Press Release courtesy of Sporting 11
Four-time England beach volleyball national champions Vicky Palmer and Jess Grimson are excited about representing their country in Australia.
“We will be making history — this the first Commonwealth Games that includes beach volleyball, and we are the first ever pair to represent England. This is beyond exciting,” Vicky, from Poole, described her pre-departure emotions. “We have had a strong couple of months of preparation in Los Angeles, Florida and Bournemouth. We’re ready to show what English beach vollyeball is about.”
Jess, from Leeds, added: “We’ve sacrificed everything to be fully focused on the Games. We quit our jobs to train full-time and be in the shape of our lives. We feel that hard work and dedication got us to where we are now, but we can still push much further. Australia and Canada are the favourites at the Games. We know we have put in the effort and on a good day, anything can happen. I think targeting a medal is not beyond us.”
Talking about preparation in the middle of one of the harshest winters England has experienced recently, Jess said: “We were training in Bournemouth in March, and had to cancel a couple of sessions because of snow. We train in an indoors beach volleyball facility, but the temperatures can still drop to around zero, even inside. Our training camp in Los Angeles made a huge difference. We were able to prepare on a really intense training schedule. We also had the advantage of training with some world elite pairs at Hermosa Beach, a place where some of the world’s best players also prepare.”
Talking about their upcoming games in Australia, Vicky added: “We’re in Pool B with Canada, Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago. Canada are traditionally very strong as a beach volleyball nation, but this has also enabled us to analyse their game more. Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji are more unknown quantities, but in the environment of the Games they could really shine. We will just go into it to play our game and show that we deserve to be on that court. We want to show what English beach volleyball is about.”
Vicky and Jess are based in Bournemouth, Dorset. Both started playing volleyball in their teens, swapping indoor volleyball for beach after meeting each other in Los Angeles. Jess worked as a sports therapist with Physio Fitness Dorset, while Vicky was part of Dorset Police as a community support officer. Both have quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to full-time training in the run-up to Gold Coast 2018, coached by experienced Frenchman Alex Chevau.
Coolangatta Beachfront is the host venue for beach volleyball. The Commonwealth Games beach volleyball tournament takes place April 6-12, with all the girls’ games televised live. England qualified for the Games through FIVB Beach Volleyball World Rankings alongside Canada, New Zealand and Vanuatu, playing a series of World Tour tournaments to earn the necessary amount of points. Australia qualified as the host nation. The rest of the countries made it through regional tournaments or as wild cards.
The girls would like to thank their sponsors Rokill, Penfold Verral, Tancream, Live! Clothing, PhysioFitness and Pulseroll for supporting them and making it possible to qualify for the Games.