It was the year 2005 when the national coach of the French rowing team, Thomas Wallyn, proposed to his pupils a session of water walking on the beaches of Dunkirk (Normandy).
What initially was a specific muscle training methodology for this discipline, gained followers among the French public - it was registered, thanks to the Federation Randonnée Pédestre, at the Ministry of Sports - until today there are more than 150 clubs that They practice this sport in France.
The aquatic march consists of moving on foot through the sea in the fastest possible way, with or without a self-propelled instrument -usually an oar- depending on the modality.
The level of immersion is located between the navel and the armpits of the competitor (required by the judges or referees and called Good Level of Immersion or BNI).
The data places 2018 as the date of entry of this sport to the peninsula, with the beaches of Catalonia being pioneers -especially those of Tarragona- and this is the only Autonomous Community where the aquatic march enjoys recognition and federative gear.
The Federació d'Excursionistes de Catalunya, which governs water walking in the Catalan territory, was then interested in this sport and hosted a delegation from the French federation, which gave a series of courses explaining the regulations and basic notions to those interested. of sport.
After a few years of boom in Catalonia, water walking is currently practiced at the Club Aritjol, the Salouenc Club, the Cambrils Excursionist Centre, the Catalunya Excursionist Centre, the Tiana-Montgat Club and the Alliberadrenalina Club.
Catalonia has -for the second consecutive year- its own team made up of male and female athletes, who participated in the 2021 international championship in Hyeres (France) and in the 2022 edition held in Roses (Girona), where, in both, the French team was the big winner.
The suitability of water walking for sports with practically no physical limitations, as Sergi Cebrián comments, is one of the main advantages of this sport modality.
"That it does not involve risk of injury is an attraction for many people who are starting out in this world," explains the Catalan coach.
The variety of modalities of the aquatic march (classified according to the distance -from 50 to 800 meters-, by the use or not of the oar, or by competing in pairs or individually) favor the reach of this sporting activity to people with different abilities and different physical levels.
"It can be practiced by a person who weighs 50 kg and one who weighs 100 kg," says Sergi Cebrián.
The water walk will debut next summer at the third edition of the Beach Mediterranean Games, which will be held in Heraklion (Greece) with a view to being able to premiere at the next edition of the Mediterranean Games -which will be the twentieth-, scheduled for 2026 in Taranto (Italy).
With a bit of luck, we will see Sergi and Joan there -portrayed by Isaura Marcos in this photo session at the Pedralbes monastery in Barcelona for Las Fotos de los Lectores de La Vanguardia. They are two sports lovers whose effort to achieve the development of water walking in Catalonia and Spain is tireless.