Junior attacker Marko
Asic of the men's water polo team recently represented the United States in the
World University games in Taipei, Taiwan. He shared with us his experience and
plans for the new season:
Q: You recently played for the U.S. at the World University Games in Taiwan. How did you feel when you found out you were selected to play for the U.S.?
A: It was a little bittersweet because I knew that I wasn't going to be practicing with Pepperdine over the summer. But getting selected as one of 13 players to represent the USA was pretty indescribable.
Q: Can you tell me about your overall experience competing in another country?
A: It was fun! My favorite part about it was seeing how different countries play water polo. Japan is super unorthodox, Russia is very grab and go, and then there's Australia, which plays similar to how we do, but more driving and getting the ball to center.
Q: How did the team dynamic differ from that of the Pepperdine team?
A: We didn't have our first practice until five days before our first game. Then there's a team like Japan who have the same teams that they brought to the World Championships the month before and therefore had a lot of experience playing with one another. We kind of just came in guns blazing.
Q: What were the highlights of competing for the national team in Taiwan?
A: One highlight was being able to play against different countries. Playing in Taiwan was awesome in itself. We were able to play in a few different pools while we were there, but the championship pool had 10,000 seats in it and a huge camera for replays that would zoom in on you during starting lineups which was really cool.
Q: How did you feel about the outcome of the games this summer?
A: We got ninth out of 16, which I was pretty bummed about. We tied Russia in our group and they ended up getting second place in the whole tournament. Then we lost to Italy by only three points to get into the top eight and Italy ended up getting third place overall. We were right there along with everyone. We just had a bad game against Italy because we couldn't finish all the opportunities that presented themselves during the game. I think that if we'd had more practices together and time to prepare we could have seen a better outcome.
Q: How did you feel coming back from Taiwan and jumping straight into water polo season for Pepperdine?
A: It's been a grind this entire summer. I was living at home all summer training with the national team and our schedule included having weights at 5:15 a.m., then practice until 9 a.m., then another practice in the evening from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every day. Honestly, I got really burnt out this summer, but the best part was after it all, I got to come home to my family here at Pepperdine, which is reenergizing.
Q: How do you feel about this college season, especially coming off of last year's GCC championship win?
A: We are currently doing pretty well and I think we were undefeated over the summer as well, so we definitely have a huge target on our backs trying to defend our title.
Q: Do you have goals to play professional water polo after you graduate from Pepperdine?
A: Yes, it's been my dream since I was 10 years old, when I found out that I could play water polo as a job and that's what I've been putting my mind toward. Now, having grown up a little more, I'm wondering if I want to put my life on pause for however many years and possibly have to go back to school again. We'll see where I am after senior year, but as of right now it's definitely an option.