Thee world's best beach volleyball players are coming back to Fort Lauderdale in February.

The Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series — which held its finals at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in fall 2015 — will kick off its 2017 world tour there Feb. 7-12, organizers announced Thursday.

Many of the stars of the Rio Olympics are expected to compete, including Americans Nick Lucena, of Cooper City, and his teammate Phil Dalhausser.

The Olympic gold medal-winning pairings of Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst (Germany) and Bruno Schmidt and Alison Cerutti (Brazil) are also slated to compete. Both teams medaled in the 2015 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, with the Brazilian men beating Lucena and Dalhausser in the championship match.

"I love that we are going to Fort Lauderdale to start the season," said Dalhausser, a three-time Olympian who starred collegiately at Central Florida. "Fort Lauderdale's beach is beautiful, and the weather in Florida in February will be perfect."

General admission to the matches will be free, with VIP packages and premium seating also available.

Fort Lauderdale is the lone North American stop announced for this year's Swatch Major Series. After opening here, the tour will visit Croatia, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, with the site of the August finals yet to be announced.

"We are elated to return to this incredible beach in Fort Lauderdale where we had an enthusiastic crowd and thrilling matches in 2015," Beach Majors CEO Hannes Jagerhofer said. "For 2017 our aim is to make the Swatch Major Series U.S. stop bigger and even more spectacular."

For more information, go to swatchmajorseries.com.

View original post and photo gallery at: Sun-Sentinel.com