Iím Scott Carpenter, a member of the British Menís Water Polo Team. You can follow my progress on 606 as London 2012 approaches.
A lot has happened since I last posted. In July I had an operation on my nose, throat and sinusí followed by some time out of the pool. Thankfully that was successful so now Iím breathing a lot more freely than before.
Iím now writing from Terrassa in Spain, 20 minutes from Barcelona. I have signed to play for CN Terrassa this season in the Spanish Premier Division. Itís a great opportunity as the Spanish league is one of the most prestigious and no British players have had the chance to play here before. Luckily Rob Parker and I have both been offered a place at the same club, so itís good to have a team mate who speaks English and we can help each other get to grips with the culture and language.
Rob and I are sharing a flat with the teamís other overseas player, a Polish goalkeeper, and we live right at the entrance to the club, so everything is on our doorstep. Iím way out of my depth with my GCSE Spanish but Iím doing my best to learn some each day. Itís a big year for our development so itís great to be training and playing at such a high level each week.
Our first games are in the Champions League from 24th-26th September which will be a huge experience to play in. We have been drawn against the German, Turkish and Slovakian Champions so there will be no easy games to get up to speed.
There is a real optimism around the town for the coming season, but also a bit of curiosity about the new British players. My first pre-season session was in the gym with a television cameraman stood a metre from my face while I tried to translate what the coach was saying and concentrate on training. This was followed by a TV press conference (with a translator fortunately) so itís a bit different to back home.
Another major difference is that we train from 12-2 and 7-9pm here rather than 6am back home, which I can definitely get used to. The Spanish also donít eat their evening meal until about 10 oíclock so Iím trying to adjust my body clock to these changes. The first session of the day is one hour weights, one hour swimming. On the evening it is 2 hours made up of swimming, tactics, leg drills, shooting and game play.
Last season Terrassa finished 2nd in the League which was a good result, so hopefully we can go well again this year. The last time I came to Barcelona was 2003 on a GB Junior Camp where we met the worldís most famous water polo player, Ivan Perez. I was amazed by how enormous he was. We were all given a poster of him which is still on my wall back home in Durham. Yesterday I played a pre-season game against Ivan and his team, CN Barcelona, so itís strange to think how things have changed. I donít think he remembered meÖ
Rob and I will be travelling back and forth during the season, similar to last year in Australia, to represent GB in the European Qualifiers and perhaps the Commonwealths. This may mean we miss some Spanish League games, but itís difficult to balance everything so we will take it a week at a time.