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Anna ESPAR
Sport Water Polo
NOC Spain   
GenderWomen
Born08 Jan 1993 in Barcelona, ESP
Height1.80 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Residence
Barcelona, ESP
Occupation
Athlete, Sales
Languages
Catalan, English, Spanish
Higher education
Business Administration - University of Southern California: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began playing water polo at age 12 at the Mediterrani club in Barcelona, Spain.
Why this sport?
"I started swimming at the Mediterrani [sports club] and also played basketball and tennis. In particular swimming seemed very boring to me. I saw water polo being played and I liked it as a team sport. So I tried it and having a ball in my hands was really fun."
Club / Team
CN Mataro: Spain
Name of coach
Dani Ballart [club], ESP; Miguel Angel Oca [national], ESP
Preferred position / style / stance / technique
Driver
Handedness
Right
General Interest
Nicknames
Anni (aesportiumaresme.cat, 03 Dec 2019)
Hobbies
Travel, reading, spending time with friends. (esportiumaresme.cat, 03 Dec 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning silver at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (esportiumaresme.cat, 03 Dec 2019)
Hero / Idol
Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal. (esportiumaresme.cat, 03 Dec 2019)
Injuries
She had surgery on a damaged ligament in her right hand in August 2017. (eurosport.es, 03 Aug 2017)
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. She was one of four players to collect the award on behalf of the team at the AEPD Sports Gala in Teruel, Spain, in September 2021. (aepde.org, 20 Sep 2021; rfen.es, 20 Sep 2021)

In 2020 she was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Barcelona City Council in Spain. (beteve.cat, 17 Dec 2020)

Alongside her teammates in the Spanish national team, she received the Extraordinary Medal for Sports Merit from the Spanish Swimming Federation in recognition of the bronze medal they won at the 2018 European Championships in Barcelona, Spain. (rfen.es, 04 Oct 2018)

She was named in the Australian National Water Polo League All-Star team in 2017. (waterpoloaustralia.com.au, 09 Apr 2017)

In 2014 she was presented with the Silver Medal of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit in Spain. (europapress.es, 02 Dec 2014)

In October 2012 she was named European Female Water Polo Player of the Year by the European Swimming Federation [LEN]. (mundodeportivo.com, 24 Oct 2012)

She was selected for the All-Star team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (usctrojans.com, 01 Jan 2013)
Famous relatives
Her sister Clara Espar has represented Spain in water polo and was part of the teams that won silver at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. Her father is former Barcelona handball coach Xesco Espar. (SportsDeskOnline, 30 Dec 2021; esportiumaresme.cat, 03 Dec 2019; rfen.es, 17 May 2016; chueca.com, 15 May 2011)
Ambitions
To win the Spanish league title and Spanish cup in the 2021/22 season. (mundodeportivo.com, 12 Oct 2021)
Other information
CLUB CHANGE
In May 2019 she announced her departure from CN Sabadell, where she had played for 10 years, to join CN Mataro for the next three seasons. "I was in a club where we always won and we didn't have much competition, especially in the league. I played in the United States of America and Australia, and to win the league I had to fight and sweat a lot every game until the last second. Here, in Mataro, we have to fight a lot of games to win and I need that competitiveness." (totmataro.cat, 23 May 2019; lesportiudecatalunya.cat, 23 May 2019)

TIME ABROAD
She studied at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, United States of America, where she played water polo for the college's Trojans team. She also spent about four months playing for the Sydney University Lions in Australia between 2016 and 2017. "[The United States of America was] an enriching experience. We had a very demanding coach, who demanded a brutal intensity in training that we are not used to in Spain. I would finish the games and training sessions physically and mentally very tired. I went [to Australia] with a different mentality, with the intention of enjoying the city, the country, the people. In addition we had a great team there and also won the Australian league." (esportiumaresme.cat, 03 Dec 2019)

OCCUPATION
Alongside water polo, she works as a sales consultant for a swimwear company. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Sep 2021)

FURTHER EDUCATION
She has earned a bachelor of business administration [BBA] from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain, and a master of business administration [MBA] from the San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia in Spain. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Sep 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  
2 2017 Budapest, HUN Team  
7 2015 Kazan, RUS Team  
1 2013 Barcelona, ESP Team  
11 2011 Shanghai, CHN Team  
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
4 2018 Surgut, RUS Team  
3 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk, RUS Team  
European Championship
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2020 Budapest, HUN Team  
3 2018 Barcelona, ESP Team  
4 2016 Belgrade, SRB Team  
5 2012 Eindhoven, NED Team  
6 2010 Zagreb, CRO Team