All eyes are on Fort Lauderdale Beach as the world's top beach volleyball teams square off in what is the inaugural season ending tournament of the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals will feature 20 elite teams who can all be considered serious contenders in the upcoming Rio Olympics in 2016.
It was not an easy road for the top ten men's and women's teams who either qualified or were invited to compete in the tournament. The top eight teams per gender earned their bid through stellar play on the FIVB circuit in 2015, including the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands 2015, Grand Slam events, Major Series stops and Open events. Points for all FIVB World Tour events were used to determine the top eight spots for the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals with a maximum of two teams per country. Also competing in the World Tour Finals will be two wildcard teams on both the men's and women's side including the newly formed U.S. men's team of Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena.
Men's teams: team, country, points
1 Q Alison/Bruno Schmidt, BRA, 6,070
2 Q Evandro/Pedro Solberg, BRA, 4,960
3 Q Brouwer/Meeuwsen, NED, 4,540
4 Q Nummerdor/Varenhorst, NED, 4,220
5 Q Gibb/Patterson, USA, 4,080
6 Q Herrera/Gavira, ESP, 4,060
7 Q Doppler/Horst, AUT, 3,920
8 Q Schalk/Saxton, CAN, 3,840
9 WC LUPO/NICOLAI Paolo, ITA, 3,320
10 WC Dalhausser/Lucena, USA, 1,200
Women's teams: team, country, points
1 Q Agatha/Barbara, BRA, 6,350
2 Q Larissa/Talita, BRA, 5,840
3 Q Bansley/Pavan, CAN, 5,070
4 Q Meppelink/Van Iersel, NED, 4,590
5 Q Broder/Valjas, CAN, 4,286
6 Q Ludwig/Walkenhorst, GER, 4,200
7 Q Liliana/Baquerizo, ESP, 3,900
8 Q Laboureur/Sude, GER, 3,770
9 WC Fendrick/Ross, USA, n/a
10 WC Day/Kessy, USA, 2,960
U.S. women wildcards April Ross and Lauren Fendrick can't wait to hit the sand at the end of the month, "To be included in such a prestigious tournament is an honor and the fact that it is being held in the US makes it even sweeter," said 2012 Olympic silver medalist April Ross, "The level of volleyball should be really high with all the best teams in the world there, but we're up for the challenge. The Swatch Major Series events have been of the highest quality so I can't wait to see what they have in store for this one, I know it's going to be amazing."
The U.S. teams will have their work cut out for them since much of the season has been dominated by the Olympic host country of Brazil. The top two teams on both the men's and women's sides are Brazilian and the men's pair of Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt just concluded a historic run, winning five consecutive FIVB World Tour events, something not accomplished by any team since 2010.
Not only will pride be on the line in Fort Lauderdale, but so will an epic payday. The inaugural Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals will feature the richest first-place prize at an international event with $100,000 being presented to the winning tandems. The previous best first-place prize was $84,000 for the men's winners at back-to-back events in France and Portugal following the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. The women's top payday for a podium-topping team was $70,000 last season in back-to-back Grand Slam events in the Netherlands and the United States.
Jake Gibb, who qualified in the fifth position with his partner Casey Patterson, is looking forward to competing for the all-time high prize purse, "I'm so excited to play. What a great accomplishment just qualifying for our team. Should be lots of fun to compete for such a large prize purse."
Event organisers are expecting 30,000 spectators or more during the six days of competition. The event is free and open to the public for general admission. More than 10 hours of live beach volleyball action will be shown on Universal Sports network beginning Friday, Oct. 2. Check local listings for channel and times. The final men's and women's match will be broadcast live across the country on Oct. 4 on NBC at 2:30 p.m. EDT.
The Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals will take place at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, located at 1100 Seabreeze Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Matches will take place on two courts for the first two days and on the stadium's Center Court for the last two days. Visit us.swatchmajorseries.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for updates and more information.