Taking advantage Clara Espar has spent the Christmas holiday with his family in Barcelona, BIWPA have wanted to know how is her new life in US.
Clara Espar Llaquet was born in Barcelona 19 years ago, in a very athletic family. Her dad was a coach for the FC Barcelona Handball team and her mum is a triathlete and ultrarunner.
Clara plays with the Spanish National Team. She won the silver medal in the last World Junior Championship in Volos ( Greece, August 2013). Now she is studying “Hospitality, Turism and Business” at San Jose State University and she plays for the “Spartans”, the university waterpolo team.
What do you emphasize in your sport career?
I would say studying and playing at CAR with other young girls that became my friends and my teammates at the same time. We grew up there and trained hard improving our skills that later on gave us the chance to play in the Spanish national league.
Why did you decide to go to the US?
I liked the american lifestyle since I was a child and I have always dreamed to go and live there. A year ago I had a chance, but I was doubting, finally I took the decision to change my life.
Did it take long to get used to the American lifestyle?
It was easy for me. California is pretty similar to Europe ( Barcelona) and I didn’t have any problem, except the food. I got used to it at the end, but it had its consequences, (haha).
Explain your daily routine
We train from 6 to 9am and in the afternoon we go to the gym from 6 to 8pm to do some weights. During the first semester we are not allowed to train more hours than the ones stablished by the NCAA. However, on the second semester we have two preseason weeks, which we call hell weeks, and we train more than 5 hours per day.
Did you play any games during the first semester?
Is the training system very different from the Spanish one?
When we train it is very strict and serious. We sometimes train without the coach (because we do voluntary practice in order not to train more than the permitted hours). Americans are usually very hard-working. I don’t know if it is because they like what they do, but at least it seems so. They work hard and they don’t complain.
Would you recommend your experience to other water polo players?
Of course. The waterpolo level in the US is high. The first year can be tough because of the language but it helps you to become more mature and you learn lots of things, not only in terms of sport but also academically and personally.
How is the competition over there?
I have played just one tournament but I can say that the competition is very intense. All the games are close. Something I would mention is that in respect to our american teammates, we usually have more field vision and we have better technique. Their games are usually more physical and tactical; their plays are very definite in their system.
What is your valuation of the 4 years that you have spent in the High Performance Center (CAR)?
Personally it has been a great experience and athletically it has given a lot to me as well. It was probably the principal knowledge source during the first three years because we had to be in the same level as the older players. And our last year, it helped us to become a part in our clubs senior team.
Would you like to live in the US?
I really don’t know. I haven’t decided yet.
What do you miss the most while you are in the US?
My family, my friends, my club and home’s food. Sometimes I also miss training a bit later.
Finally, would you like to highlight anything?
I would like to say that going to the US to play and study is an experience that anybody should try if they get the chance. Not just because you improve the language, but also because you learn from a different culture, new lifestyle,new training methods that enriches you as an athlete and you meet new people.