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Sport Water Polo
NOC Spain   
Born17 Oct 1990 in Sabadell, ESP
Height1.88 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Other names
Maria del Carmen Garcia
Sabadell, ESP
Athlete, Business Owner
Catalan, English, Spanish
Higher education
Advertising, Public Relations - Autonomous University of Barcelona: Spain
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She transitioned from swimming to water polo at age 10.
Why this sport?
She practised swimming at CN Sabadell before taking up water polo because her brother was already playing the sport. "I used to watch him play. I liked watching the water polo matches more than swimming. Now, my brother is the one who comes to see me play. I started as a goalkeeper but I didn't stop anything, I dodged the balls. Then I was put as a centre forward and the coaches liked it, so I started taking it seriously."
Club / Team
CN Sabadell: Spain
Name of coach
David Palma [club], ESP; Miguel Angel Oca [national], ESP
Preferred position / style / stance / technique
Centre forward
General Interest
Most influential person in career
Coach Miguel Angel Oca. (elpais.com, 16 Jul 2016)
Hero / Idol
Spanish water polo player Blanca Gil. (aquaticsnews.com, 19 May 2008)
She fractured the ring finger on her right hand two weeks before the 2019 World Championships. She had surgery to insert a plate and screws in a metacarpal bone, and was able to recover in time to play at the tournament in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. In July 2020 she underwent another operation to remove the plate and the screws. (elperiodico.com, 04 Aug 2019; elpais.com, 24 Jul 2019; mundodeportivo.com, 07 Jul 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I consider myself a happy person, I do everything that I am passionate about and motivates me." (LinkedIn profile, 01 Dec 2021)
Awards and honours
She was part of the Spanish national team that received an award from the Spanish Sports Press Association [AEPD] in recognition of their triumph at the 2020 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary. (aepde.org, 20 Sep 2021; SportsDeskOnline, 30 Dec 2021)

She received the 2014 Female Water Polo Player of the Year award from the European Swimming Federation [LEN]. (avancedeportivo.es, 05 Feb 2015)

She was presented with the Most Valuable Player [MVP] award at the 2014 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary. (elperiodico.com, 29 Jul 2014)

She was named MVP of the 2014 Euro League. (Facebook page, 23 Jan 2019)

In 2013, 2014, and 2018 she was named Athlete of the Year in Sabadell, Spain. (sabadell.cat, 25 Apr 2013; isabadell.cat, 01 May 2015, 31 May 2019)

She has been named best player of the Spanish League in 2006/07, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. (Facebook page, 29 Jul 2018)
Other information
She decided to take a break from the national team in May 2017 and did not compete at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She rejoined the team in November 2017. "I feel renewed. I got what I wanted and gained the motivation to start all over again." (radiosabadell.fm, 20 Nov 2017; wp2018bcn.com, 15 Nov 2017; revistalideras.com 19 May 2017; rfen.es, 18 May 2017)

Born as Maria del Carmen, in 2014 she changed her name officially to Maica. "Nobody has ever called me Maria del Carmen, so Maica is my real name." (elpais.com, 16 Jul 2016)

She and her brother Victor own a barber shop in Sant Cugat, Spain. She started the business after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "None of us knew about the industry but we had the chance to invest and we kept the shop. I could apply some colour but it would take me too much time, so when I'm here I help by picking up the phone, arranging appointments, preparing customers, and taking payment. I do not know when I will retire from water polo, but this is an alternative." In 2021, she opened a second barber shop in Sant Cugat. (Facebook page, 26 Jul 2019; LinkedIn profile, 27 Jul 2018; mundodeportivo.com, 14 May 2020; tokyo2020.org, 19 Nov 2020; LinkedIn profile, 01 Dec 2021)

After completing a bachelor's degree in advertising and public relations at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain, she has earned two master's degrees from the San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia in Spain in communications management, and tourism marketing and innovation. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Dec 2021)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
2 2021 Tokyo, JPN Team  
5 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA Team  
2 2012 London, ENG Team  
World Championship
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2022 Budapest, HUN Team  
2 2019 Gwangju, KOR Team  
7 2015 Kazan, RUS Team  
1 2013 Barcelona, ESP Team  
11 2011 Shanghai, CHN Team  
8 2009 Rome, ITA Team  
7 2007 Melbourne, AUS Team  
European Championship
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2020 Budapest, HUN Team  
3 2018 Barcelona, ESP Team  
4 2016 Belgrade, SRB Team  
6 2010 Zagreb, CRO Team  
2 2008 Málaga, ESP Team