| Lara Dykstra, left, and Rebecca Strehlow celebrate at the 2010 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 18, 2013) – Four U.S. beach volleyball teams are in Umag, Croatia this week for the FIVB Under-21 (U21) World Championships.
In the women’s bracket, Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Rebecca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif.) are entered in the main draw while Alexa Strange (San Clemente, Calif.) and Jace Pardon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) are entered in the qualifier.
In the men’s bracket, Chris Long (Tustin, Calif.) and Branden Clemens (Carmel, Ind.) will begin in the main draw while Skyler McCoy (Lakewood, Calif.) and Austin Rysyk (San Jose, Calif.) will open in the qualifier.
The competition will begin on Wednesday (June 19) with the qualification brackets. Main draw pool play will start on Thursday (June 20). The semifinals and medal matches for both genders will take place on Sunday (June 21).
The United States won the gold medal at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in 2010 when Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Tara Roenicke (Alta Loma, Calif.) won the women’s bracket. In 2012, Ross finished fourth at the U21 World Championships with Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.).
Nearly 50 men’s and 40 women’s teams from five continents are competing at the event.
The men’s competition will bring forth a new champion this year, as the 2012 Halifax U21 champions Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak from Poland are not competing in the age group tournament.
Umag, a coastal city in the northwest region of Croatia, has never hosted this age group volleyball tournament before, but staged single-gender events from 2005 until 2008, and the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships in 2011.
In the women’s competition 17-year-old Nina Betschart from Switzerland will try to claim her third U21 title in a row to set a new record. Betschart won the event in 2011 with Joana Heidrich and 2012 with Anouk Vergé-Dépré, matching the record set by Brazil’s Carolina Solberg (2004 and 2005) and Barbara Seixas (2006 and 2007).
The U21 World Championships are staged in a local tennis stadium, well known for its annual ATP-event.
For more information about the 2013 FIVB U21 World Championships, click here.