NATALIA PERFILYEVA – Good Teamwork Is a Key to Success
Natalia Perfilyeva, one of the candidates who is most likely to be a Junior National water polo team member, already participated in the European Championships last year. A continental tournament of such level was a debut for the player from Uralochka team. However, the event did not bring too many pleasant emotions since Team Russia did not win any medals and came fourth in the Championship. That is why this autumn our water polo players are in the spirit to even the score.
Q: Natalia, what do you think is Russian team’s strength? What could help you beat your opponents?
A: I think, as grand competition as World or European Championships calls for strong character. A complex of spirit, speed and tactics guarantees success and ensures medal-winning. And, of course, a team must be, in fact, a team. Not just random 13 players, but a united team whose member have one mind, so to say, and understand each other. In a word, we must have perfect teamwork.
Q: How long have you been practicing sports?
A: First, I was learning to swim for a year or so. Now, it’s almost eight years since I started playing water polo. I was 9 or 10 back then. Our school sent us to the swimming pool when we were kids. There was a health group that organized pool hours once a week, on Saturdays as far as I remember, for the children to learn to swim. Then, our teacher stopped taking us there, so, I decided to go on with training myself as I wanted to swim well. I was swimming and that’s where I swam to! (laughs) When I became good I was transferred to the team trained by Margarita Eduardovna Skalina where I really started practicing for the water polo.
Q: Was there anything particularly hard you have to overcome at the beginning?
A: I don’t even remember how hard it was. At least I don’t think there was anything particular that was hard. Training load was pretty tough, but I was just a kid so I recovered fast and it did not feel too difficult to deal with. At least I don’t remember it.
Q: Do you recall your first big achievement?
A: Sure, very vividly! It was a Championship in Nizhny Novgorod region, not a very big event, yet, stirring enough. Then, there was Russian Championships and a first big victory. I was so happy and excited! It was absolutely dreamlike, no words can say. Actually, any victory evokes these feelings, it can never get boring, I guess.
Q: Still, there must be something that has stuck in your memory?
A: -Yes, there’s something. For me it’s the time we won 2009 All-Russia Spartakiad for school children in Penza. I remember it distinctively, probably, because we won it by a head! We were just one goal ahead of our opponent. During the game we fell three goals behind, as far as I recollect, but then we evened out and scored the last goal in one and a half period only. It was the most remarkable event!
Q: Does it make any difference if the Championship is organized at home or somewhere else?
A: There is almost no difference… It feels calmer at home, here I mean life conditions. Once you start the game there is no such thing as “being at home”. Why should it matter? The only thing that’s important is the game, at least for me. The support is significant, no doubt. Although, when you are in the game you don’t hear anything. When the team scores that’s when we can hear the fans!
Q: Do athletes have any free time?
A: Just a little! (smiles) Sometimes there’s time to meet with friends, go to the movies, but it doesn’t happen as often as one might wish. Studies are the biggest problem! The teachers are very understanding, though, I am very grateful for that! Time is even not the most important thing. Sometimes it seems impossible to find the strength to do something extra in between morning and evening training.
Q: Do get tired of one another in the course of a season? You meet the same people every day. Does tension ever appear?
A: I don’t know what to say… I never felt like I did not want to see other girls. The other thing, there’s a wish to take a break from all this. Not the people, but the rhythm – everyday training, pool and gym… This is what I get tired of, but girls – never!
Q: Do you ever feel lazy to wake up early in the morning?
A: I wouldn’t say so… It’s like a reflex you develop over the years of training! (laughs) You wake up, go to the swimming pool – it’s almost done automatically. I have to do it and there’s no way out of it. You don’t consider going or not going, you just go there. When you are in the pool, though, that’s where you need to push yourself! The thing is that the sense of responsibility becomes stronger with every year. You don’t really get it first, despite coaches telling you about it. Then you get older and realize how serious this is and how much you have professionally grown. You cannot be careless, you can only work wholeheartedly.