2018-10-30 16:27:00 CEST
The American veterans earned a model in just their second event together – and they want to do a lot better
When Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat decided to join forces, it was all about winning medals. And the three-time Olympic champion and the Rio 2016 Olympian didn’t take long start their collection, as the Americans earned bronze at the World Tour three-star event in Chetumal last week.
The podium appearance in Mexico reflected quick progress for the new team as, after finishing 17th in their debuting tournament, the four-star event in Las Vegas, the Americans moved forward with no time to practice in between.
“It was just our second tournament together and it was something very special to win our first medal,” Kerri said. “It’s going to be like this. We’re learning to play with each other, we’re learning to play well, to play ugly, to win and to lose.”
“We have so much room for improvement, both individually and as a team. We have to become the best team in the world to do what we want to do, which is winning gold medals. We are going to work for that in every game, we’re going to celebrate each other and it’s going to be fun.”
Chetumal 🥉❤️ Played really good at times..played pretty crappy at times. Learning from it all. Loved every second on the court with @kerrileewalsh! She's a stud warrior! 🤠 Fans were incredible! My parents and hubby are the absolute best! Taking a few months to strengthen up, mentally & physically, and be 💯+ for our next event! #Chetumal #risingup #together #amen Video from🥈medalist @caitlinledouxbeachvolley 😘
1,217 Likes, 41 Comments - Brooke Youngquist Sweat (@brookesweat) on Instagram: "Chetumal 🥉❤️ Played really good at times..played pretty crappy at times. Learning from it all...."
Even if several of the international top teams didn’t make their way to Mexico as the season neared its end, Walsh Jennings and Sweat had a great opportunity to test themselves against beach volleyball elite at the Mexican coastal city.
The Americans faced current world ranking leaders Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada in the semifinals and put up a big fight, being downed 18-21, 17-21. Despite of the setback, the team took valuable lessons from the match.
“We went there for experience together and to play against the best team in the world, which is Canada right now,” Kerri added. “They kicked our butts and it didn’t feel good, but we know that we learned a lot and that will make us stronger. They are a very good team and it’s inspiring to play them.”
The progress achieved by the team was particularly important for the 32-year-old Sweat, who had surgery on her right shoulder last May as was truly tested as she saw pretty much every serve fired towards the team during the entire tournament.
“My shoulder is feeling good,” she said after the bronze medal match. “I’m excited to get back to work on it. I’ve been playing quite a bit this last month, but it’s offseason now and I’ll just turn it back up so I’m good to go in January.”
And the offseason should, indeed, be a busy one for the veterans.
“We’ll be training, we’ll be doing everything,” Kerri stated. “From toes to our heads, inside and out, we’ll be training and focusing, but we need to rest and relax a little bit too, that’s very important for us to prepare ourselves for 2019.”