Lausanne, Switzerland, November 16, 2016 - This summer was a good one for Swiss beach volleyball. Just ask Joana Heidrich.Quick links - Beach Volleyball:FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2016Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach VolleyballFIVB.com - Beach VolleyballFIVB.com
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Not only did she walk away with four medals from the FIVB World Tour in 2016 but she and Nadine Zumkehr reached the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games on Copacabana Beach in August. In September the Swiss pair won the silver medals at the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto. For Heidrich it’s not a bad accomplishment for a 25-year-old in just her fifth full season on the FIVB World Tour.Switzerland's Nadine Zumkehr (left) and Joana Heidrich (right) show off their medals at the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto
Combined with another silver medal at the FIVB Swatch A1 Major in Klagenfurt this past season has further enhanced the Swiss star’s reputation as one of the most talented up-and-coming blockers in the sport.
You only have to look at Heidrich’s achievements on the beach to imagine that she has many more medals ahead of her if she continues her rapid upward momentum. Her career got off to a flyer when she was crowned Swiss Under-18 champion in 2007 with Anouk Vergé-Dépré. Four years later, with Nina Betschart, her potential jumped off the page with one mighty performance in Canada as the pair captured the gold medal at the FIVB Volleyball Women's U21 World Championship.
That success only highlighted the natural, gifted talent that the 1.90m net-patroller possessed. At that point, what Heidrich needed next was an experienced head to compliment her developing skills. And that’s when, in 2013, she teamed up with Zumkehr.
In their first tournament together the pair posted a respectable 17th place finish at a CEV satellite tournament in Antalya, Turkey. They lost to Spain’s Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo in the second round. It was a week which earned Heidrich the princely sum of $56,25 cents of prize money.
Fast forward three years later to this summer and she banked a check for a very cool $25,000 following her performance at the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto.
During the past three years her partnership with Zumkehr blossomed into one of the most consistent on the FIVB World Tour. In their 44 international tournaments together they won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals and finished in the top 10 in no less than 25 of the world’s most prestigious tournaments.
Under the watchful eye of Zumkehr, Joana has continued to flourish but now’s the time for the next chapter to be written in this Swiss success story.Switzerland's Anouk Vergé-Dépré serves at the World Tour Finals in Toronto
The future looks even brighter for Heidrich as she has announced that another young Swiss star - Anouk Vergé-Dépré, just 24 years old - will be her teammate on the 2017 FIVB World Tour. Vergé-Dépré won the bronze in Toronto with her mentor Isabelle Forrer who has also retired from the sport.