2016-10-11 13:31:00 CEST

Tuesday Talent: Joana Heidrich

The Swiss star set for a new chapter

Joana passes the ball forward during the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto. Photocredit: Mihai Stetcu.Joana passes the ball forward during the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto. Photocredit: Mihai Stetcu.

This summer was a good one for Swiss beach volleyball. Just ask Joana Heidrich.

Not only did she walk away with four medals from the FIVB World Tour in 2016 but she and Nadine Zumkehr reached the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games on the Copacabana in August. For Joana it’s not a bad accomplishment for a 25-year-old in only her fifth full season, huh?

Silver medals at the A1 Klagenfurt Major and the Swatch FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in the past two months have further enhanced the Swiss star’s reputation as one of the most talented up-and-coming blockers in the game.

You only have to look at Joana’s achievements on the beach to imagine that she has many more medals ahead of her if she continues her rapid upward momentum. Her career got off to a flyer when she was crowned Swiss Under-18 champion in 2007. Four years later, with Nina Betschart, her potential jumped off the page with one mighty performance in Canada as the pair lifted the World Under-21 title.

That success only highlighted the natural, gifted talent that the 1.90m net-patroller possessed. At that point, what Joana needed next was an experienced head to compliment her developing skills. And that’s when, in 2013, she teamed up with Nadine.

In their first tournament together the pair posted a respectable 17th place finish at a CEV satellite tournament in Antalya, Turkey. They lost to Spain’s Liliana/Elsa in the second round. It was a week which earned Joana the princely sum of 56 US Dollars and 25 cents of prize money. 

Joana (right) has enjoyed a great season the sand with former partner, the retiring Nadine Zumkehr (left). Photocredit: Martin Steinthaler.Joana (right) has enjoyed a great season the sand with former partner, the retiring Nadine Zumkehr (left). Photocredit: Martin Steinthaler.

Fast forward three years later to this summer and she was banking a check for a cool 25,000 US Dollars following her performance at the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto. How’s that for career progression?

During the past three years her partnership with Zumkehr blossomed into one of the most consistent on the FIVB World Tour. In their 44 international tournaments together they won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals and finished in the top 10 in no less than 25 of the world’s most prestigious tournaments.

Under the watchful eye of the Nadine, Joana has continued to flourish but now’s the time for the next chapter to be written in this Swiss success story.

Prior to the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto, Zumkehr announced she was calling time on her beach career to focus on starting a family – and Joana made sure Nadine went out with a bang with a richly-deserved silver medal in the final at Polson Pier.

Thankfully Swiss beach volleyball is blessed with talent right now. It’s down to no small part of wise investment and development from the national federation that three Swiss women’s teams were regulars in the latter stages of the Swatch Major Series tournaments this season.

Watch Joana in action in a top rally from the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto in September.

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