Rob Parker Blog - October
Follow Rob Parker’s journey as he competes for club and country playing Water Polo around the world. In this update, Rob reviews his first few weeks for new club, CN Terrassa of Spain, as he competes in competitions domestically and in Europe.
I arrived in Barcelona straight from our tournament in Slovakia and was met by the coach and taken to what will be my apartment for the next 10 months.
I was told that the rest of the team didn’t start training for a week so I had some one-on-one coaching until Scott (Carpenter, GB teammate also playing for Terrassa) turned up a couple of days later. This week was one of the hardest I’ve ever done with gym sessions everyday followed by long swims and lots of legs to finish.
We met the team for the first time on the Monday in the gym where we were also faced with the local news crew putting cameras in our faces while we tried to do our gym sets. Later that week it got even more surreal when we had a press conference which was translated for us about the season ahead.
Training was very intense for the three weeks leading up to the first round of the LEN EuroLeague (the Champions League of Water Polo). We were in the gym 12-1 followed by swim sets from 1-2, then back in the pool for training matches from 8-9.30 where there are no subs so you are constantly playing for 90 minutes.
There are also 8 teams from the Spanish Division 1 in the Barcelona area so on top of this training we were playing two or three training games a week against top teams.
After this pre-season I was feeling ready for the EuroLeague which was held in Kosice, Slovakia. The tournament was very tough but we managed to beat the Turkish champions Galatasary to qualify for the 2nd round of the LEN Trophy.
The tournament finished on the Sunday and we arrived home on the Monday midday but had to train straight away on Tuesday morning as we had the Catalan Cup (top eight teams from Barcelona area) starting on the Tuesday afternoon.
The tournament was on a knock-out basis and in the first round we drew Barcelona - one of the top three teams in the league. They have also just signed Ivan Perez so I was looking forward to playing against one of the best centre forwards in the world.
There was also the added pressure of Terrassa defending the title so it was important to win which we did 11-3. The semi-final was against a lower ranked team and we won 10-5.
Our opponents in the final where as expected Barcenoletta. They have six or seven Spanish internationals and have only been beaten once in the last 3 years in Spain. The game was very close but we lost 5-4 - a shame as we were 3-0 up at half time. But a silver medal to start the season for me and Scott.
Now I have three more weeks until the season starts but in that time I have another tournament for Terrassa in Spain, then the second round of the LEN Trophy before I fly straight back to Manchester to prepare for our first European qualification game against Georgia.
I'm looking forward to this game as we need to beat them in order to give us a chance of qualification. However, we found out recently that the Georgian team have done what Macedonia did a few years back and have brought lots of players so this game should be very interesting but I am confident.