Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sport Could Take Her to 2016 Olympics

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sport Could Take Her to 2016 Olympics

Article excerpt


Brooke (Youngquist) Sweat played volleyball at The Canterbury School and collegiately at Florida Gulf Coast University, where she was the Eagles' first volleyball player. At FGCU, the 5-foot-8 outside hitter recorded more than 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.

Sweat began her beach volleyball career in 2007 and played a couple of seasons with current Cardinal Mooney High volleyball coach Kristen Batt Rohr. They won four events and were named AVP Top Guns in 2009 and 2010. In 2013, Sweat teamed with Jennifer Fopma to win the Huntington Beach Open and was named the AVP Defensive Player of the Year. Last year, Sweat and current partner Lauren Fendrick finished second in the AVP event in St. Pete at Spa Park, the same site of this year's tournament.

This week, Sweat and Fendrick will play in the FIVB St. Pete Grand Slam presented by the AVP, an Olympic qualifying event that is part of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

Following is a Q&A with Sweat:

Q: How and when did you get started in volleyball?

A: I started playing indoor volleyball in 5th grade. Started playing club volleyball when I was 15. Played in high school and at Florida Gulf Coast University. Started playing beach volleyball after graduating from FGCU.

Q: Did you play any other sports growing up and, if so, do you miss playing any of them?

A: I played basketball, softball, gymnastics and ran track. I absolutely loved basketball. All I ever wanted to do was play basketball. I miss playing all of these sports, I miss being on a "big" team, but I wouldn't trade what I am doing for the world.

Q: What was the toughest transition from indoor to beach?

A: It took me a while to get used to moving and jumping in the sand. It takes a lot more effort in the sand. Learning how to "shoot" the ball around (not just go up and swing hard every time) was not easy either.

Q: What is the best place volleyball has taken you?

A: Beach volleyball has taken me all around the world. My two favorite tour stops have been Porec, Croatia, and Gstaad, Switzerland. Both places are absolutely gorgeous.

Q: When searching for a partner, what do you look for?

A: Someone who compliments my game. I am a small defender so I need a blocker first and foremost. I also look for someone who shares the same goals as me and works just as hard as me.

Q: In what ways did the move from Florida to California benefit you?

A: The top players and coaches are in California. I knew if I really wanted to take this serious I needed to make the move and find a teammate that believed in me and wanted to take the journey with me.

Q: What is a typical week of training?

A: Our preseason begins in January and our first tournaments are usually in April or May. We gradually ramp up the intensity as we get closer to season. …

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