All posts tagged waterpolo barcelona

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”.

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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”

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Our sport is experiencing a unique time for women.  The rise of women is notorious in recent years and the number of participants has grown exponentially. For that reason BIWPA, this summer wants to give more prominence to all those women that strive daily to improve their technique. From July 19th-25th, in the second week of water polo camps of CAR San Cugat will we count on Nani Guiu coach of CN Sabadell and three time European Champion, in addition to BIWPA coach and director of camps Yuri Colet.

But it doesn’t stop there. Also, we will count on the presence of several top-level players who have participated or are actively involved in the success of the Spanish water polo. So, every day, there will be a renowned player on the premises of CAR with BIWPA. Here are the women who will bring their expertise to the CAR Summer Camp:

 Ona Meseguer:

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Barcelona, 1988. She has been instrumental on the Spanish national team that has garnered much success lately. Gold in the 2014 European Championship of Budapest, gold in the 2013 World Championship of Barcelona and silver in the 2012 London Olympic Games. She is one of the most effective lefties in Spain who has experienced the best moments of an unforgettable generation. She is also is an essential pillar in her club Mataró and in her former club CE Mediterrani won the league title.

 Clara Gibson:

Ciara Gibson-Byrne

(Barcelona, 1992) Although from British parents, since she was little she has lived in Catalunya, where she has played in Mataró. She is a key player for the United Kingdom national team where she is the scorer. She was in the London Olympic Games, the 2012 European Championship and the 2013 World Championship where, it had been 15 years since the United Kingdom had classified.

 Anna Pardo:

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Barcelona, 1983. What to say about Anna, our last BIWPA interview. A player whose sports career is an adventure divided between U.S., Hungary and Spain.  She has an NCAA ring, 2nd place in the Hungarian League on two occasions, one Spanish League title and she was part of the first generation of Spanish women’s water polo that received the “passport” for the ADO grants. A prestigious player who has played in two continents.

 Anni Espar:

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Barcelona, 1993. What to say about the best player of the 2012 LEN. She has played in the United States where she triumphed and on her return to Spain she continues to reap success with her club CN Sabadell, three-time European Champion, among other national titles where the CNS sweeps. With Spain she has been the 2014 European Champion, 2013 World Champion, and won silver in the London Olympic Games. All a living legend despite her young age.

 Ana Copado:

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Terrasa, 1983. One of the best goalkeepers. Silver at the 2012 London Olympic Games. A long sporting career has made her a benchmark for many girls. An excellent person that when it was time to jump in the water she gave her best and when she wasn’t, she encouraged the most.

 Marta Bach:

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Mataró, 1993. Champion of the Trieste Pre-Olympic tournament (2012), 5ª in the European Championship in Eindhoven (2012), 11ª Shanghai World Championship (2011), 4ª in the Superfinal of the world league (2011) and champion of the Trieste Junior World Championship (2011). Silver in London 2012, Gold Barcelona 2013 and Budapest 2014. An essential player when she is called for the national team and a key piece of her club CN Mataró

Toni Esteller

BIWPA team has had the opportunity to interview Toni Esteller, an internationally renowned water polo coach.

Born in Barcelona in 1955, Esteller has been the National Spanish Water Polo Team coach, and his career has been linked to CN Barcelona water polo club, for more than 20 years.

Throughout this interview, you’ll see how his understanding of water polo is influenced from his strong personality, both in sport and in daily life.

Direct and sincere, he doesn’t mince words, he doesn’t leave anyone indifferent. We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we enjoyed talking to him.

Hi Toni! For those who do not know you, how will you define yourself as a coach?
My greatest attribute is the ability to understand the players: both in training and in matches. I can read what they do, what they think and how they act. I am very stubborn, or rather, very insistent. At all.

You have been the coach of your own son, Joel. How was the experience?
I was particularly demanding with him. As a coach, you are prepared for a lot of situations, but I think nobody is prepared to train their own blood. It’s almost impossible to separate the human side from the sport side, so imagine how difficult it was in those circumstances. As a coach, I was too hard with my son. He took it better than me, because he has endured impossible situations.

Toni Esteller

And how do you remember your time as the Spanish National Team coach?
I have different memories. I was very young, around 32 years old, when I started training the absolute team. And meanwhile, there was a boycott against me …

¿…?
Of C.N. Montjuïc. During my first year as national coach, I combined it with the task of coaching CN Catalunya. C.N. Montjuïc, one of my opponents in the Spanish league at the time, wanted to prove that being CN Catalunya’s coach while I was training the National Team could generate me a conflict of interest.

Was there such a conflict of interest?
I followed strictly sport reasons. Please remember that I accepted the federation’s proposal to train the absolute once the league had already begun. But Montjuïc’s team still thought that I would favor the C.N.Catalunya. Even after I select 8 Montjuïc’s players for the absolute team, the high pressure still continued.

How did you face that pressure?
I believe that everything that happens to you, teaches you as a coach and as a person. Not only the boycott teaches me. Also other things have formed me: the transition of the national water polo team; resign due to the differences with steering committee… All that set of feelings and experiences is what generates the learning of the individual and the coach, it’s a continuous process.

Why did you quit as the Spanish water polo team coach?
First of all, I went in and I found a boycott, and I thought: “What is this?!”. Then, after making the transition team, certain differences with the directive, about the approach of the Olympics in 1992, made me decide: I resigned. And I resigned only one and a half year before of achieving the dream of any water polo coach: be the Spanish National Team Coach for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Do you regret your decision?
It was hard. A lot. And I have to admit that at first, I didn’t want to live the Olympics, I would rather go on vacation. But my wife encouraged me to face the Olympics. And fortunately, Santi Carreras from Catalunya Radio, gave me the opportunity to live the experience of the Olympics as a journalist, working in their radio broadcasting. And I’ll always be grateful to him, because it was an amazing and different experience. So thanks to that, finally I really enjoyed the Olympic movement, in a way that I would never expect.

What do you think about water polo’s social consideration in our country?
We must be critical. In Catalunya we brag to be a multidisciplinary sports country. We are proud of our athletes, we have many Olympic, etc. But it isn’t enough. I can see more and more Franco’s time reminisces in politicians’ attitudes about sports issues. In Franco’s era, soccer and bulls were used as a political element. Currently, the soccer has some similar connotation, because a group of politicians uses this sport for achieving their own political considerations. I miss a more true, solid and clear support for the minority sports, like water polo needs.

What do you mean exactly?
The political elites fill their mouths every four years, or when we win a world hockey championship. But beyond that, in our day to day, that support doesn’t exist. I would like to make them understand that there is something more than the Barça-Madrid match in the Catalan sports life. And despite of being an FCB supporter – I’m a really culé-, I consider that the political elite is concerned to go to sports events only if they report them media presence, as Barça matches do. Furthermore, FC Barcelona is an entity that is fully consolidated at street! Politicians still go to their matches although the FCB does not require the political support. They should support all the other sports that really ‘needs them’, such as water polo.

Toni Esteller

But some political representatives have assisted to other sports matches, isn’t it?
Political elites have sport as a tool for the polls. The discourse of the political caste in relation to minority sports are all words, and only a few actions. The politicians just come to watch the matches of sports (considered native, or minority sports) on rare occasions or when the elections are close. It’s that clear.

What do you suggest?
I’d like Mr. Mas (Catalonia’s President) come to watch, for example, a water polo match at any time, and when no one expects him. Such a gesture would help to understand that there are more sports than football. With his presence, he would imply much more than sending the Councilor for Sports; and it would also help to disseminate and enhance the Catalan culture and our sports.

Is Catalonia a leader in water polo’s world?
In this country we have very valid ideas to support water polo, and another ones to support all the other ‘minority’ sports; but all of us need more. In water polo case, BIWPA’s project forward and shows that Catalans have much to say and to do for this water polo. So with a bit more institutional support, and social consideration, with CAR of Sant Cugat’s facilities, with all the clubs, the National Team, and along with many other agents, Catalunya can be erected in a short term as a major world leader in water polo, for sure.

What do you think about BIWPA’s project?
Featuring an unusual and highly dynamic approach, BIWPA’s project is already a solid reality. Very often, and for different reasons, clubs can not absorb the individual growth, and the development to the excellence, of each player. So, more and more, theses periods for sport technification are necessary and very useful, both for clubs and players. BIWPA is a very good new and  an attractive idea, so I want it to be a very successful platform, because it facilitates the improvement of any national or international player. This project goes far beyond the common concept of an entertainment sports program or camp. It is a serious commitment about the young water polo players and their improvement to achieve the sporting excellence.

Finally, could you answer with a few words to complete the sentences … ?
Beach or pool … beach.
A favorite food … ‘arroz a banda’, a south-catalonian typical rice cooked in fish broth, accompanied by alioli sauce.
Water polo is … a sport and a fantastic job.
A good-luck charm or ritual … I haven’t any now, but the last good-luck charm was my daughter’s doll: a green frog. It was funny because as my son was on the water, my daughter’s doll was in my hand.
A slogan to win … it doesn’t exist, that’s for books. I believe in preparation.
Toni esteller final blog2

Thank you for your time Toni!
Thank you too, and wish you all the best with BIWPA’s project

Anni Espar Llaquet (Barcelona , January 8, 1993 ) is one of the most valuable players in water polo’s world water; for that reason she was chosen as the best European player of 2012 by the LEN.

She started to play, when she was very young, at CE Mediterrani.  Then she combined swimming and water polo training, because Mediterrani makes children play both sports, until the kids grow up and choose one of them.

At that time, Anni also played basketball at school so she was playing three sports at once. But at 14 years she was in turning point:  she was offered the chance to train in the  Sant Cugat’s CAR  with a grant from the FC de Natació, so definitively she choose water polo as her sport.

In season 2009/2010 signed for the  CN Sabadell team, with sham she won all major titles : several Queen’s cups, 3  Spanish and a European Super Cup. An enviable list of triumphs which proves the high level of  this young water polo player .

Currently and since 2010, the Catalan plays with the Spanish international selection. At this category, Anni was proclaimed world champion at the 2013 Barcelona World Championships, and she also have been silver medallist in the 2012 Olympic Games, where her involvement was decisive to achieve so successful medal.

With the Spanish U-20 team, Anni won the gold medal at the 2011 Junior World Championships , and she also won the silver in 2013 , which was a new sample of  this talented athlete.

In the 2012/13 seasons, she won a scholarship to study at the University of Southern California in the U.S., where she joined the USC Trojans water polo team, which has been proclaimed as the NCAA’s champion team in 2013.

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Anni Espar, Silver medal in London 2012

Anni Espar’s successful athletic career, along with her human qualities, makes this player an exceptional ambassador for the BIWPA’s Easter Camp, the water polo campus which will be held during the Easter holidays in the CAR . Nobody like her to explain, convey and support the essential role that these type of initiatives,  such as the Easter Camp’s program or the  CAR, play on many of the best water polo players’ careers .

Anni told us: ” One of the best times of my life was certainly my unforgettable stay in Sant Cugat’s CAR. It was a unique experience and highly recommended. The environment around you is nice, both the treatment of coaches, teachers, like other colleagues or athletes. The values ​​I learned during that time have helped me to grow as a better player and person. The possibility to combine studies with sport is great, but it’s even better when you learn from it and enjoy it.

I want to thank BIWPA for this great initiative, which will not only promote our sport, but also to provide an opportunity for many people to live this good experience, that I’ve lived. ”

Anni Espar

Anni, Gold medal in BCN 2013

Definitely, at BIWPA’s we are all proud and honored to have the support of one of the greatest water polo players, not only in Spain also in the world. Thanks Anni, we cannot imagine a better ambassador for our Easter Camp than you.

At the beginning, I thought to talk about water polo as a sport with ephemeral success or about less social and media impact, but I am not going to appeal or complain for that, because I think this feeling should be put it behind. The point is that we are stronger because we are different, unique, and besides, we’re good. We cannot talk about minority sport attending the successful results (not only in recent seasons, but also past 2 decades), the outburst of women’s water polo, the number of clubs competing at lower levels and their technical improvement, the amazing coaching, etc. Of course we can improve more than that but this is not our feeling, at least in Catalonia where we work to be better every single day. We do things to go forward, not backwards.

If we take a look back, we find a golden 2013 year in terms of results, especially the female team: April 27th, CN Sabadell female proclaimed European Clubs Champion in Hungary, after a hellish environment in semifinals. On August 2nd, in Bernat Picornell pools in Barcelona, the Spanish Women National Team was, for the first time ever, World Champion, amid a frenzied crowd. The 25th of the same month, in Volos, Greece, the Spanish Juniors made silver medal in the World U20. And, to finish the round, the youngest, the sub17, 2 weeks later, on September 8th, made silver medal in Europe sub17 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Shortly and concisely speaking, the women’s water polo season has been spectacular. And if you take a look a little further back in time, we will see that this success is the result of a really hard work. Female silver medal in the London Olympics 2012, Female World Junior Champion in Trieste (Italy), and the silver medal the male Junior team in Greece in 2011. In the summer, the female sub17 made ​​3rd Europe in Madrid, and the male sub17 made also 3rd in Rijeka (Croatia), plus of the 1st European Cup Women won by CN Sabadell. I’ll throw no further to the head, but enough has been achieved in terms of medals and finals and semifinals played. Besides, I only speak about international results, because nationwide successes are indisputable for our water polo. And I speak for all water polo without recognizing gender or age.

Ferran Plana

Ferran in Portugalete 2014

My point of view is not to compare water polo with other sports, because everyone is working to their fullest potential in terms of the (human and material) resources available, but if we look at other sports in our country, it seems difficult to find any other with same success in different categories and genres (I quote only basketball, year after year busting all medalists in men and women at all ages. BRAVO for them!).

These memories of recent times do nothing more than highlighting the results and translate the many, many hours of work and volume of desire and enthusiasm invested in our sport, water polo, both the players, the technical staff and many other people (to say the least, they do absolutely everything) that are responsible for implementing sports programs for clubs and federations.

The Spanish level has also risen, as well as the number of clubs and the overall development of water polo, but the Catalan level (which is actually the one I have more knowledge of)
has exponentially increased in recent years in terms of players, equipment, and technical structure.  A huge evolution.

A clear example of that was what happened on October 6th, coinciding with the Catalan Cup of the National League, where 43 catalan women water polo players, were rewarded for their amazing season 2012-2013 (yes!, you read well, 43!) for having been international medalists in the last season, on top of the 5 technicians who were part of the successful staffs (both in National teams and clubs). All these awards are just the tip of the spear of a sport in many places regarded as a minority, but that we consider different and unique, and that in Catalonia is very powerful and has a very good health at all ages and genders. And as far as I know,water polo is also spreading widely outside Catalonia (Basque Country, Navarra, Zaragoza and Sevilla, to cite clear examples), and scramble every day to grow in every way and without thinking whether they are better, lower or equal: they work hard. And we do too.

However, the economic situation is very, very tough. Clubs think how to get through their low incomes without dropping their investment, in my opinion, in the most important thing, the lower categories and the formation of new young players. On the other hand, the water polo Federation tries to fit this technical needs with the economic situation of the clubs (short distance commuting, short tournaments, intensification of the weekends…). Do not forget that there is always the main idea that we are “professionals” of water polo (this expression does not go with work hours, salary, etc, but it goes with the availability that each of us has). Finally this is a sport, a right and a pleasure. Just a few of us have the privilege of educating through sport.

Water polo

Ferran Plana-spanish seleccion U18

We would like to go out a lot more in the media, but don’t be naive … our country (Spain or Catalonia; I will not go into this debate) has no sports culture generally speaking. In fact, it just has a soccer culture! And the rest goes behind, because what people read, watch and talk about is soccer, sometimes about basketball and of course about Alonso and Nadal. This is it! The rest has to “compete” to appear rarely in the media. And if we briefly show up (due tonational and international events) it means that we are doing well, very well. Even when instantly the society forgets our effort, we keep working, just to reappear again, most of the times thanks to very engaged fans following our victories and showing how self-sacrificing this sport is. If during the season, “we catch” any article, any document, any cuts in a sports or news program, this is more than welcome! And believe me, on a smaller scale so many clubs, federations, associations, coaches and players have entered in the 2.0 age: Twitter, Facebook, profiles, blogs, web pages... with the main purpose to show up and to spread among all of us the information that we want. Although slowly, for sure these new tools are approaching to us to the rest of the world. 

To finish with, I hope that I have achieved my goal with these lines: leave the banners and prejudices that see us as a minority sport. No excuses and worries anymore, we want solutions. Instead of complaining, we should change and fit in. The only way is to work hardly, as other minority sports do. This is the only philosophy and way: feeling completely full and confident, so that step by step, we gradually achieve the same vision of those who watch us from “outside “.

Equipo Nacional

Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish.

The third edition of the Water polo Open TURBO Christmas Cup took place the last weekend. The success of the past editions allowed to open this tournament to U10COED.  For this reason the competition took place in two different places: in the CN Sabadell and in the CN Molins de Rei.

This year 42 water polo teams signed up The Christmas Cup and more than 500 players participated in it.  Most of the teams were from Catalonia but were also teams from the rest of Spain and even one from France: The Duaphines de Sete.  This kind of tournaments are keeping the water polo alive and allow to this young players to play their sport in a festive environment.

The main idea of The Christmas Cup was from the Federació Catalana  and TURBO, this one as a promoter. This year they work together with CN Sabadell and CN Molins de Rei to celebrate this successful event.

We asked the children who participated in the tournament why they play water polo and what does it mean for them to play the Turbo Christmas Cup and this is what they answered:

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Marc Valls

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Marc Valls 2003, CN Barcelona

I love practicing water polo because this sport taught to me a lot of important things in my life. I learnt what sacrifice means and this helped to me to get better results.

I’ve got a lot of friend to this sport because we share our emotions together. The Christmas Cup means to me the excitement to play in a important tournament against other teams and of course to won this edition was very cool. Water polo is amazing!!!!!

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Mar Navarro

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Mar Navarro 2002, Club Natació Sant Feliu

I’m playing water polo since I was 6. I enjoy playing with my teammates but to practice every day after school is not easy at all. I should organize my free time to do my homework and my to prepare the exams.
This edition is my third one. I improve my water polo skills and I like this tournament because I play against a several teams. I would like to participate the next year but that means that U14 must be included.

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Nacho Bargalló

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Ignasi Bargalló García 2003, CN Barcelona

“I grew up following my sisters in their games so water polo is part of my life since I was little. The Christmas Cup has been a great experience to me and I’m very happy!, It has been a two intense days because we played against a lot of teams. There were very exciting matches and to arrive to the final and win the tournament it was the best.”

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Max Omedes

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Max Omedes Ribas 2002, Centre Natació Mataró

“Water polo is a team sport you must play very attuned with the rest of your teammates. I feel more agile in the water than outside, definitely I am feeling more confortable in there.

This was my 3rd edition of the Christmas Cup. During two days water polo has been the principal fact not only for the matches also for sharing time with your teammates and other players and at the end to get the first place it’s the most exciting experience.!”

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Berta Pastor García

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Berta Pastor García 2004 , Club Natació Terrassa

“I love playing water polo because it’s fun. I really enjoy meeting my friends every day at the pool to play with them
The coolest thing of this competition is the amount of Catalonian teams who are participating, even one from Zaragoza. The greatest part has been to share this experience with my teammates from the CN Terrassa.”

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Año nacimiento 2002

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Unai Aguirre 2002, Portero de CN Barcelona

“It’s a great experience to share in two days the passion for our sport, I’ve played two editions of the Christmas Cup and this year I’ve also been lucky enough to win. This kind of tournaments to permit to keep this sport alive.”
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Pau Vilar

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Pau Vilar 2003, CN Barcelona

“Playing water polo with my friends is the best experience to me. I enjoyed a lot participating in the in the Christmas Cup and to do our best as a team. To play against several teams allowed to us to get more connected between us.”

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