And the tradition of both is long and rich.
We’ve already written about waterpolo in Korčula in the past, about the successes of the professional teams, as well as an amazing amateur competition that takes place every summer. The centre of all those water-sports related events in Korčula is Korčulanski Plivački Klub (very often abbreviated to KPK, Korčula Swimming Club), which was in the past located at a venue near the town centre, at an open-water swimming pool.
Almost every kid in Korčula, male or female, living in Korčula or just visiting during the summer, went through some sort of swimming school in KPK. It’s just a part of the tradition of being Korčulan, you go to KPK. Those that prove good or talented either stay in swimming, or start training in water polo, hoping to play for the local club at whichever level the club manages to achieve that season. The club was founded in 1930, and after international successes in the past, currently the senior team plays in the regional competitions, while younger categories have had bigger success on the national stage in the past.
The recent growth in the club is the consequence of the fact that in 2012, a closed swimming pool was opened in Korčula, allowing for training for young swimmers and water polo players during the winter months, and higher quality of work with the players. It has also made possible for more clubs and teams to come to Korčula for training during colder months, so that is not limited to the period of summer tourist season, when everything in Korčula is dedicated to tourism. So, Croatian national swimming team is currently in Korčula, on a week-long intensive training camp that includes the best seniors Croatia has, as well as a group of the best Croatian juniors – 36 swimmers overall. Some of the best swimming coaches in Croatia are with them (including Mario Todorović, a former Croatian swimming Olympian and current KPK head coach), and the part that’s most amazing for Korčula is that three of the most promising young Korčulan swimmers are training with them: Ana Farac, Toni Grbin i Petar Belić.
Another amazing piece of news for Korčulan water polo is that one of the best young players from KPK, Tin Fabris, having moved to Zagreb to go to university, signed and started playing for Zagreb’s Mladost, a club that still claims that they are the best water polo club in the world! Although not as strong as they used to be in the past (Mladost were European champions 7 times in the past), it’s still a great career move for a young player, and hopefully he’ll be sucessful in his new club, and eventually come back to play for KPK some more!