Jadran Herceg Novi celebrates its 100th birthday this year. One of the best water polo clubs in the ex-Yu countries was founded in the summer of 1922.
On the occasion of the jubilee, Total Waterpolo will publish the most interesting stories about Jadran’s history, written by Boro Mračević.
FROM THE MILAŠINOVIĆS’ BEACH TO THE ŠKVER (1922 -1931)
It all began in the western part of Herceg Novi, in Topla, in front of the Mill at the Milašinović’s beach, where the rowing and sailing club Jadran was founded and divided into the following sections: swimming, tennis, and clay target shooting.
Its founders were respectable citizens of the town: Tomislav Sambunjak – President of the Court and the first president of the Club, Gojko Gojković – a merchant and long-term director of the “Boka” hotel; dr Veselin Mrđen – the town’s doctor; Josip Buzolić – the town’s dentist; brothers Milovan and Kosta – Kole Milašinović, who ceded their land to be used by the Club for its activities.
With the blessings of the Town Administration, an appropriate ceremony was held in front of the small kayak hangar on 8 July 1922 to mark the beginning of the Club’s activities.
The name “Jadran” and the flag, which were designed by Josip Buzolić according to the old Townsmen, have been carried by its members and fans with pride from the first day and so for a full hundred years.
In the beginning, the Club’s activities were mainly rowing. Swimming became topical as early as the summer of 1922.
The first water polo activities started in 1925, when young fellow townsmen of Herceg Novi: Stevo Mrđen, Mirko Sardelić, Vito Vujić, Žarko Porobić, Branko Marović, Đorđe Perčinović, Špiro Doklestić, Karlo Benusi, Đuro Mrđen, Tonći Vujić and Branko Doklestić gathered at the bathing area of the “Boka” hotel and formed a team named “Bijela vila” (White Fairy).
On the other side of town – at the “Trana”, an another team was born – “Spjaža” or “Bobovac”, which consisted of: Ivo Srgota, Josip Bepo Benković, Božo Kontić, Bobo Rundo, Konrad Kuzmanić, Nikša Sekulović, Janko Vučetić, Andro Bjeladinović, Branko Ćorović and Andro Klisura.
These two teams played their first match in the early summer of 1926. “Bijela vila” won 4:2, and it is considered the first played water polo match ever in Herceg Novi. The match was refereed from a boat by the naval officer Ivan Havel.
The continuity was achieved by merging swimming and water polo sports activities from all parts of the Town, which happened in June 1926, in the building of the National Home at that time (Town Cafe today), and the Swimming Club Jadran was formed.
The Club got an embankment from the “Jadranska straža” (Adriatic Guard) at that time a portion of the aquarium near the western embankment in the Town Port and a small ground-floor house, which was used as a clubhouse until 1962.
So Jadran came to the cult place of Škver, where it is also today.
The new management of the club was elected. The president was dr Veselin Mrđen, and in 1928 the presidency was assumed by Josip Buzolić. The secretary was Žarko Porobić, who was replaced in 1928 by Branislav Doklestić. The treasurer was Martin Sager, whereas Uroš Stanišić was a very active management member.
The first matches were organized with the teams of the English and French fleets anchored in the Bay of Kotor.
With constant training of swimmers and water polo players, there was an increasing interest in the Club, and a good cooperation was achieved with the clubs of Dubrovnik – Paladur, Građanski and Jug
Early in 1928, Jadran was registered with the Swimming Federation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was founded in Zagreb on 2nd October 1921.
The first match against Primorac was played in Kotor on 2nd September 1930, and Jadran recorded a 6:1 victory. Ever since then, the rivalry between these two great clubs of the Bay of Kotor has been lasting for 92 years. This rivalry in addition to all noted above marked the first decade of Jadran.
FIRST COMPETITIONS, NIGHT MATCHES AND CUPS (1932 – 1941)
The 1930s were the years of consolidation and more organized and better quality work of the Club. More and more young people of Herceg Novi used to come to Škver to train on a daily basis. Swimming and water polo became deeply rooted and very popular in the Bay of Kotor.
More and more competitions were being organized. Maybe the name of these competitions – the “Olympics on the water” – hinted even then at a strong desire of the Herceg Novi people that Jadran become what it is today – a club with more than five hundred cups won at both national championships and European competitions. The “Olympics on the water” were organized in Herceg Novi, Škver, Kotor, and Tivat.
A former player, agile Bogdan Nenadović, was appointed the Secretary of the Club in 1933 and performed this function until the beginning of World War II in 1941.
Jadran’s juniors, swimmers and water polo players all those years participated in competitions and achieved notable results throughout Yugoslavia. The good work of the first water polo team with the coach Mario Ile gave results, and Jadran won for the first time the right to take part in the final tournament of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in Dubrovnik in 1935. Successful performance and the 2nd place gave a bit of momentum and willpower for more extensive and better quality training.
In September 1935, the first-ever night water polo game in the history of sports in Montenegro was held at the Škver. Witt lighting made fishing lamps lined up around the playing place, Jadran defeated the Ljubljana-based Ilirija(3:2)
In 1936, the first team players participated with the same coach in the final water polo tournament in Maribor and won fourth place. That year, Jadran had its first international swimming and water polo encounters, unless we count the traditional matches with the foreign ships’ crews. Herceg Novi was the host of the swimming and water polo club Mak, which acted as a national team of Hungary. More experienced guests were also more successful in these encounters. In addition to sports activities, the Club organized also entertainment events.
In 1937, the first lighting was set up at the swimming pool of Jadran, as a part of the electrification of the town. From that day onward, all games were played at night.
In the same year, Jug Dubrovnik’s former player and coach ambitious Ismet Prcić was appointed head coach of the senior team. He led the team at the final tournament Championships Yugoslavia in Dubrovnik, where Jadran club won 4th place.
The water polo players competing at the national championships in those years were as follows: Mirko Tapavica – the goalkeeper and the son of Momčilo Tapavica, the first participant ever in the Olympic Games from the territory of Ex-Yugoslavia, which took place in Athens in 1896, then Karlo Benusi, Anđelko Ježić, Đuro Mrđen, Miroslav Tenžera, Tripo Klisura, Anton Tenžera, Uroš Kalinić, Boško Korlaet, Vaso Sladović and Đorđe Senić.
The biggest success was achieved by the swimmers at the Junior Championship of the Serbian Swimming Federation in 1938, when they won 1st place.
That same year 1938, the water polo players had for the first time a foreign coach – famous Hungarian water polo player Enrea Lanji.
All these achievements contributed to Jadran getting a big assignment, but also the honor and obligation from the Swimming Federation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to organize the National Junior Swimming and Water Polo Championship, held in August 1939. Extensive preparations were made for such an important and big competition with the participation of numerous teams. A swimming place was made, It was floating on three sides using barrels, whereas wooden stands were placed on the fourth side. The entire area was arranged and decorated. The greatest contribution to this so successful organization was given by the Club’s President Josip Buzolić and Secretary Bogdan Nenadović.
Upon completion of this competition, the whole swimming and water polo family got informed of and recognized the high-quality and good organization provided by Jadran of Herceg Novi.
In addition to the best water polo players of that time, it is worthy of note that the best male and female swimmers were: Natalija and Valentina Tarasova, Marija Vučković, Doroteja Petrović, Svetozar Bubalo, Karlo Benusi, Krsto Bato Vranković, Rade Vidović and Vojislav Vojo Ćorović.
The crowning achievement of the Jadran’s water polo is considered to be the first place at the Junior Championship of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was held in Belgrade in August 1940.
This wonderful story and the successes were interrupted by World War II, when many members of Jadran replaced their swimsuits and caps with guns.
SPORTS AND PATRIOTIC SCHOOL (1942 – 1951 )
Since its inception, Jadran used to gather the best youths of Herceg Novi and to teach its members – brave young men – the best lessons of sacrifices for freedom. They responded courageously to the flames of World War II. A large number of the total of 64 registered club members, until 1941, replaced the sports arena with uniforms and guns and entered the war.
Some of them ended in camps, mostly in the Mamula prison. Fourteen of them lost their lives, and had no opportunity to enjoy the freedom! With special respect and piety we write their names: Boro Amanović, Josip Bepo Benković, Dušan Grakalić, Vladimir Lazović, Jugole Grakalić, Mihailo Mišo Mustur, Krsto Bato Vranković, Vitomir Klun, Vojislav Vojo Ćorović, Milivoj Dukić, Mato – Raža Perušković, Svetozar Bubalo and Lazar Lalo Vučković. A testimony that goes beyond time – almost a quarter of the Jadran’s members died. An example of patriotsm worth of celebration and remembrance!
During the occupation, the Italian authorities tried several times to revive the activities at the Škver. Every time without success. Jadran was decisive – not with the occupier!
On the other hand, Jadran was the first club that revived its activities after liberation. In April 1945, Bogdan Nenadović was appointed its new president, and Branislav Brane Doklestić became its new secretary.
In September 1945, Jadran went to the first post-war swimming and water polo championship, which was organized in Ljubljana, and played as a national team of Montenegro. Škver and Jadran definitely became the right place for the youth of Novi, and the number of its member is rising rapidly.
In December 1946, after Nenad Bogdanović moved to Belgrade to take the post of General Secretary of the Swimming Federation of Yugoslavia, Josip Bepo Buzolić was appointed the new-old president (he was already president in the period from 1928 through 1941), whereas Arsenije Arso Stanišić was appointed the secretary of the Club.
The Second water polo league was formed in 1948, and Jadran joined the league immediately.
The Swimming Federation of Montenegro was formed in Herceg Novi on 22nd April 1949, with Milan Vukasović as president, Josip Buzolić as vice president, and Tripo Klisura as secretary.
Dominating the Montenegrin swimming and water polo scene, the first team players of Jadran made a great success in 1950. They won the national title at the Second League and gained the first-league status for the next year 1951.
They secured Jadran a place in the first league: Mijo Fažo (goalkeeper), Karlo Benusi, Dušan Duje Ćorović, Vasilije Bato Ćuković, Đorđe Đona Budeč, Tripo Klisura and Trifun Miro Ćirković, whereas Đuro Dabelić of Dubrovnik was both the player and the coach.
At the competition with the First Water Polo League, held in Dubrovnik, Jadran won 7th place, but the championship was canceled due to a disputed match between Jug and Jadran of Split, with no national champion declared.
With its every powerful stroke, the Club rushed into the next decade full of successes and trophies.