All posts tagged usa water polo

BIWPA reaffirms its presence in the United States with a camp in Florida, clinics in California, the Junior Olympics and the arrival of USA Water Polo cadet teams in Barcelona

It is nothing new that the connection between BIWPA and the United States has been very strong since the very beginning of the project. Without going any further, the first athlete who joined the Academy led by Quim Colet was from the US.

Five years later, in the 18/19 season, the Academy has had a total of 15 American athletes. Seven of them have been in Barcelona for a minimum period of one semester and have been able to compete with a club team in the local club league.

In addition, in 2018, a combined team with local and international Academy athletes participated for the first time in one of the reference tournaments in California, the KAP7 International Tournament.

However, summer 2019 clearly represents a turning point in the presence of BIWPA in the US. Here are the four major activities that BIWPA has performed on American soil this summer:

WATER POLO CAMP IN FLORIDA

California takes up a great deal of the water polo in the US. That is why BIWPA wanted to bring its methodology and training in an area that is hungry for water polo. And the result has been outstanding. A two-week camp in Gainesville (Florida) with almost 140 athletes from 12 countries and eight US states.

The objective? To provide players between 12 and 18 years old with tools to improve their individual technique, focusing on the fundamentals and decision-making. The signature of the BIWPA coaching staff, combined with the good predisposition of the Gator Water Polo club, were the key to success.

Florida International Water Polo Camp 2019

Florida International Water Polo Camp 2019

CLINICS IN CALIFORNIA

With a similar philosophy as during the Florida camp, BIWPA coaches also gave several clinics throughout the California area. The California Clinics Tour spread the BIWPA methodology across La Jolla, San Diego, Los Altos, Walnut Creek and Commerce, with more than 100 athletes among all locations.

BIWPA Clinic (NORCAL)

BIWPA Clinic (NORCAL)

FIFTH YEAR AT JO’s

For five times in a row, Barcelona Water Polo Academy attended the world’s largest water polo tournament. With a booth located in the central pool, the Woollett Aquatics Center, BIWPA promoted its team training camps, camps, tournaments and, more importantly, its core program, the Academy. A unique opportunity for high schoolers to study and play water polo in Barcelona.

A total of 860 teams of all age groups participated for eight days in the Junior Olympics organized by USAWP.

BIWPA booth at JO's 2019

BIWPA booth at JO’s 2019

THE USAWP ODP, IN BARCELONA

For the first time ever, the USAWP Olympic Development Program is coming to Barcelona. The ODP is program to identifying and developing athletes to represent USAWP in domestic and international competition.

The so-called “Futures”, the Men’s and Women’s Cadet National Teams will train and compete with two combined BIWPA teams. They will do it in an Olympic facility such as the Montjuïc Municipal Pool from August 4 to 11.

USA Water Polo ODP (Global Wave Inc)

USA Water Polo ODP (Photo credit: Global Wave Inc)

Alejandra Aznar USC

After clinching gold and the MVP trophy at the European Youth Water Polo Championships with the Spanish national team, Alejandra Aznar moved to the United States in the 2018-19 season. The young and talented leftie (2000) is one of the great hopes of the future and present of the Spain’s senior team.

In the current Academic year, Aznar has played for one of the top universities on the West Coast of the United States, USC Los Angeles. She finished runner-up in the women’s water polo national championship and also with her club team in Spain, CN Sant Andreu.

 

How has your experience been in the United States?

I have learned a lot. Living far from home and alone, with a different language and country is not easy… In terms of water polo, there are many different things in comparison to Spain.

 

Why did you decide to take your first college year in California?

The truth is that juggling academics and water polo is very easy in the US. Playing and studying in the same place makes it very convenient. Also, when I finished high school in Barcelona I wanted to start a new experience far from home, and now that I’m young I think it’s the best moment.

 

How would you rate this year in the US together with your teammate in Sant Andreu, Mireia Guiral?

She is my best friend and the truth is that things have been much easier with her, because I knew I could count on her in case there were bad moments. Even though I never had to face any tough time, it was always good to have her at home after training on when I needed a break.

 

The next season is prior to the Toquio Olympic Games … Will you stay in USC or home?

Next year I will continue with my club team in Barcelona, CN Sant Andreu. Next year there will be many calls-up and trainings with the national team in preparation for the Olympic Games, that’s why I think I really need to be home.

 

What is your main objective at the sports level for the season 19-20?

Being able to make it for the last calls-up with the national team and take advantage of these practices to learn and improve.

 

How do you see the Spanish team? Do you see yourself with possibilities to enter the team and maybe go to the Olympic Games?

It’s very difficult and on top of that they have reduced the number of players permitted in the squad. It is still early to draw conclusions, but what I can assure is that I will train the hardest I can to make it until the last trainings.

 

Do you plan to return to the United States at some point during your college period?

I think this is something I have in my mind. The truth is that I adjusted quite well to the California lifestyle and I like pretty much everything about living in the US.

 

How different is American water polo compared to Spain?

In the US everything is very planned and marked, all teams do a lot tactical work, specially where I’ve played (USC). Referees call kickouts very easily in the center position, so you have to be very focused in the defence. I also think there’s more contact here when playing.

 

In what aspects do you think you stand out more than other local players due to the fact that you have trained in one of the water polo capitals of the world?

I think that technique is the most important skill that I have practiced since I started playing water polo, both in my club teams in Barcelona and also in the high performance center CAR Sant Cugat. I think that’s not something in the US people focus on that much.

 

Undoubtedly, Spain is one of the top countries in women’s water polo. Still, the United States team seems unbeatable. Why do you think that happens?

I think they are physically ahead of the rest of the teams. I also think that they have very good technique, but I believe the physical aspect is what makes the difference.

 

What would you highlight the most about how to train and play in California?

As I said, teams prepare a lot every game. When I arrived, they gave me a folder to write down the plays and the planning of each game. During the week you already know what plays we will do in each quarter and how we will defend in the weekend game.

Florida Water Polo Camp

The Florida International Water Polo Camp will take place in Gainesville from July 1 – 12 with the best of both European and American water polo

In the year of its 5th anniversary, Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) will organize for the first time a water polo camp in the US in conjunction with Gator Water Polo and with the support of the University of Florida, USA Water Polo and RF Learning.

BIWPA’s coaching staff will move to Gainesville, Florida, from July 1 to 12, leading a camp that will take place in two sessions, from July 1 – 5 and 8 – 12. For the athletes staying between the two sessions, the camp will offer tourist and cultural activities in the Florida area.

The work of the technique, individual tactics and decision-making will be the central aspects of a camp where athletes from all over the world will be able to share their passion for water polo while having a great time. The camp is open to players from around the world between 12 and 18 years old and will take place at the Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) 50-meter outdoor pool. Undoubtedly, a unique opportunity to upgrade your game and meet athletes from around the world in an incredible international experience.

Campers will stay at the Holiday Inn University center hotel, located next to the University of Florida and just a 5-minute drive from the pool.

The best staff

The coaches from BIWPA will be headed by its Academy’s Sports Director and current head coach of CN Sabadell, Quim Colet. Colet was assistant coach of the Spanish national team at the Beijing and London Olympics and head coach of the junior national team, winning one gold and two silver medals.

The coaching team will be completed by Ferran Pascual, current player and coach of CN Rubi and the BIWPA Academy; Sarah Lizotte, American player, captain of CE Spain’s top division team Mediterrani; and Yuri Colet, current head coach at CN Poble Nou and the BIWPA Academy. The University of Florida head men’s water polo coach., David Huelsman, will also be part of the staff.

There are already athletes signed up from seven different countries around the world- from Europe (Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Czech Republic) to Australia and South Africa, as well as North America (USA and Canada). Registration is still open for both sessions.

Clinic for coaches running alongside

BIWPA will offer throughout the two weeks of camp a clinic designed for coaches, mainly aimed at coaches from the Florida area and bordering states. The clinic will offer the possibility to club coaches to attend the camp with a group of players from their team and learn the best from European water polo training methodology.

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

Academy (17-18)

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

Campus

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

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

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

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

Team Training Camps

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

Events

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

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

HaBaWaBa Spain

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

 

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

anni espar
 We´ve talked with Anni Espar, professional water polo player and BIWPA ambassador. Good read for all water polo lovers!
What memories do you have of your formative years in the CE Mediterrani?
I started there since I was a baby, combining water polo and swimming. They were my first years and I took the opportunity they have given to me as a player of my first team.
In 2009 you took your first step in CN Sabadell
It was the opportunity to continue growing. Sometimes you have to make these changes. I thought I did not want to be stagnate and this was a way to learn from other players, coaches, club … it’s the same vision I had when I left for the United States.
Certainly crossing the Atlantic was your great personal commitment
It was a difficult decision to leave everything behind and embark on this adventure. I spoke to Anna Pardo and the truth is that I was really excited. Further, the full scholarship that I was offered to study there was also very important when making the decision. It was a year in which I had time for everything.
How do you assess the possibility to combine studies and sport at the highest level?
It is a wonder. I lived five minutes from the training facilities and campus. I would use a bike. 6;00 to 8:00 in the morning training, after class train, and then the same in the afternoon. The facilities you use are immense. You only worry about training and studying.
What do you like most European or American system?
Is different. The truth is that I wish we could have such large sports complexes like in the United States and it was so easy to have it all so close. Still, I must confess that in that sense, BIWPA is doing a great job focusing on the possibility of combining education and sport for athletes who can not access the High Performance Centers in their respective countries.
Is a college education more valuable in America if you are an athlete?
Being honest it does not have the same value. In America if you’ve been an athlete you have more recognition and value companies. In job interviews, the sporting aspect often plays an important role.
Why most Spanish players and players who leave the United States are girls?
The scholarships are divided into male and female. The same money in all sports. As in football a lot of money for the guys goes, in other sports there is more diversity, something that would take advantage of other sports such as basketball or water polo. The university would also be interested in foreign players to give a plus of competitiveness.
To close your stage in the United States … what does it mean to be a NCAA Champion?
For me it was something to feel proud of. At my university it meant to be very much a USC Trojan. This was instilled in me since I understood the rivalry with UCLA, Stanford … create a special bond with the University. So you can imagine the importance that is given to this title, I had a teammate who was an Olympic champion and for her it was more important to win the NCAA than the Olympic Games. Obviously I do not share that view, but I give it a lot of value. When I won the NCAA I remembered what Anna Pardo said, “You win an NCAA ring and check again”, and I did (laughs).
With the selection you have also had some great moments. What is the best remember?
I think there are two. When we qualified for the final of the 2012 Summer Olympics as were World Champions in Barcelona 2013 before all our people. I must say that losing an Olympic final was very sad but this year, I hope to try to get me a thorn for four years.
Anyway, following recent events (World and European) you have us spoiled with victory … What lies ahead for the Preloympic qualifiers?
It is true that they have not been our best competition, I still think we’ve been there, especially in the European. We have fought to the end. We are calm about our game but it is true that in terms of results, other teams also compete. We will qualify for the Olympic qualifiers and the Olympic Games we will not go on vacation. If we play well we will have possibilities.
Speaking of BIWPA, from the beginning you have been involved in the project …
They are doing a great job for the water polo and at the worldwide level. Training in the CAR of Sant Cugat is priceless. The food is good and the ability to enjoy other athletes, especially for boys and girls aged 14-15 is a very nice experience. The campus offers you the opportunity to improve your technique with good coaches, if they continue doing this work in a few years they will have more impact. The Academy has had several players around the world and seeing it from outside, if I had the opportunity to play in another country to continue studying, it would be a dream come true. A wonderful experience. In addition, BIWPA also manages other foreign teams to come to Barcelona to compete with other competing teams. Surely BIWPA will grow in the coming years.
max-vernet-waterpolo

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