Where Are They Now: Hopkins Playing Overseas
Jan. 6, 2012
One of Maryland's all-time great water players has continued her career at the professional level.
Elizabeth Hopkins, who as a senior in 2009 helped lead the Terps to a third-place finish at the CWPA Eastern Championship, is currently playing for Club Esportiu Mediterrani in Barcelona, Spain.
Hopkins is the Terps' leader in career points (261) and ranks second in both goals (189) and assists (72).
A native of Coronado, Calif., Hopkins was a two-time first team All-CWPA Southern Division selection (2008-09). She recently took time out of her busy schedule to write about time her experiences since leaving College Park.
Life after Marylandby Elizabeth Hopkins
I would have to say the most important thing that I took from being a part of Maryland water polo was the relationships. The friendships that I formed while playing at Maryland are some of the greatest I have. My experience working towards championships with a great group of young ladies brought us to build a winning team as well as life long friendships.
After taking a 5th year and graduating from Maryland in 2010, I wanted to continue making water polo an important aspect of my daily life because I absolutely love the sport. As a result, I decided to go play in Spain's professional water polo league and moved to Barcelona to play for Club Esportiu Mediterrani. "Medi," as we are called, competes in the Division de Honor, the highest level of play in Spain. In the 2010-2011 season we finished 6th in a league of 12 teams and because it was an incredible experience to live and play in Spain, I am back with Medi for another season and we are hoping for a top four finish this year.
My training schedule as a "pro athlete" for Medi is as such: Two training sessions every day, Monday through Friday and every Saturday we have a game. Our practices have us doing about 45 minutes of cardio in the morning alternating between running, the bike, and rowing, and on Mondays and Wednesdays, we have weights and Tuesdays and Thursdays, we do a circuit of bands, physio balls, and abs. The Friday before games, we have an intensive stretching session that is focused on getting us loose and ready for the games. After weights or circuit, we do about an hour and a half of conditioning/skill training in the pool. Our evening sessions are two hours of game specific training.
The way games are set up here in Spain are similar to the way we played games in the CWPA, where each team plays one game at home and one game away with each team in the league. Most of the teams are in Barcelona, but there are two teams in Madrid, one in Sevilla, one in Navarra, and one in Zarragoza. So we do travel quite a bit but they are all day trips. There is a team on the island of Mallorca and every year we cheer for Mallorca to win their division so that they can play in the Division of Honor and that can be one of our destinations!! It's a beautiful island located just south of Barcelona in the Mediterranean Sea that is surrounded by beaches or gorgeous rocky cliffs.
Apart from water polo goals, I am working on becoming fluent in Castellano and in the spring I plan to learn Catalan, the language most spoken in Catalunya apart from Castellano.
The experience living here, completely immersed in a different culture was difficult to adjust to at first but with all the support I received from my team and the club, I quickly grew to love it. I did miss my family and friends at home but to have this opportunity to play and live abroad is something that I will never have again so I am enjoying it to the fullest while I can. If you get a chance to play overseas and pursue what YOU love and enjoy in life, take a chance and do it!!