May 18, 2021

From olympic to television star: this is Ona Carbonell's technology | Innovation

From olympic to television star: this is Ona Carbonell's technology | Innovation

From the age of 14, Ona Carbonell (Barcelona, ​​1990) is part of the national team of synchronized swimming. He has won 92 medals throughout his professional life, getting the silver in the JJ OO in London 2012. This week he has been a double protagonist, winning the Supernet award from Cartoon Network, for his desire to excel, work in team and constancy, and the third edition of Masterchef Celebrity, for its expertise in the kitchen.

Twin-cam wonder

The first thing that Ona Carbonell highlights is the advance in biomechanics, with recordings outside and inside the water that provide essential information to improve times and coordinate all movements in a millimetric way. The swimmers are monitored with an advanced image processing system through a camera that records movements, speed, turbulence of the body … "Keep in mind that we are upside down, with humidity, with music, with little vision – because when you compete you do it without glasses-, synchronizing with the partner … Our day to day consists of 'trial – error' and head down is very difficult to know if you are gone, if you are short, if you are straight … Our coach corrects us, but with these recordings we can see each other at the same time on a screen. "

As if it were the mirror in a ballet class, postures and errors are corrected through the screen, with the added possibility of emitting the images in slow motion. "A program tells you exactly in what second you made the mistake. Years ago these advances did not exist in synchronized swimming and it was much more difficult to improve. At the Olympics they now use a Japanese camera that is spectacular. " Since London 2012, where he won the Olympic silver ("the biggest I've ever lived as an athlete") the Twin-cam is able to offer swimmers in and out of the water in a single image, just like a 3D camera, but with two objectives, one aquatic and the other, on the surface, which the camera then fuses and emits as a single image.

Rihanna with underwater speakers

"Without the underwater speakers we would not have been able to practice our sport", confesses the swimmer, who listens to the themes for her choreography both inside (the small speakers that are submerged in the pool) and out of the water (with a portable sound system). "With the underwater speakers the music can be heard even better than from the outside. If the pool does not have speakers, we use underwater headphones that the Federation provides, which are placed on the cap and are only used during training. " In this way, the trainer synchronizes with the swimmers, is able to mark the exact minute of the song and give them more precise corrections.

Music is a basic element in synchronized swimming. "It's much more motivational to listen to Rihanna, for example. You have to express with music. All the choreography starts from a song. If you choose Queen, the swimsuit and the choreography will be inspired by Queen. " He says he uses Spotify and, in the car, CDs that he records with his favorite songs, some of them discovered thanks to Shazam: "The application has become essential. There's nothing worse than listening to an ideal song for a choreography and not knowing what it is. "

Less mobile and more Facetime

With routines of up to eight hours a day, little time recognizes Ona Carbonell to pay attention to the mobile. Moreover, it reveals an unchangeable norm, which the coach suggested to them and which follows strictly with its companions. "Since we spent all day together, it did not make much sense that at the time of the breaks we would each look at the phone, so we decided that breakfast, lunch and dinner were prohibited, as well as one hour before and one hour after training. " Personally recognizes that he has come phenomenal rejection of his partner to technology: "My boyfriend does not have WhatsApp or social networks. He's so tired that if I ask him to take a picture, he says no. "

However, the morriña is the morriña, and as she spends a good part of her life traveling and competing abroad she appreciates any way of communicating with the family. "Above all, where you can see the face, either by Skype or Facetime. In my penultimate World Cup, the one in Kazan in Russia in 2015, I had the semifinal in the morning and the final in the afternoon and I was very nervous. The fact that I was able to see my parents through Facetime and that they could reassure me, made me regain my self-confidence. "

Contacting your followers through social networks is also something that comforts you. "Before it was impossible to approach certain people, now with Twitter (60,500 followers) or Instagram (172,000) is much easier. Many girls write me to ask me what is the name of the device with which I make the insteps or what I eat before competing. When I started I did not have that accessibility with my sports referents. It happened to me with the French Virginie Dedieu. Through lnstagram we became partners and then became my coach for a long time, in a friend. " It also updates its own website (, a space that serves, above all, "to be up to date".

The advice of Craviotto

Ona Carbonell recognizes that the day he stops competing is designed. "I like the futuristic style of Isai Miyaki, but also the simplest fashion. The balance between the two is what interests me the most ". You have started creating a collection of swimsuits for Taymory The latest generation, using Softspeed fabric, whose key is in its composition with elastane Lycra Xtra Life, a material that, unlike conventional swimsuits, makes it more resistant while flexible and soft. "The fabric repels water, resists oils, creams, saltpeter and chlorine. The swimsuit, even when wet, does not weigh. It is thin, lasts a lot, adapts to the body and does not wrinkle. It's a swimsuit that I use eight hours a day and that can last me two years, something incredible. " Flowers, parrots, clouds, fish, cupcakes … all the drawings are made by hand. "Photoshop is fatal to me. I have no choice but to go through the Illustrated, but whenever I can I like a pencil or a charcoal. "

His other great challenge this year, and that has increased more if possible its popularity, has been to participate in Masterchef Celebrity, and win without knowing anything about cooking, with tenacity. "To prepare, the first thing I did was watch all the programs on the documentary Chef's Table on Netflix. I was also helped by the web of online classes of the Masterchef School. But, above all, I followed the advice of Saúl Craviotto [el piragüista ganó la segunda edición de Masterchef Celebrity], who told me: 'Go to all the restaurants you can and the rest, you study'. I remember that I thought what it meant to study cooking. Then I realized everything that covers, techniques, cuts, a thousand things … ".

Fear with 'Black Mirror'

Swim, design, cook … it seems that Ona Carbonell can with everything. Or, is there something that can not be resisted? "I could say that I'm allergic to technology. I am one of those people who plays something and it does not work and another one arrives and fixes it. And something I'm not good at is with video games. I realized when trying to get my driver's license: I did not approve because I failed the test of the controls. I was unable and I had to present a second time. " Technological evolution is afraid of losing "the human component": "I spent watching the Black Mirror series, what a horror to end like that. The human being is unique and there are no machines that can supplant us in many aspects ". Therefore, if he could be transported to a virtual world he does not doubt it, he would do so with his own. "A world that is hot, that I am a whopper; outdoors, that's for sure, and accompanied by the people I love. "


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