2018-06-04 18:19:00 CEST

The Flying Dutchmen

Brouwer and Meeuwsen have won half of the tournaments they played at in 2018, but the best is yet to come

Last weekend, Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen won the bronze medal in the first stop of the 2018 Dutch beach volleyball Tour. The fact alone might not look relevant for a team that enjoyed huge success in the international stage, including a world title in 2013 and an Olympic medal in 2016, but when we put it in context, things look different.

The bronze medal won in Utrecht was the seventh earned by the Dutch duo in 2018, a year in which they’ve competed in just ten tournaments so far. Their list of accomplishments includes three golds and a bronze in the World Tour, one gold in the European Tour, one gold in the Swiss Tour and one bronze in the Dutch Tour.

That means the Dutch went to podium in 70 percent of the tournaments they've played at and won half of them this year. And all this in five months.

“It’s been the most consistent period of our careers and hopefully we can keep it this way until the end of the season,” Meeuwsen told us. “We had a very good preparation this winter. We changed some things compared to last year, when we didn’t have the results we wanted. We worked hard for it, things are going in the right direction and we’re looking forward to win more.”

4 GOLD medals this season and still don't know how to open it🙈🍾 #WIN #voorelkaar #Plantina #givesyouwings

512 Likes, 14 Comments - Alexander Brouwer (@alexander_brouwer) on Instagram: "4 GOLD medals this season and still don't know how to open it🙈🍾 #WIN #voorelkaar #Plantina..."

Their performance improvement is indeed impressive. With only seven of the 14 World Tour tournaments they are expected to compete in concluded, Brouwer and Meeuwsen have already matched their most prolific international season to date, 2016, when they won two silver and two bronze medals.

After the first five months of the year, the Europeans, who have played together since 2011, have won 43 of the 54 matches.

“It’s nice to feel rewarded by gold medals when you work hard and train well, but we know it’s a very long season,” Brouwer added. “We still have many tournaments to go, so we’re really looking forward to the challenge of winning more medals this season.”

🥇KAMPIOENEN!!!💪🏼🔥 #givesyouwings #voorelkaar #plantina

539 Likes, 34 Comments - Alexander Brouwer (@alexander_brouwer) on Instagram: "🥇KAMPIOENEN!!!💪🏼🔥 #givesyouwings #voorelkaar #plantina"

But what’s the reason for such a strong start, one that will probably lead them to their best season together?

Well, maybe it’s about those grey hairs that are starting to pop on both of their heads as Meeuwsen just turned 30 and Brouwer will be 29 by the end of the year.

“Maturity is certainly one of the biggest differences we’ve noticed,” Meeuwsen agreed. “The best level we can play at might still be the same, but we are getting more consistent than what we used to be. We’ve gone through experiences and we’re getting older, but physically we’re still doing well, so that’s definitely a positive.”

The same maturity that makes them play better, though, is also responsible for making their flaws more evident to their own eyes. According to Brouwer, even in such productive months, there are always aspects of theirs games which can be improved and that are the things that keep them vigilant.

“At the same time we had all these medals, we had a ninth in Xiamen and that keeps both of our feet in the ground,” he says. “We always find things in our game which we still want to improve and that’s good because it keeps you working and looking to progress. In some of the tournaments we won, we lost matches on pool play and this is something we can do better, for example.”

Disappointing 9th place at the 🇨🇳Xiamen 4* event. Time to head back home, work hard and prepare well for the coming tournaments. In two weeks we play at 🇺🇸Huntington Beach! 💪🏼 #VoorElkaar #Plantina

901 Likes, 11 Comments - Robert Meeuwsen (@romeeuwsen) on Instagram: "Disappointing 9th place at the 🇨🇳Xiamen 4* event. Time to head back home, work hard and prepare..."

If the beach volleyball they played in the first months of the year was already impressive, get ready for the next ones. With the Beach Major Series hosting events in Gstaad and Vienna, plus the World Tour Finals in Hamburg and the European Championships happening on Dutch soil between July and August, that’s when Brouwer and Meeuwsen plan to be at their best.

“The month of July will be busy for us,” Brouwer remarked. “Besides of the Beach Major Series, we’ll have the European Championships in our country and we really want to win it. Our entire preparation was made so we could be at our best in that moment.”

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