All posts tagged water polo

Agreement BIWPA-CNSF

As of season 2019/20, all the international athletes from the Academy will compete with the different age groups of CN Sant Feliu

The BIWPAcademy and Club Natació Sant Feliu (CNSF) have reached an agreement for all the Academy international athletes to compete and train with CN Sant Feliu. BIWPA’s Sports Director, Quim Colet, and the president of CNSF, Jorge del Ojo, have formalized the agreement a little less than a month to start the 2019/20 season in the Catalan water polo competition.

The Academy student athletes will continue training every morning with their own coaching staff and with all the international and local players, as usual, but their experience with a local club will be with CNSF, a club team located in the Barcelona area with more than 50 years of history.

The agreement represents a step forward in the sports growth of the Academy players, since it will make it easier to the coach to keep track of the individual improvement of each player with their club team. 

Quim Colet (BIWPA Sports Director) and Jorge del Ojo (CNSF President)

Quim Colet (BIWPA Sports Director) and Jorge del Ojo (CNSF President) | Photo credit: CNSF

Quim Colet think it’s a very positive agreement:

“We want to work together the youth categories with common objectives and with the beautiful combination between the local players of CNSF and the international ones that BIWPA can contribute. It is a personal as well as sports and technical enrichment for both parties and a way to internationalize the great work that is done with the clubs in Catalonia through CN Sant Feliu”.

Fran Torres, one of the new coaches of the Academy technical team, is also coaching different age groups at Sant Feliu and will be the perfect link between the morning training sessions at BIWPA and practices with the club in the afternoon.

The Academy players that will join CNSF will build up different age categories as the infantil (14u), cadet (16u), and juvenil B (18u). Additionally, as part of the agreement, BIWPA will sponsor the juvenil B (18u), which will be named BIWPA Academy/CN Sant Feliu B.

The relationship between BIWPA and CNSF is oriented mainly to work with the young athletes. Thus, BIWPA will encourage players from CN Sant Feliu to be part of combined teams to participate in international tournaments, such as the KAP7 Tournament in California, in which the BIWPAcademy has already participated once.

 

Cover photo: José Luis Fernández (CNSF Water polo chairperson), Jordi Blasco (CNSF Vice president) Quim Colet (BIWPA Sports Director), and Jorge del Ojo (CNSF President) | Photo credit: CNSF

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.

Barcelona (Spain) and water polo form a successful pairing. The Spanish city is undoubtedly one of the great spots for water polo worldwide, where the commitment to a minority sport such as water polo is greater, there are more clubs and more facilities to train and compete at the highest level.

Since the Olympic Games of Barcelona ’92, the city has hosted the World Championships in 2003 and 2013, the European Championships in 2018 and the Champions League finals in 2014 and 2015. Six major events in less than three decades.

In the last two years, 31 teams from 14 different countries participated in BIWPA’s training camps, with the United States as the country with more representation. BIWPA offers the best of Barcelona to all teams: clubs of a wide variety of levels for scrimmages, some of the best swimming pools and facilities to train at (Club Natació Barcelona, Olympic Montjuic pool, etc.), masterclasses with the best coaches, Watlicam sessions, restaurant recommendations, city’s must-sees, etc. Our team training camps are tailored to every team’s needs.

Players and coaches that have lived the water polo Barcelona experience shared their thoughts with us. Here’s what they think:

UC Davis in Barcelona

 

Gavin Arroyo, Head Coach LBSU and former player Atlètic-Barceloneta and CN Barcelona

My experience in Barcelona was unequivocal both in terms of water polo and life experiences. Playing with and some of the legends of the sport on a daily basis was challenging and educational. I was able to wander the streets of the Barri Gotic and plaza born on my way to Spanish class at the escola official de idiomas. There I met people from all over the world who introduced me to their culture and customs. Art, food, music, architecture, history, diverse people, Catalan hospitality with the best water polo coaches and players; That is what Barcelona means to me”.

 

Maggie Steffens, USA Women’s National Team captain and CN Sabadell player

“I feel very fortunate to be playing and competing in Barcelona, Spain. There is an energy here around sport that is inspiring to be surrounded by on a daily basis. In terms of water polo, you are playing against and with some of the most intelligent players in the game. I have learned so much from just watching players in practice and trying to imitate the way they might do something or try to prevent it from happening. I have learned a new style of play, a new vision of the game, a new methodology to training; all of which are tools to add to my tool box”.

“I have absolutely loved playing and learning here and I have been able to do it while living in easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Barcelona is absolutely incredible and has a new gift to offer every day. I have immersed myself in the culture; speaking the language, eating the (unbelievable) food, going to family homes for a Sunday Paella, exploring the streets of the city, & adventuring to the many wonders Spain has to offer. This truly is not just a place to visit, but a place to live. And for me personally, a place to learn and develop as I desire to grow as a player”.

 

Daniel Leyson, Head Coach UC Davis

Barcelona offers the best of both worlds when it comes to travel and water polo. All of the best teams in Spain are in the Barcelona area which enables any visiting team to train with a wide variety of high level clubs. And Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world with great tourist attractions, food, and night life!”

 

Quim Colet, Head Coach CN Sabadell

“Barcelona is the city with the most water polo teams in the world (8) and, in addition, there are more than a dozen water polo clubs in its area, all of which of a very high level. Besides, 80% of the players currently at Spain’s national teams train at the High Performance Center (CAR Sant Cugat), located very close to Barcelona. The Catalan competition is clearly the most important in the world in training categories. On the other hand, Barcelona is also one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, for me one of the most wonderful cities in the world. What more can you ask for?”

 

From left to right: Daniel Leyson (UCLA), Quim Colet and Gavin Arroyo (LBSU)

What type of employee are companies currently seeking? Education and studies are obviously essential to opt for the vast majority of jobs, but they are not usually enough. Beyond a degree or a title, companies look for team players, flexible, autonomous, ambitious, and confident employees, just to name a few. Here are the 7 reasons why water polo players are the best employees.

 

1. Water polo players are detail-oriented

Endless workouts and hours and hours of pool to perfect the shooting technique, passing or other skills. The great water polo players know that success often depends on correcting the details, like egg-beater, leg positioning or faking technique. The details are key in water polo and are what will make one player superior to another. That kind of dedication to the particulars can give the competitive edge in the office as well as in the pool.

 

2. Water polo players can manage their time effectively

In order to be a student athlete in any sport you have to be able to effectively balance your work and school. Water polo players train five days a week and they have at least one game every the weekend. That’s why water polo takes time management to another level. Players have to be capable of keeping up with school, give everything in training, find time to rest and eat and, also very important, find moments for social life. These skills translated into the labor world increase employee efficiency and productivity.

 

3. Water polo players can set challenging, yet realistic, goals

National championships, being called-up for the national team, play with the older category, dream of reaching the senior team, winning MVP awards… Every water polo player trains to achieve goals like these. Working with medium and long-term objectives is always more stimulating. Water polo players understand that the most effective goals are ambitious, but reachable, and once they have a goal, they work tirelessly to achieve it.

 

4. Water polo players know how to be good teammates

Practically all the jobs require being in contact with other people, holding meetings, taking care of tasks that depend on several people, etc. In the same way, water polo is a team sport in which individual success is not contemplated without the help of teammates. In addition, in a minority sport such as water polo, everyone knows each other better and the teams end up forming a large family that goes beyond the limits of the pools. Players know how to deal with people, cheer their teammates up when it’s required and experience the feeling of collective success.

 

5. Water polo players know how to tackle a tedious task and make it interesting

After endless pre-seasons in which swimming with T-shirt and the dryland workouts are part of the daily routine, most tasks in the adult world may seem a lot more interesting. Water polo players, after getting used to hours of exhausting swimming specially in the start of the week, will know how to make from a monotonous task something entertaining and, more importantly, they will have already developed a lot of tricks to keep themselves focused.

 

6. Water polo players know how to perform under pressure

From a penalty shootout to playing the final of a national competition. The pressure is constant in the day to day of a water polo player: games against direct rivals, man-up situations in which scoring a goal is the only option etc. Applied to the workplace, all this effort under pressure is very good practice for any presentations or public speaking that may come their way, or to deal with deadlines.

 

7. Water polo players are intrinsically motivated

The most important thing that water polo players learn from their years of training is how to stay motivated at both the fun times and the hard times. The moments before a major clash or the coach speech before jumping into the water are clear examples that will make the players feel motivated and fired-up before a challenge. Water polo athletes know how to work at what may seem to be a thankless task in order to improve themselves and benefit the team as a whole.

 

Article inspired by “7 reasons why hiring a swimmer will enhance your company”, Swim Swam

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. 

Jordi Gascón

After 2 years at the BIWPA Academy, Jordi Gascón (16 years, Club Natació Catalunya) is now studying and training at the high performance center CAR de Sant Cugat. The young player, already for the senior team of CN Catalunya, talks about his experience at the Academy and how it helped him to achieve his goals, such as being called-up for the most important talent factory of water polo in Spain.

What were your goals when you chose BIWPA, both academic and sports wise?

When I started at the Academy my main goal was to qualify for the Catalan Championships, where we finished in second place. It was a complete success! And the truth is that we did not expect it at all. On the other hand, academically at that time I did not have very specific goals since at that time I didn’t really know what I wanted to study.

What memories do you have from the first classes and practices (staff, colleagues, professors…)

I remember that after finishing the first training session I was exhausted. The pace of work is very intense. There is a great water polo atmosphere, the coaches are very experienced and they pointed out our main defects and helped us to improve them. At school, in the beginning I remember that we were all very happy but a little nervous at the same time, as the colleagues, the facility and teachers were new to us.

What were the toughest moments of the season? How did you get over them and what moments / details do you remember of your time at the Academy?

For me the most difficult moments were those training sessions where we only swam, since personally I find this type of training more difficult, although in the end, as they were repeated every week, I got used to it. Also, when we had games on the weekend, thanks to those practices, I felt stronger and with more resistance. One of the good things about BIWPA is that it allows you to meet water polo stars and sometimes they come to the pool with us to do a masterclass. We learned a lot from them in a very short time.

How has working with BIWPA influenced the performances with your club?

It has helped me in several aspects. On the one hand, I learned how to do a good warm-up before a game, like the band workout to prevent injuries and, above all, I have been able to improve my technique a lot and I endure much more the pace of a game.

What are your final thoughts on your experience at the Academy?

I think the experience has been very positive and helpful, because at BIWPA I have become a better player. The short-term objectives have been met, so I’m very satisfied!

 Inés Gómez

The water polo Academy based in Barcelona and led by Quim Colet has started the new season with record-breaking numbers, more international athletes than ever, and brand new services

Water polo season 2018-19 is underway in Barcelona and many of the Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) athletes made their debuts last weekend with their respective teams. The fifth year of the Academy and the number of athletes, both international and locals, has never been so high before.

There are currently 22 water polo players at the Academy, with nearly 50% being from outside of Spain. 11 of the 13 Spanish athletes are Catalans, while two of them have come from different parts of Spain (Coruña and Madrid). On the other hand, up to nine athletes from different parts of the world have joined the Academy. Three of them are from the USA, while the rest are from Malta, Romania, Sweden, Denmark, Mexico and Peru.

One of the main advantages of the Academy sports program is the flexibility. Athletes can choose how long will their stay in Barcelona last. While some stay the whole Academic year, others opt for a short program or a semester. It is the case of Clodagh Weir from New Zealand who will be in Barcelona for two months, from November until December. But most of the incoming athletes will arrive in January. It is the case of Hannah, Ethan, Wyatt, Ryder, Mikey and Easton, all from the USA.

Brand new: Nutrition, physiotherapy and mental coach

As the Academy grows, so do the services that BIWPA provides. There are three new services that the technical staff has decided to incorporate into the day-to-day routine at the Academy. All the international athletes will now have guidance on their eating habits and behaviors. They will also have available a physiotherapy service and a mental coach to help improve the athlete’s mental readiness, focus, ability to relax, energy and emotional control, as well as other mental factors involved in training and performance.

Anni Espar, our ambassador

The two-time Olympian Anni Espar, silver medal in London 2012, World Championships winner in Barcelona 2013 and three-time Champions League winner with CN Sabadell will come to the Academy to give masterclasses on a regular basis. Anni joined the first practice last week and has been collaborating with BIWPA in other activities for several years.

HaBaWaBa Spain 2018

More than 600 kids and 44 teams from 9 countries met at the Montjuïc Olympic Pool (Barcelona)

After 11 editions in Italy, three in Greece and other four in North America, it was Spain and Barcelona’s turn, with a very special first edition. The first HaBaWaBa Spain arrived in Barcelona running alongside the 33rd European Water Polo Championships.

During four days, the Montjuïc Municipal Pool became the festival’s splendid venue. The Royal Swimming Spanish Federation (RFEN) trusted Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) for the organization of the event, which gathered 44 teams -36 U12 and 8 U10- from 9 different nationalities. Among the 44 teams, 27 where Spanish. Italy, Hungary, Malta, The Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, France and Egypt were the other countries represented.

BIWPA was up to a festival that goes far beyond the competition and the results. As indicated by its acronym (Happy Baby Water Ball), the HaBaWaBa is a unique experience for all participants with water polo, fun and learning.

More than 600 young players had four amazing days of water polo and fun, with animation activities, fair play workshops and exciting matches at the Europeans. The Hungary-Italy (5-12), the Montenegro-Spain (7-7) in the men’s competition, or the Greece-Holland (7-8) and the Spain-Russia (12-11) in women’s were some of the best.

From July 18th to 21st , the stands at the Bernat Picornell pools were full of HaBaWaBa kids. Between 300 and 400 participants dropped by the Europeans venue and proved that passion for water polo is more alive than ever.

In the Village area at the Europeans, before the matches, HaBaWaBa’s mascot Rock & Pop and Barcelona 2018’s mascot Wopit were waiting for the kids to make the wait more pleasant with some music and dancing. Of course, Katy Perry’s Swish Swish was the top hit.

The former centre-forward Iván Pérez and former Spain Women’s national team player Laura López were the two HaBaWaBa Spain ambassadors. The legend Ratko Rudic didn’t miss the event either. But the best surprise for all participants was the visit of Spain Men and Women’s national teams. The current silver and bronze medallists took hundreds of pictures and signed autographs for the HaBaWaBa kids.

Hegemony for CNB

Quim Colet, one of the important figures of the water polo model in Spain, led the organization of the competition, in which Club Natació Barcelona (Spain) claimed first place in both categories, U10 and U12. In the U10 tournament, CN Barcelona beat UE Horta ‘Taurons’ (Spain) at the final (6-5), while CN Poble Nou (Spain) finished in third place.

In the U12 category, teams were divided into three different divisions (Bronze, Silver and Gold) after the first stage, so nine teams won an award. CN Barcelona, Posillipo ‘Coccodrilli’ (Italy) and KSI ‘Blue Sharks’ from Budapest reached the podium in this order.

In the Silver Division, YBL Waterpolo Club (Hungary) finished in first place, followed by CN Rubí and Askartza Claret from Spain. Aquatica Torino (Italy) beat Pallanuoto Salerno (Italy) in the Bronze Division final, while CN Helios (Spain) were third.

HaBaWaBa Spain 2019

The Spanish Swimming Federation has congratulated BIWPA on the organization of the HaBaWaBa Spain and they are already in talks to decide place and dates for next year’s edition.

 

Some pictures from the festival, by Pfotoàlbums (more here):

Team Training Camps

Up to 18 teams (in 16 different training camps) chose BIWPA and Barcelona to carry out customized water polo camps in 2017, also known as ‘team training camps‘. But the number of teams is not the only thing that stands out. More than ten countries had a presence in last year’s team camps.

This eagerness to go abroad and attract teams from all over the world to Barcelona –one of the epicenters of global water polo–, is one of the aspects that BIWPA strives for day by day. And the number of team training camps organized in 2017 perfectly reflects this international focus to which the International Academy is committed.

The United States, with four teams, has been the country with the most significant presence, followed by Holland with two and Belgium, also with two. The rest of the teams have been from a different country each, with the important presence of countries as varied as the Philippines, New Zealand or Canada.

Although this is a program specifically designed for tailor-made training, it goes beyond what is strictly water polo. BIWPA offers well-rounded experience that combines personalized training, scrimmages with local teams, as well as the possibility to enjoy tourism and gastronomy in an unbeatable setting like Barcelona.

Right below, there’s a recap of the team training camps of 2017. BIWPA closed 2017 with a total of 16 team training camps, 18 teams and 11 different countries.

The ‘team training camps’ of 2017, in images

Thacher Scannell
Keeping up with our athletes – is a new segment we have started in order to see how our athletes go on to succeed after they have experienced their time with BIWPA. We have had the privilege to stay in touch with most of our athletes and we want others to see how they reflect back on their experience as well as apply it to their current careers. Athletes discuss how BIWPA has helped shape them into the athletes they are today and as individuals both inside and out of the water. Here is Thacher Scannell’s story!

 

Hey Thacher, how’s it going?

Pretty good and you?

 

I’m good thanks! Thank you for taking the time again to have a chat with us regarding your BIWPA experience and how you are doing. I’ll first start off by asking you basic questions just so the readers know a little bit more about you. Is that fine?

Yes, that’s fine.

 

First things first, tell me where you live and what team you currently play for?

I currently live in Stanford, Connecticut which is in the northern-eastern part of the United States. The club I currently play for is Greenwich Aquatics which is just on the next town over. My high school team is called the, “Brunswick Bruins”, which is a private school that I go to. I am currently finishing my senior year at Brunswick.

 

Thacher Scannell Team

Brunswick Bruins team

 

Taking it a step back, when did you start to play water polo? Give us a little bit of your background with water polo.

I started playing water polo around the age of 9 or 10 and I got involved with it because of my previous club that had a swim team. I had been swimming for a while when I decided to try water polo for the first time and I really enjoyed it and I went from that.

 

What position do you play?

I pretty much play anywhere around the perimeter, but I don’t play the centre forward position or the goalie of course. I am also a right-handed player. I’m a lefty in terms of writing things down, but with sports and water polo, I use my right hand. Being able to use both hands for different things, I have been able to develop my lefty game too, so I am a little bit of both to be honest.

 

What are you taking in high school or is there anything in particular that you know you want to do in college?

We don’t really have any majors in high school, at least in my private school, I know some schools do, so we take general courses. I am pretty interested in the sciences and working with money and stuff. I may want to be a banker or go into the banking industry one day. I am still unsure.

 

Have you started to apply to some colleges yet?

We are looking various schools that have water polo programs, but also with swimming, so my parents and I are looking at those. However, the deadline isn’t until a couple of weeks so we haven’t applied quite yet.

 

Do you have some specific in mind for water polo?

Although I might be going to college for swimming, for water polo, I have been talking to Pomona College in Claremont, California. It is part of their five-school system there. They also have one of the USA men’s national team coaches there as their head coach, Alex Rodriguez, so that would be a great learning experience for me.

 

Do you also swim at the same time that you play water polo?

Yeah, it depends on the season that I focus on mainly. In the fall, I usually focus on water polo and in the winter time, it is swimming. In the spring time, it is a mix of both, but summer it really depends on what is happening. The polo season only runs in the fall so it ends up working out.

 

For swimming, do you specialize in certain strokes?

Primarily long-distance freestyle and butterfly.

 

That is very cool that you are following water polo or potentially swimming all the way through your college years. You will have a great time Thacher!

Going back now to BIWPA, how did you come about finding it?

It was kind of my mom who found the program in Barcelona. She wanted me to go to Spain to play water polo, apart from learning Spanish, so we just decided to go. It was really easy to find all the necessary info that we needed and you guys were really helpful in making the process simple.

 

When was the first time you found out about this?

First time I went to BIWPA was when I had finished 8th grade. It was the summer of 2014.

 

How many times did you come to BIWPA and what program did you do exactly?

I came to Barcelona twice consecutively. The first time was for a summer camp I did in 2014 right in the summer of me heading into high school and the summer I also did a national training camp back in the US. The second summer was also a camp in 2015 and I got the chance to play with Club Natació Rubi. It was great to get some playing experience with them and I learned a lot.

 

Thacher Scannell

Thacher, during one of the Summer Camps in Barcelona

 

What would you say was the best thing you liked about BIWPA?

Well water polo wise, the most favourite thing I did was being able to hang out with kids from everywhere. It was cool because you didn’t know them at first, so you’d be shooting randomly with these other kids not knowing who they were, but as practices progressed and you started to know them, you would become close friends with them. You guys did a great job in the pool with team chemistry because you could see how each of us would improve and acclimated to each other’s type of play pretty quick. For the non-water polo part, I like that I still talk to people from BIWPA, and this is 3 years ago that I first met them. It was with other players that I went to the beach with, played volleyball with, and had beach soccer matches. It was the whole experience (water polo and non-water polo) parts that really made us make those connections.

 

Did you feel that some skills or other things you learned from BIWPA, you were able to apply it to your game play in the US?

Oh yes definitely! So, a couple of things that I learned was moving around the defender to steal the ball. The way I learned to steal the ball at BIWPA’s camps, the US didn’t have to teach me, they just told me to do it. I felt great knowing that I already knew how to do it from learning it at BIWPA and especially that it was something that the US told me after 3 years I had been in Barcelona. Basically, they were kind of behind the ball vs. BIWPA and a lot of the other skills I learnt from BIWPA I was also able to teach some of the other kids from around here, which they really appreciated as well.

 

Do you remember who your BIWPA coaches were and do you recall something important they said that really stuck with you?

Yes, Enric Carnella was the coach for my first year, and then my Rubi coach was Ferran. Cristina although wasn’t a coach, was very helpful with things we did around there. Yuri was also my coach at that time as well! Something that stuck with me that a coach said wasn’t necessarily a quote or anything, but more rather criticism. At Rubi, there was a coach that thought I was fooling around when I didn’t think I was. He did yell at me and having this experience really made me take the game more seriously. It bothered me in a constructive way because I knew I wasn’t fooling around even though he thought I was and It really made me work harder and pay attention more at a younger age which would help my progress as an athlete later down the road.

 

You recently played in the Junior Olympics in the US, how was that and how was your experience?

It was good, it was my down year, meaning next year I will be older for the 18U category. My Greenwich Aquatics team didn’t do so well but we have gotten bronze and gold in previous years.

 

Thacher Scannell JOs

Thacher Scannell, with his team at the 2017 Junior Olympics

 

What would you say is the main difference between Spanish water polo and American water polo?

I would say physicality. Just comparing it to scrimmaging, in Spain, the physicality is more graceful, whereas in the US, physicality is used with brute force. In Spain, it is more about fines punching people, where we go above the water in America. This also happens a fair amount.

 

Are there any water polo players that you look up to?

In the States, there are two guys that I look up to. The first played in Greenwich Aquatics when I was 10, and since I didn’t have a team, I played with the 12 and under team. His name was Thomas Dunstan whom later went on to play in the Rio Olympics and it was a pretty big deal as it was the first guy to ever do that from our club. The second guy was Charlie Allens. He was always nice to me growing up and taught me a lot of things about water polo and he now plays at Harvard.

 

What does Thacher miss the most about BIWPA?

There are a couple of things I miss. First, the place where we played was really cool. It had a beautiful pool and their installations were amazing. I miss the coaches a lot too because they were really helpful and really nice. Even if you didn’t speak Spanish, they would try their best to speak English. It was also great to learn from a wide range of people that you aren’t used to before, so learning water polo was fun!

 

Would you recommend BIWPA to other people?

I have actually recommended BIWPA to other people and two of my friends actually came. People ask me all the time about my experience with Spain and how it was and I tell them that it was really fun and I tell them to go. It will be a great learning life and water polo experience for everyone.

 

Lastly, do you see yourself coming back to Spain any time soon or after college?

Yeah, I might be coming back by Christmas time to play for Rubi again and then depending on how college search goes, I might be going for a longer period of time. I might also try and do a gap year in between my freshman year and after I graduate from high school and play in Spain.

 

Well Thacher, I wish you all the very best and I hope your search for colleges goes well. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Thank you. It was my pleasure.

12345Next