional hockey or other sports like handball and told me that the water polo were about seven days mataos because we played the whole competition. I think I’m the precursor, and this’m proud to have achieved to make watch the Cardinals -as the name of cariñoso- mode, the International that was not feasible so many games in such a short time. In 2003 we did in the World Cup in Barcelona one day a game is played and the other rest. Returning to the subject of the rule change I do not agree that every little change. In football there have been no major changes since its inception and we, we have people that every little change rules. This creates confusion.

In 1994 raisins to be national coach. Why they trusted you?

My first experience as national coach was in 1994 and I remember RFEN president back then Rafael Blanco said after signing for a year this was like a melon, if left would mature green but if left outside. Once I’ve joked that the melon not go so bad. That year the team was a little canned by the previous stage of Dragan and went to Rome and got silver. From this year we link everything. I earned their respect and could make a good team.

Your name is inevitably linked to the generation that won practically everything. What factors are given for those wins?

In this I have always been sincere. We had a single generation. Shall soon to see a selection of this mood. We were near Rome 2009 obtained the silver but it is very difficult. To have the best goalkeeper in the world and the best player in history is something almost unique and current standards. There was an impressive seven holder, incredible talents.

What role does the coach with those stars?

I am proud to have contributed logic and common sense. That is, the coach of FC Barcelona not taught to play Messi. I’m more of Ancelotti Mou, knowing manage a wardrobe and not pretending to have invented the soup. It is my theory. Players who I met had a good work dynamic acquired Matutinovic stage. I continued working but respecting people. We looked a little CCOO, agreeing everything. With that team had to negotiate, negotiations were hard, believe me (laughs).

In 2004 you finish your time as coach and I was struck with statements made to EFE in which you mentioned that nobody bet for you after this and had to emigrate.

That is true. I have millions of defects but I have always been sincere and honest and I think if in Spain envious fly never see the sun. I’ve always been a bit redressed with some people of Spanish waterpolo. In the ten years I was coaching, I always wanted to involve other clubs successes. Because I thought it was a thing of all. I tried, perhaps so too altruistic. Now therefore no longer but eventually if you wanted something, you had to be a little ball and bowing to the presidents of clubs and federations. We must die with dignity. Nobody called me on the phone after my departure from the Spanish bench, except Valencia.

Tell me a little about your stage in Valencia …

I got there thanks to the work of Quim Colet and Chava Gómez. They were two wonderful years. We had a very modest budget but did things very well. The first year was great and the second on budget cuts just by established. Still it is a step which I am very proud.


In 2007 you receive an offer from China, the Big Red Dragon …

I got a call and within 24 hours I decided. It was very hard for me this time especially at first. The first month I remember I had open suitcase several times in case. Another culture, another language, different customs … very hard. Every Friday exam coaches and Chinese managers asking each of my decisions. From an outlet in Australia, I could have more autonomy. Anyway, the players know slaughtered in an exceptional way. 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When was the end of the romance between Joan Jané and China?

In the World Cup 2010 in New Zealand do bronze, playing very well. In 2011 in Shanghai do silver and the sequence in theory, it was gold in London but lost to Australia on penalties in 1/4 finals and this cost them digest. Magic then broke. The professionals need to understand that these things happen.

Now you’re in Colombia, Technical Director of Antioch …

Right. It is going well. This year we won all four categories and it seems that the dynamics is positive. In Colombia guys have some infrastructure but the female section is a pending issue. The selection for its part is in flux with Vladimir Lopez to the head. In Antioch is my second in command but in the national team is the one who holds the reins. Say in flux because at the beginning of my arrival I mentioned that depended in excess of 35 players and gave the opportunity to young people. This year we’ve got three kids of 19, one 17, one 20 and one 21.

In the Central Veracruz, Colombia looked like it could have given more …

We went to Veracruz with an almost junior team because I explained that we must go for the youth as is done in Spain. The goalkeeper for example is 17, almost two meters and is a real sick of waterpolo. In complicated games just playing with this guy despite his youth because the owner Elkin Buitrago not quite play as I expected, I’m very picky. In this sport the trademark tactics depending on the goalie.

How’s water polo in Latin America?

What little I’ve seen there are three teams that are well above the rest and can compete in any international tournament with high head that are USA, Canada and Brazil. The fourth would be Argentina but with the nationalization of Echenique lose much. The rest does what he can because there is no culture. Next year there Pan, see what happens.

Let’s talk about water polo in Spain. How do you see it from afar now?

I’ll be honest because I consider that a sport that has given me everything they deserve. In every sport there is, you have to give a generation to see results. I think the Spanish selection is good but compared to other generations has not been sufficiently extraordinary. You go to war sports very good selections. They have not had the fortune to find Pau Gasol or Manel Estiarte. This is what happened in the male. This is my perception but is making things pretty well. True to stay out of the World has been a disappointment but in European Budapest is lost to the hosts of Hungary. Something that you can not surprise anyone. That’s what we have to analyze.

Do we classify for Rio 2016?

It will be difficult because it coincided the Olympics in a continent outside Europe and Brazil for organizer if you are already classified and the United States win the Pan, and two more countries are leaving Europe with least squares. But this is high competition.

After introduce BIWPA what do you think?

I really love. Hopefully you may have all the luck in the world and engaging people to bring computers to Barcelona. Os I have admired for a project that is hard but nothing in life is easy. Your incentive is to put the willies, that are the ‘crazy little’ those who succeed.

By Xabi Gomez.

You’ve been many years linked to waterpolo, especially in Navarre where you’ve been one of the historical. Larraina player and later of Navarra in Division Honor.What memories do they bring to you?

I do not think it has been one of the historical, yes I think I was a player of Club.The club and a generation of players marked a stage and way forward then had a long journey with Waterpolo Club Navarra. The best memories go back to those years as a player in Larraina which is certainly more entertaining than coaching. That’s when you establish friendships with other teammates.

Later decided to end your career as a player and as a coach started another.Your first stop was with the girls UPNA which reaped good results …

Previously I had collated for several years my work player with the coaching ranks of CD Larraina. We 2010/11 promotion to Division Honor Women after a great season. However the greatest satisfaction comes in seasons 2012/13 and 2013/14 where after a hard working team that exceeded mere sport and we reestablish a solid structure on the CD Larraina. Hopefully this will continue in the time and can not fall back into past mistakes.


A year ago, you threw the adventure and crossed the pond to Peru. How was this possible?

The truth is that previously arose the possibility of training in a neighboring country Peru. Late could not be. That encouraged me to try his luck out and live a different professional and personal experience. The Club Deportivo Campo de Marte had need to hire technical and started contacts. They and the Swimming Federation of Peru made ​​possible my arrival.

What was the before and after the Campus Martius after Iñaki Zabalza stay in Lima? Has grow the number of practitioners?

Upon my arrival I saw overwhelmed by the large number of athletes. They trained together at the same time and try to set different groups depending on the category or level. In addition we consolidate a women’s team that had not existed. The work paid off even in the growing number of water polo, mainly in cities such as Arequipa and Trujillo where before there was barely waterpolo.

André mentioned Avallone, coach SESI of Sao Paolo that Brazilian Federation is betting all human and monetary capital available in order to Rio 2016. How does this affect the other Latin American republics? Are they are noticing an increase in sports bets by public institutions?

If it is true that something has changed and moves about Latin American water polo, at least I lived in Peru and other neighboring countries such as Chile and Bolivia. In Peru there are resources and good sports facilities but you have to direct them to the nursery schools Waterpolo, it takes more children. While not do that nothing will change and once done will be a multi-year process to pick fruit.


I think that just landed from Lima you gone to Barcelona to work on campus BIWPA Christmas … What did you experience?

It was a great experience. Not only have I had the opportunity to work with a nice group of guys but it has allowed me to work on the premises of CAR. Never seen something like that, a treat for any sportsman.

Tell us a bit more about this week in Barcelona.

Two great professionals like Xavi Yuri Colet Balaguer and finished to complete the coaching staff. We worked a double session both gym and pool. To this we add videos, various technical talks, matches against other clubs and live presence of Barceloneta-Sabadell Honor Division. The group was composed of boys from various places: Catalan, canaries, Murcia, Portuguese, Americans etc. They fit perfectly from day one and work with them was easy.

What are your plans now back to Pamplona?

In principle, and I think in the end. First I must settle for I took almost a year away from home. I would like to remain connected to waterpolo so anyone who needs my help will have it.


After these days in the CAR, not only Iñaki experience has been positive, but participants also enjoyed the Water Polo Clinic. We leave you with some opinions:

“This Clinic, has personally given me in many aspects besides water polo. I have generated good friends and those friendships have helped me to learn a bit more than this world of Water polo. I was delighted, see you at Easter! ” Fernando, Canarias.

“The Water Polo Clinic seemed to be a unique experience not only to train in one of the best high performance centers, but by the great coaches who have had daily and peers who have lived with me during these days. I have found that in just 10 days you can learn many things and so I thank you for BIWPA. ” Fran, Murcia.

“This week at the Clinic of BIWPA in the CAR has been a very good and fruitful experience for me. I learned a lot and grown both my experience as my knowledge of water polo. I advise all fans of the sport experience! The CAR offers the best conditions for high performance sport worldwide, not just technical improvements and learn, but feel at home! Parents try BIWPA for the future of your children, you will not be sorry! ” Filipe, Portugal.


Passionate, dedicated and sincere; but also hard, unpredictable and transgressor. He’s Mariano García Barguilla. He was the coach of Miki Oca, Toto or Estiarte, among other Spanish water polo stars. He participated in the Olympics of Seoul 1988 as the trainer of the Spanish National Team, and he designed the team that went to the Olympic Games of Barcelona 1992, together with Toni Esteller. Mariano García training methods were considered rather controversial, or slightly understandable; however, those methods helped to re-formulate the way of understanding the Spanish water polo and made it more competitive.

This Madrilenian has been linked to the water polo world for half a century, in multiple facets and teams. Now he has ‘ almost retired ‘, so he has found a water polo club, and he’s very present on the Internet: he shares his technical knowledge on his blog and on his channel on Youtube. In the following interview we revise his more than 4 decades as a Spanish water polo professional.

When did Mariano García meet the water polo world?
In the early 60s. I lived in a neighborhood (knew as ‘houses of Parque Móvil’) in Madrid, where there was a pool and a water polo club which played in the National League. There started my passion for this sport.

You were one of the ideologists of the ‘waterpolo school of Madrid’. How was that group of young talents ?
It was a group of players chosen by me, and pointed out and criticized by the rest of the clubs. They trained at high level, as I believed that a player should train to be a specialist. There were no colors, only the desire for achieve a self-improvement.

Which was the difference between the water polo of Madrid and of Catalonia at that time?
It was the same one between a chicken and an egg. There was no hunger to win and only a thought about a Catalan team, was enough to make them shake their legs. The players could be similar but the attitude and the level of training were not the ideal.

You designed, with Esteller, the National team for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The team was formed with players from the Madrilenian School and the Catalan School. Was it difficult to tune both parts?
They were two groups like the Ying and Yang. I think that’s the reason which makes them such a fantastic mix team. They couldn’t be more opposite; neither more complementary.

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You have been one of the toughest technicians in the history of the Spanish water polo. Your workouts included ‘ to cut trunks’, or ‘rugbypolo’. Why did you use so much hardness?
I think that they did what they had to do as professional players in this discipline. Swimming only served to cross the English Channel. It wasn’t hard. It was entertaining and motivating. No one injured in our practices and it was very exciting.

That hardness helped them to achieve a more aggressive game. But it also triggered several quarrels in important matches. How do you remember those ‘encounters’?
Those quarrels didn’t catch me very close. But I can assure you that the players learned to not be afraid of anyone and believe in their self-esteem. And they showed it.

That team had great talents that have become historical Spanish water polo players: Miki Oca, Toto, Estiarte, Rollán… Tell us about your relationship with them.
They were “my children” and I treated them in an atmosphere of love and respect… maybe I was quite different from a standard coach. They had grown up with me in Madrid and our long time of living gave us a very close relationship. Also with Estiarte atlthought he wasn’t from Madrid’s School. It was a self-contained by that stage.

Toto moved to your home, to be able to train more hours, and to become the best player of the Championship. Were you something similar as a godfather for them?
I loved to have a prototype as him with his qualities. I wanted to show me – and him – that you could get great things with hard work. Perhaps I was too absorbent, but I loved it, and he had so much interest.


Your players were the best in the water, but were also young and daring; they lived intensively what they did, and they didn’t lose a party. You were so kind of a stickler, what did you tell them about that?
The parties began to make noticeable in his Catalan tour, and by that time I had no strength or proximity to be able to control them. On the other hand, they had their age and they were supposed to have the maturity to be able to implement a coherent and independent life.

It’s clear that you’ve taught them many things. What did you learn from them?
I really enjoyed working with such an extraordinary people. They gave everything that a coach can dream and desire, including getting test with their daring.

In summer of 2013 you embark on a new adventure; you create a water polo club, of which you are President, CDE Villalba WP. When or why did you decide to take that step?
I have lived in Villalba since I was a child. It seemed to me an aberration not to try to do something in a town so distant and erratic for water polo. I like to say that it’s a challenge to my second youth.

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You have been a coach, a physical trainer, a President. In which role you feel more comfortable?
In the role that you can run everything you crave and dream. Perhaps it is a utopia. But I’ve got the chance to do almost all of this with everyone of my facets.

You have always been closely linked to the formation of the water polo. So why would you recommend, to the young players, assist to a BIWPA training camps?
Those training camps are places without prejudices, with forward-looking. Its professionals work with an open concept, and their objectives are not only about sports training, they are also about academic and behavioural issues ( maybe it sounds very pedantic, but that’s the truth).

You also have your own channel on YouTube, dedicated to the modernization of the water polo. What would you think about that?
I would recommend it because it’s a very intense and open way to publish all of my experiences and goals. I have a Blog where I post and discuss everything that occurs to me. I previously had a website, but it unexpectedly disappeared into the vacuum of the ether. I don’t know what was the cause.

You have recently ‘retired’. Can someone come off water polo when it has been present in all your life?
I could never come off. It is part of my life as it’s my skin or my heart.

If you want to add something else, this is your moment to do it, thank you Mariano.
Great success and all kinds of good vibrations for an invention so excellent as it is the BIWPA. I envy you for having created something so brilliant.

Some days ago we posted the interview with the MVP of the Champions League, Albert Español. So, today we bring you the one that we did with Dani López-Pinedo and Marc Minguell, both also players of the C.N. Atlètic-Barceloneta (C.N.A.B), and of the water polo Spanish National Team.

We met them at the CAR, where they are preparing the imminent European championship.

They’ve done a gap in their tight agenda to talk with us, and they have signed us a Kap7 water polo bal which we will raffle among the participants of our Water Polo Summer Camps 2014 .

If you want it and you haven’t enrolled yet on our camps, hurry up because the camps will begin in less than a week. We’ll be waiting for you in Barcelona!

 matrc i dani

Interview with Marc Minguell and Dani Lopez-Pinedo BY YASMINA ARMESTO

How did you get in contact with water polo world?

D: Me and Marc and went to the same school, which had swimmingpool, in the district of Sants. At this school, there was a family who was a lover of the water polo. José Lorenzo, its father, proposed to create a group of students to play water polo as an extracurricular activity. Shortly after, the Club Esportiu Mediterrani announced some tryouts to attract new players. There began all, and since then, we haven’t stopped.

When did you start to play as professional players?

M: We knew that we could be profesional players when we began to play with the first team of our club and also with the National Team. It was at that moment when you realized that this could be your job.
D: The true is that we began to play water polo as an amusement. We were enjoying it, doing friends and it was motivating for us. In addition to this, our coaches give us the tools to progress, so we saw it very clear: at that moment we began n to get mad for this sport.

And you have conquered the LEN Champions League with the first team of the C.N.A.B. What was the most special moment of the competition?

M: One of them was the victory against Brescia, in the quarters final. We work many months to prepare that match so when we won, we began to believe that we could obtain the Champions.
D: For me the most emotional moment was when we went out of the swimming pool, after the final match. We went to find our families and friends. They know perfectly how much we had trained and suffered to achieve the championship. I remember that I was hugging my girlfriend, and i couldn’t avoid crying. It was very emotive.
M: Our families have been there in every match, when we won and when we lost. But I remember when we were waiting for the prizes. We were completely alone. We were all together in a corner of the swimming pool. It was there when I really realized of what we had achieved.

And now you’re preparing the Europeans with the National Team. What sensations do you have?

M: The club and the National Team are quite different: both have different players and different environments. On the one hand, the club is exigent; however it’s very familiar. I feel my club as a part of me. After so many years, it is like to be at home. We’ve been playing so many years with the Barceloneta that we can feel the club success as ours. But, on the other hand, being on the National Team is like to receive another prize. It’s a reward for the successes which you’ve obtained by your club.
D: It might be said that the club is the daily work. And play in the National Team is pretty much the same, but concentrated in two months. So, it’s more explosive. In the National Team all of us are professional players and all of us want to give our 100 %. They have chosen us because we are the best to represent the Spanish water polo so we must to give the best of you.

Spain, Atlètic Barceloneta… You spend almost the time together. Also with Albert Español. How is your relationship?

D: Marc and I sleep in the same room, both in the club and in the National Team. Sometimes I have to see him more than my girlfriend! And we also have a nice friendship with Albert. We’ve got moments for everything and we appreciate our friendship very much.
M: Our sport careers make us spend many hours together, many months, and with some players, maybe years. We are like a second family. In both cases: the National Team and the club.


Is water polo a kind of inbreeding world?

M: Logically a great majority of our friends has something that links them to water polo. It is a very small world. It goes as when you went to the school, so you made friends in the school, so you spoke, very often, about the things that happened in the school. If you play at water polo: you’ll have friends and will know people which are in the water polo world because they play or they’ve another link to it. It’s normal.
D: We have a group of friends in which not all of them have a link to this sport, and it also helps us. If it was not, we would be always speaking about the same thing. Of course they ask us about the club, the match, whatever.But after comment it, other topics come to talk about as it will happen in the other group of friends.

Did you feel, when you were young, that you were loosing things for being so dedicated to the sport?

D: I would not say it. Play sport doesn’t mean that you couldn’t go to events,or on holidays; but you do it once in a while, because you’have to train hard.
M: Probably when we were young, we never had the typical school summer vacations. Because in those three months, we were preparing with the National categories. Nevertheless, we have won in other aspects. In values, for example, that will be useful for us for many other fields of our daily life.
D: Moreover, in the summer, let’s be sincere, we preferred to be with a team of water polo, where we had friends, that being on the beach with our parents.

If you had not been water polo players, what would be your job?

D: Good question! I just can’t imagine… I began so younger that i’ve never asked me this.
M: In my case, I believe that I would have done what they all do: end high school, going to college…
D: Now, both are ending the business administration career. It has been difficult for the routine and the little available time, but it’s almost done.

Daniel Lopez Barceloneta

Could water polo be a long term job after your career as a player? 

D: I would love it. However the economic conditions do not allow you to live only by water polo. But I would like to teach everything what I have learned to the young talents. Maybe not as trainer, something more as psychological coaching. I would love to show them what we have learned and the things with which we have suffered. Only in order that they could apply that advice in their goals.
M: I am with Dani. There are many things that can be improved  into the sports education of the young athletes. And especially with the children, because they will be those who will become professionals some day. Our experience, also worldwide, might contribute at this very much.

Players of the height of Felipe Perrone or Anni Espar, have given masterclasses in our first BIWPA camp

D:Listen and be with them in a training session is a very good option for the new talents, for sure. They’ve a lot of experience and they still playing. The athletes should keep sharing their talent beyond the end of their chapter as players. They are  prepared and valid people. And if it is necessary, their countries should form them in order to make them capable of teaching.
M: You can’t forget that it is necessary to have a few educational skills at least, but any player who has been in the water polo professional level is a good source of information for the young who want to learn and grow in this sport.

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How do you see the popularity level of water polo on the streets? 

D: The Atlètic- Barceloneta is working very well on this issue. Many clubs might continue that way and also the Federation. Our club gives repercussion to the victories, but also to the day after day work. Barceloneta has been doing it for a few years: making people want to know more and more about water polo.
M: With good victory in water polo, should be quite easy to appear in the media. But a victory in water polo use to ‘live’not much than a week on the tv. A few days after, the other more common sports achieve the focus; so the amazing water polo victory it’s forgotten. However, the truth is that this kind of blindness makes defeats hurt less to us, because they do not remain so much time in the retina of the mass media.

Do you believe that the change of the regulation of water polo will make more people became interested in it?

D: I am very critical with the changes of regulation. The problem is not the sport. The problem is in the people who manage this sport and who does not know – or doesn’t want to –  develop it as it should be. I don’t know if they have or not the best background to manage this sport. But to change the rules is not the way. The way is in the powerful and structured well promotion of this sport.
M: They have already changed the regulation to try to make it showier. And nevertheless, it is the same people who follows it. I know that is difficult to understand a water sport if you are out of the swimming pool, or if you aren’t used to see a match, or if you unknown the game dynamics. It is complicated and it’s a disadvantage. But the changes of the regulation only make players, trainers and umpires become mad. These ‘ brilliant ideas ‘ only make the council sit together occasionally, but then these ideas do not serve for anything more.

Marc, Dani, thanks for your sincerity and for your time. We wish you the best, and a lot of luck in the Europeans.

D: Thanks to you.
M: It has been a pleasure.

Albert Español, Marc Minguell and Dani Lopez-Pinedo are three players from C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta  (CNAB). With their team they have won the LEN Waterpolo Champions League, the highest title in the history of this club.

Now, Albert, Marc and Dani are concentrated at the CAR of Sant Cugat with the Spanish National Team. They are working together with their peers and their couch, Gaby Hernandez,to prepare the Europeans at Budapest.

We went to the CAR to interview them… And they signed a Water Polo Summer Camps!

Today we bring you the interview we did to Albert Español. And soon we’ll publish the other ones, with Dani and Marc .

We want to thank all three for receiving us and for giving us the signed ball. Thank you boys!

Interview with Albert Español BY YASMINA ARMESTO

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1 – How did you get in contact with water polo?

By chance. I was 10 and I was in a summer camp. One day, some staff from C.N. Poble Nou came to do some tests for their water polo team. They told me that they liked me and would call me, but that never happened. And since then i wanted to play water polo, so my mother enroll us, me and my brother, to C.N. Barceloneta. It has been always my team.

2 – At what point did you realize that you can play at the professional level?

From 10 to 13 years I combined water polo with other sports. But the coaches were very demanding and the level was very high. So when I was 13 I left the rest to focus in water polo. With 15, I debuted with the first team and I already knew it was my passion and I wanted to get to the top.

3- You get there with Barceloneta: you won the Champions League at home.

It was a sweet victory. We were candidates and organizers. We wanted to play well and we were very excited, but it was difficult to win. However, we always believed in us. We were a very close team, we worked well together, and that was decisive.

4 – Moreover, you received the MVP, it was a double triumph. 

Winning the Champions League was a dream that we had in our mind, but MVP was not a thing that I had on my mind. I was only aware of the competition. So win the MVP of the LEN Champions League was the best climax, it was like a gift.

albert español

5- What is your favorite memory the competition?

I remember with emotion the last minute of the final. The moment in which you realize that the cup is already yours, in which you understand that you will win the Champions League. That was a great moment. But I also remember the semi-finals. The opponent was very strong, so beat them was also very nice.

6-Now you’re with the National Team, how we will see Albert Español?

A few years ago I had a more secondary role. But now there is greater convergence between what I do in the club, and in the National Team. The National Team is always very demanding and puts you over the limit. People prepare the competition very well and very strong because the rivals are the best players of the best clubs. So I will give the 100%.

7-You are in the same club and National Team with Dani López-Pinedo and Marc. Together everywhere. How is it?

We enjoy it. I compare us with college friends who spend a lot of time together, laughing and enjoying. We are always making jokes, in good humor, and that’s very nice. Because the people of our age, due to the routine and their works, have lost this kind of relationships; and we do not. I love it.

amigos para siempre

8- You’ve completely dedicated your youth to water polo, do you feel that you have lost some things?

Many! With 15 or 16, you’re a bit frustrated because you cannot go traveling to celebrate the end of the school, or you can’t go out with your friends on Friday. So you cannot do what it’s ‘normal’ at your age. But you do other things that are unique and that other people can never do, like going to the Olympics. I would not change anything of my youth.

9 – If you weren’t water polo player, how would be your life?

I would be an industrial engineer, which is what I’ve studied. When my water polo career will end, I would not mind starting something totally different, like being an engineer. Water polo is my life and my profession, but I’ve done a really hard degree, so I would like to use it someday.

10 – Would you work in water polo as a coach or trainer?

If I had the opportunity, of course yes. I don’t close doors to anything and less when it comes to water polo.

11- It is said that FINA and LEN will amend the regulation to make “water polo more attractive”…

I humbly believe that it is not the way. I don’t think that changing the rules will make more people followwater polo. It is already a beautiful sport to watch. Maybe on TV is a little slow, but watch a live match amazes all who see it for the first time. The water polo promotion goes for other actions such as internet broadcasting, talk about it in the media, or socialization and awareness of the people. It is not about game rules.

12 – What do you think of BIWPA’s camps?

It seems a very good initiative. When I was a child, I came to train in CAR on holidays. Train in summer makes you improve your game very much. You train with very good players and coaches, and you work hard. So at the end of the summer, when you return to your club, it is easy to see who have had that preparation and who not. So I recommend it.

13 – What advice would you give to kids who want to go far in the world of water polo?

Where there’s a will there’s a way. If you struggle to get what you really want, you have many chances to get it. But you have to want by all means. To say ‘I want this’ is easy. What really makes a difference is to fight, train hard every day. Work hard, be persistent and believe in yourself. That’s the way to get it.

14 – Albert Thanks for your time, and make us fit into your busy routine. We wish you all the luck!

It has been a pleasure, thank you.