The best statements from our Interview Week on Instagram Live
Highlights from the chats with Álvaro Granados, Kirk Everist, Mark Laurlund, Sandro Campagna, Mike Bodegas and Laura Ester
With the current coronavirus situation, we have no other option but to adapt. For that reason, we launched the Interview Week section on our Instagram account, where we interviewed six important figures from the water polo world.
Álvaro Granados, player for Spanish national team and CNAB
Olympic Games: "The biggest setback during the confinement was clearly the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. We had a lot of momentum with the national team after the silver medal in Budapest and we were very optimistic."
Beginnings with water polo: "Until I turned 16 I was a very normal player, but I got into the high performance center CAR, an opportunity that allowed me to improve a lot. After two years playing for the senior team of Terrassa, Atlètic-Barceloneta called me."
Studies and water polo: "At CAR I had all means to combine two practices a day with my studies. I think what you do at BIWPA is very good for water polo, it is a great opportunity for players from all over the world to be able to do train twice a day, keep up with their studies and make the most out of it."
A tip for young players: "They have to be passionate about water polo. Hard work and effort are also important. But if it really is their dream, they will have to be ready to give up many things like going out to party or hanging out with friends."
Playing in other European leagues: "Now I am very focused on Barceloneta and very happy there, but I like the Italian and Hungarian leagues."
Kirk Everist, Head Coach Cal Men's Water Polo Team
College recruitment: "It depends on the year and the positions. Obviously, we look at guts and courage in the pool, players that are able to step up. But it depends year to year and how they are going to fit in on your particular team."
You have a lot of European players. Why? "I like the diversity of styles, cultures and personalities. It might be just me as a person that enjoys mixing all of those groups together and try to make them go in the same direction. Putting all the styles together is challenging but I have enjoyed it."
Success means... "If I can say at the end of a season that I coached a good water polo team, I think that is success. You might have a lot of talent, but if the players are not a unit, you are probably not going to be successful. You need talent and unity together. That is what I consider success, even if a trophy does not come along."
Experience water polo outside of the US: "I think any development of the sport and getting international experience is important. It is a different pace and style, so you want to challenge yourself as an athlete, grow up, become more mature... I think it is a very good way to develop as a person and see the sport at a different level than you might have the opportunity here in the US."
A tip for young coaches: "It is important to be yourself, I think this is one of the biggest things as a coach. Do not try to be like one specific coach if it is not your personality. Find your own style."
Smart players: "Quickness, intelligence, thinking ahead. Use your head, be smart, and you can be successful. Some of the best players in the world are not the biggest."
Mark Laurlund, BIWPA Academy athlete committed to UCLA
First experience in Spain as a high school freshman: "I did not want to go to Spain by myself, but my parents kind of pushed me and I felt in love with Barcelona. It is one of the best experiences I could have done. That really prepared me for the real world and having better communication skills and experience different things."
A future at UCLA: "I feel amazing, I feel like I have been working towards this goal my whole life. It is still kind of unreal and I do not know still how to think about it, but I am so prepared and excited. I believe that UCLA works you harder than any other college, I felt like at UCLA the coaching staff and the players are all united for the same goal".
How did BIWPA help you? "I believe my water polo experience in Barcelona helped me to get into UCLA, as well as the contacts that BIWPA Academy and Quim Colet have with D1 colleges. I talked to a lot of college coaches during the recruitment process and they all believe that it is a really good thing to go and experience something like BIWPA, because there is nothing like it in California."
Barcelona and water polo: "I think Barcelona is one of the best cities to grow up and play water polo. The league system is very competitive and fun honestly, with league games every weekend. The training is more intense and the style of play more aggressive."
Sandro Campagna, Head Coach Italy Men's National Water Polo Team
A winning philosophy: "Every time there is a new competition, I start with the philosophy to win every time. All the players have to feel this from the coach. I have been with three generations, so this is very important."
Very strong national teams in Europe: "The last decade Serbia dominated water polo in the world, but now many other teams are very close: Hungary, Spain, Italy, Croatia and also Montenegro. I think this is very good."
New rules: "I like a lot the new rules, I think that they allow 'normal body' players to be important. Not only the new rules but also the criteria of the referees, they do not allow any fights and they prefer movement over static players. I think this is very good and benefitial for fast teams."
Your career with the Settebello: "I want to finish with the 2024 games in Paris. I am still young so why not I could coach a team in Italy or in other leagues in Europe."
Club teams in Europe: "There are a lot of European clubs that are doing a great job, in different ways. Recco are trying always to sign the best players in the world, but other clubs such as CNAB prefer to grow their players. They are two of the best clubs in Europe for me. Also the Hungarian clubs are doing a great job, and Olympiacos."
Mike Bodegas, player for Italian national team and CNAB
From Pro Recco to CNAB: "I have been in contact with Barceloneta for 5 years. Recco wanted to propose me another contract, but I needed something new, learn a new culture, a new style of water polo. It is important to have new challenges to keep the motivation going. Barcelona is an amazing city, I love its energy and good vibes."
Quarantine: "It is an opportunity to get interest for new things, become a better person, a better player, and bring something better to the world. That is what I am trying to do; I learn, teach my kid, read, watch videos, etc. Things that could be useful for the future."
Level in Spain: "I was surprised by the level of the other teams in Spain. Everyone thinks Barceloneta is unbeatable, but a lot of teams have top players and it has not been easy so far."
Marketing and water polo: "I think marketing and branding of teams is very important, in all sports. I think it is important to use all the tools that we have, social media, Internet... It is free and everybody has a device nowadays. We need to put the players in the spotlight so the youngsters and the fans can be identified with them."
Laura Ester, goalie for Spanish national team and CN Sabadell
Cancelation of the Spanish leagues: "It is a complicated situation, but considering we were only halfway and we still had to play the playoff, I think the best thing would be to declare the title null . Maybe it is a selfish decision but I think it is the fairest option."
Women's water polo in Spain: "I said it from the beginning of the season after all the new signings from the other clubs, I think it is a very good thing for the competition and also for the fans, as they have the chance to watch more exciting games."
Olympic Games in 2021: "It would have not been fair for the public and the athletes to celebrate the Olympics with the coronavirus situation. My fear was that they would be canceled. We will have to wait for one year, but the motivation is intact."
The key of the Spanish national team: "The good thing about this team is that after we win a medal, the first thing we do is to focus on the next competition and train hard again to be able to compete against the best."
Tips for goalies: "The key is the mind, goalies go through many ups and downs and it is very important to be self-confident, otherwise you will not feel strong enough to endure a demanding game. Communication with the defense is also very important."