October 12, 2021, by brzbs1
Scholar in Focus: Dafne Garcia Garate
With BUCS Sport returning last Wednesday, it was a pleasure to catch up with one of the first athletes to perform in the #GreenandGold this year, Dafne Garcia Garate. Dafne is a sport scholar and a part of our Women’s Water Polo team. Taking on Newcastle 1st’s in their first BUCS fixtures since lockdown, the team posted an emphatic 20-8 victory! We spoke to Dafne about the first BUCS Wednesday of the year, as well as her road to representing the University of Nottingham.
Dafne, thank you for speaking with us. Could you tell us about yourself and your sporting journey so far?
My name is Isabel, but I go by Dafne and I’m from Mexico. I have been playing water polo since I was eight years old. I started playing club for UNAM and while there I got to represent the Mexican National team on a few occasions. The most important competition I participated in was the Women’s Junior World Championship in 2015 which took place in Volos, Greece.
After this I went to play at Riverside City College in California from 2016-2017. In 2018 I transferred to California State University of Northridge and played Division 1 for a year and a half until COVID unfortunately hit and stopped our season. It was such a shame as we were doing so well and we all worked so hard for the past year because we wanted to win – it was our year! After that I went back to Mexico for a few months until I heard about the University of Nottingham and applied. A year later, here I am! I am excited, happy and proud to be representing UoN and wearing the green and gold. I can’t wait to see what this season has in store for us.
How did your preparations go for the season and did you enjoy Pre-Season?
It was tough because for water polo we weren’t able to do much technique work in our swim sessions, and although swimming lengths helps to stay in shape, it is not the same as real action. However going to the gym helped a lot for building up my strength, so by the time pre-season came it was really about getting the conditioning back. I did enjoy pre-season as it was great to be back in the water with my teammates and also get to know the new people joining us.
How did you find the first BUCS Wednesday of the year?
It was great! We had a good first match where everyone gave their all and we got good results. My friends and roommates came to support me and that is an amazing feeling, knowing your people are out there for you and cheering you on. Although I unfortunately didn’t manage to watch other sports, it was great to hear about my friends wins as well as the success of the #GreenandGold overall. What made me really happy was just being back competing after losing two years of this due to the pandemic. Some of us lost our Senior year and we didn’t got to compete last year, so being back is a truly brilliant feeling.
What did you enjoy the most from the game?
Being in the water playing with my team, watching us commit to the same goal and give it all in order to do so. I was enjoying it so much that even my teammates said they could notice I was enjoying the match and even smiling at times!
What are your expectations for the season ahead?
I expect it to be a little more difficult and competitive as we come back to compete, some of us for the first time since the pandemic started. Our team is new, a lot of us competing at this level for the first time, while others made it to the first team after years of preparation. I don’t think all wins will come easy but I know every single one of the girls will show up to training in preparation for our matches and do better every day.
Are you looking forward to any particular matches or events this year?
I’m not too familiar with who the strongest teams are in our competition, but I’m looking forward to the challenge, and being able to show that we are putting in the work in order to win. I want us to be able to show to the other teams that we are strong and that a match against us won’t be easy.
Is there anything in particular that you are enjoying at UoN?
I’m really enjoying being a part of this water polo team. Everyone is amazing and I’m always having fun with them, inside and outside of the water. I am also enjoying the sports culture here as it is completely different than what I was used to in the US. It’s nice to get to train and compete, while at the same time enjoy my free time and travel around England. I also appreciate that although all of us want to win and compete, everyone also really wants to do well in their courses.
If you would like to read more about our BUCS programme, then please visit this link.
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