All posts tagged manel estiarte

The Club Natació Barcelona celebrates 108 years of its history. It has been a pioneering club and, until recent years, one of the bastions of Spanish and international water polo.

It was Bernard Picornell who introduced water polo in the CNB and in Spain at the beginning of XXth century. The first match played was in 1908 and since then this sport has always been being present on the shores of the Mediterranean.

In the middle of the twenties, the CNB opened the swimming pool of the Escullera (Breakwaters), a symbol of the water polo in Spain and place where the main players of the club originated.

Up to a few years ago, the CNB was a club that dominated this sport in Spain with infinity of national titles that moved it up to the highest level. The clearest example of that time of splendor [glory] is the ancient swimming pool of the club that today is closed to the public, but those who could live great moments in this swimming pool will always remember the great episodes that took place there.

CNB, 1944. / Waterpolo Legends

CNB, 1944. / Waterpolo Legends

The achieved titles and championships [that were won] are collected in the showcase of the CNB, attesting to how big this club has been and where players of big international prestige have served, like Manel Estiarte, who is probably the most famous for being an outstanding player. To beginning of the eighties, it managed to win the continental title beating the team of Spandau 04. Also, in the middle of the nineties they had obtained a LEN Cup, a title that they repeated almost ten years later.

It was perhaps the last big title that they achieved. After this, the economic problems appeared continuously, thus the club is losing competitiveness but keeps hope and enthusiasm as a flag.

So, this year they celebrate 108 years, and from BIWPA we want to wish the club many years more of long life since it is a club that has always met fondly our entity. There our campus participants have always had a place to keep on growing like sportsmen and persons and its categories teams have always proved to be ready – as those of other clubs – to collaborate with the foreign teams that come to us.

We are retaking this session in relation to the BIWPA Camp Manel Estiarte that will be held in the end of June in the facilities of Club Natació Barcelona.

Manel Estiarte is, if not the best, then one of the best water polo players that this sport has ever seen. For his merits he was inducted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2007. He was the Olympic Champion in Atlanta 1996 and won Olympic silver in Barcelona 1992, he was the World Champion in Perth 1998, got silver in Perth 1991 and Rome 1994, he won silver in the European Championship in Athens  1991 and bronze in Sheffield 1993.

On the club level he obtained two European Cups – one with CN Barcelona and another one with an Italian club, Pescara. Among his merits are also found 9 national leagues (5 with CNB and 4 with Pescara), 11 national cups (5 in Spain and 6 in Italy), and the Prince of Asturias Award in sports, along with other individual titles… oh! And the world’s best water polo player 7 years consecutively… next to nothing.


Manel Estiarte was born in Manresa (Catalonia) in 1961. He started practicing swimming early, and from there moved to water polo. From his early years he showed remarkable skills at ball possession. During his sport career he formed part of the Spanish senior national water polo team on 580 occasions and scored over 1.500 goals for Spain in international competitions. With 19 years he debuted in the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980, and since then he did not miss any Olympics till Sydney 2000 where he bore the flag of the Spanish delegation during the opening ceremony. After the Olympic Games in Sydney Manel Estiarte decided to finish his career.

Since his retirement from the swimming pool his life has been being connected with sports through clubs, such as FC Barcelona and, currently, FC Bayern Münich, always together with his friend Pep Guardiola.

The club of his life is CN Barcelona, on the facilities of which will take place the Camp that is named after him. Manel Estiarte certainly possesses the widest variety of personal and team awards  and is considered to be the best of all times for his talent and dexterity. For all that, a chance to visit the Camp and to meet personally the greatest athlete is a unique opportunity for all the promising waterpolo players who are forming the future of our sport.

By Xavi Gómez.

The International Swimmining Hall of Fame, ISHOF for its acronym in English and headquartered in Florida (USA), aims to promote healthy habits of aquatic sports. Among other initiatives, has a specifically that catches the eye: the ‘Hall of Fame‘.

55 international players of all time to fire their names recorded in this hall of memories. In future editions of this section, we will go shelling the names and stories of these players, all with a life behind their victories and defeats.


There are two Spaniards who have the privilege of being among the largest: Manel Estiarte and Jesus Rollán. For the Castilian public, is somewhat unknown both players have been recognized by this prestigious institution.

Personally I could not help brand this section with Jesus Rollán for various reasons, including his tragic end and fragile memory of man. Serve these modest lines for younger never forget that the Spanish water polo was over two decades defended by one of the best-if not the best- goalkeepers in history, Jesus Rollán.


‘The Guardian’s Pool’

Rollán Jesus was born on April 4, 1968 in Madrid. A few years of his childhood and it was decided by the pool after a knee injury. It was in its infancy when he Mariano García, coach of the ‘old school’ which was one of the promoters of one of the most brilliant generations who gave Madrid water polo.

They are characterized by their self-confidence in the water, ‘Chava’, ‘Toto’, ‘Miki’ … soon became hollow on the national scene. At age 18, Jesus Rollán left Madrid and settled in Barcelona with his friend Pedro Garcia ‘Toto’. During his stay as a player of historic CN Catalunya Rollán enviable record was garnering nationwide that opened wide the doors of the selection.


It was with the state assembly with which he forged a reputation within very few goalkeepers. Jesus came to instill such respect that many players from rival teams think twice whether to shoot. Fruit of the union between Catalans and madrilians, Spain went from a selection of ‘second order’ to fight for medals along the nineties and early part of this century.

To always remain in the memories tears of Jesus in Atlanta 1996 after winning the final to Croatia and gain gold. The same cry, but pain this time was that accompanied all international waterpolo after learning the tragic event that led to the end of this great goalkeeper who won many victories and the most successful water polo awards, including his posthumous entry in the Hall of Fame.

By Emma Briones

Manel Estiarte (Manresa, 1961) has been fourteen years without jumping into the pool. However, the admiration for his older brother has made him spend more than 30 years in the water. During those years he became one of the best water polo players in the world, participating in six Olympics games and taking gold in Atlanta ’96.

They’ve told me, but I do not remember, that I used to cry a lot in the water, I did not like it. And, truth be told, I hate water, even scares me.

And you ended up in the pool
I was little and my mother, for convenience, as my older siblings were swimmers, signed me at the CN Manresa to learn to swim.

So what led you to play water polo?
It was the love for my brother Albert, I wanted to do what he did. He played water polo, I wanted to water polo. He was playing with the team, I wanted to play with the team … And I played, I played and I got over him, I left him behind [laughs]. I think my brother loves water polo more than me, but I did water polo for him.

But you started as a swimmer.
I was champion of Spain in 200 and 400 styles. I was a swimmer, I trained swimming, I went to the swimming championships. On Friday afternoon, if we had trained well during the week, the coach would let us play with the ball.

When you changed swimming for water polo?
There was a winter that was really the key, I qualified for the only international competition, the Eight Nations. It was a dream to go with the swimming national team. While I was heating, pum! I hit and broke my hand. I cried a lot, I could not go to any competition for a month. And with spring came Pepe Brascó, who was very clever and took me to the absolute team.

And you were only 15 years old…
I was a little 15 year old, who suddenly was playing with the absolute, in Jönköping European Championships (1977). There was criticism, because I was very young, and there were far more good players than me, but Brascó gambled and I will always be grateful.

When I returned from there, I decided to change swimming for water polo. I was aware that I had a talent for water polo, Brascó offered me candy, and I fell for it.

It was an experience.
Suddenly, I had the opportunity to leave Manresa and look what is in the world, to get caught and be taken to the European Championships. Reach out and see De Magistris, that young people today do not know him, but I used to read about him, and there he was, with other amazing water polo players. I was a kid, and I could play for the first time WATERP OLO. For me it was my “BIWPA“.

Would you have liked to have BIWPA then?
I wish I had, but it didn’t exist. However, that competition and BIWPA are the same: it’s water polo, is passion, emotion, touch …

You’ve had a spectacular career, what is your favourite moment?
Four years after losing in Barcelona ’92, and again we are the same one in Atlanta, and the ending whistle. At that time our feelings were like a kick to the heart, the game was over and we hugged each other.


The Olympic Gold.
It has not a different value, the Olympic medal is the same then than now, but the friendship between us, the desire for revenge after the damage we had in Barcelona ’92. 25 years of selection, 30 years of water polo and a life in the water. But if I have to pick a moment, is that one.

You’ve been a few years away from water polo …
I felt very strongly that I wanted to stop in Atlanta, at 36, and those four years later, served as if they were 20, they sucked every little I had left. My mother told me I would miss it, but I knew I wouldn’t miss anything. I’ve never swum after that, I’ve been 14 years without jumping into the pool.

Because it’s over. That was wonderful, my life, but water polo was part of my life, and it was spectacular in every way. Surely I could have done more, but I would have done it unmotivated, for sure. Occasionally I come to a game and in two minutes I can say what works and what does not, who is good and who is not. Water polo it’s inside me.


How do you see today’s water polo from outside?
Those who love water polo clearly will always love water polo, but it is clear that our eyes now let us see that this is water polo. The water polo I had seen in black and white, in the 40s, 50s, 60s, looks more like today’s water polo, and I think that there’s something that does not fit.

Should we make changes, as claimed by FINA?
There was a time in which they should have done, between 2002-2004, there was a water polo trend, and it was changing, I do not know if better or worse, but it was changing. Clearly, if now I see in the Olympic finals Yugoslavia, Spain, Hungary, Italy … I’ll love it, because we see talent, effort, power, emotion … But if I look at everything else, there is something that does not fit, the current water polo doesn’t make you smile. I am convinced that if 50 children to go see water polo for the first time, 46 will not be hooked.

Something is wrong.
In all sports, if you give the ball to the kids, they’ll want to score, because there is still no tactics, no defense. In water polo same. You leave the kids in a pool with a ball, and go straight to the goal. This is the basis of sports. If you take a kid to a water polo match, he’ll say “Why don’t they shoot dad?” And how will you explain them? “No, son, is that if you shoot, there is a statistical chance that …” And it’s always no, don’t shoot now.

In waterpolo you have to wait.
The percentage in water polo it’s an 80% of I get there and wait. That means losing something of sports’ nature. I love it, I loveit dearly, but there is something of the water polo essence that is beyond me, that does not fit. Water polo is a sport that we’re educating wrong.