COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 21, 2013) – U.S. beach volleyball player Nick Lucena (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) admits that his winter break did not get him ready for the 2013 season the way he had hoped.
|Nick Lucena, right, hugs partner Matt Fuerbringer at the 2012 Brasilia Open.
“After the (2012) Olympic qualification process ended, I sort of checked out for a while,” said Lucena, 33. “When I started working out and trying to get back into it, I was like, ‘you have to get a hold of yourself.’ ”
Few could blame Lucena for a lack of motivation. He and partner Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) barely missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games even though they had done everything they thought they would need to do to beat Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) for the second U.S. slot.
Also, a series of partner swaps among the top U.S. men’s beach volleyball teams almost left Lucena on the outside looking in after Fuerbringer had told him that he probably wouldn’t play internationally in 2013.
And there is always the uncertainty of international and domestic beach volleyball schedules at the start of the season, not to mention the possibility of a new formats and requirements for events on the FIVB World Tour.
But Lucena has turned his attitude around and is back on the beach and in the training room.
“I am fortunate to be in the position I’m in where I can compete in beach volleyball and make money,” he said. “I’m fortunate and grateful.”
Part of the change in attitude came from Fuerbringer agreeing to compete internationally for at least one more year. Also making Lucena happy is the impending arrival of his first child with his girlfriend and fellow U.S. beach volleyball player Brooke Niles (formerly Hanson), who is due to give birth in April.
“The FIVB schedule just came out and it works out great that I can be around when this happens,” Lucena said in reference to Hanson giving birth. “She was panicking that I wasn’t going to be there.”
Lucena has also discovered a new workout routine thanks to Tim Pelot, an athletic trainer with the U.S. Olympic Committee who works with Lucena, Fuerbringer and other beach and indoor volleyball players at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif.
“To get something new and fresh was exciting for me,” he said. “Getting back on the beach is cool too.”
Despite the setback in 2012, Lucena is still hoping to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“For this year, I’m trying to get by and grind it out,” he said. “If we can play well this year, maybe more good things will happen in 2014.”
2013 INTERNATIONAL SCHEDULES RELEASED
The FIVB has released its 2013 World Tour schedule, putting a focus on biennial FIVB World Championships and Grand Slam events. The 11 FIVB World Tour Grand Slams across four of the five FIVB Confederations in 10 different countries represent an increase from eight from 2012 and six from 2011 while the beach volleyball season will run over 10 months for the first time ever. Record prize money is also on offer with $7.45m, up from 7.3m in 2012.
The 2013 World Championships will be held on July 1-7 in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
To view the full schedule, click here.
NORCECA has also published a schedule for its 2013 beach volleyball events. To view the schedule, click here.
ARIZONA HIGH SCHOOLS EMBRACE SAND VOLLEYBALL
Several high schools in Phoenix, Ariz., have added sand volleyball since Arizona became the first state to sanction sand volleyball at the high school level. To view a video, click here.