Spike in beach activity

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Max Johnson (Queensland), Lewis Peach (WA), Stella Vicario (Queensland) and Lucy Tyler (WA) have enjoyed the championships.
Camera IconMax Johnson (Queensland), Lewis Peach (WA), Stella Vicario (Queensland) and Lucy Tyler (WA) have enjoyed the championships. Credit: Justin Fris

Optus Volley By The Bay has captivated crowds along the Koombana Bay foreshore this week, with the cream of Australia’s beach volleyball talent competing heartily for national glory.

A total of 126 teams have participated across the event, with WA and Queensland – tipped to feature at the business end of the titles – fielding 33 and 25 teams respectively.

The carnival began with the Australian Under-23 Beach Volleyball Championships, which concluded on Sunday, with WA pairing Caleb Lampard and Ky Landers claiming the under-23 men’s crown with a 21-19, 11-21, 15-9 win over fellow Sandgropers Ryan Penno and Dylan Phillips – while the all-Maroons pairing of Brianna and Kayla Mears trumped Queensland counterparts Annelies Jones and Alisha Stevens 21-17, 21-10.

This was followed by the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Championships, with several WA teams dominating the tournament which ends today.

Along with a big number of interstate players, scores of family and friends have also made the trip to the South West – filling the stands to cheer on their loved ones.

Despite donning uncharacteristic Queensland clothing items of a hoodie and trackpants, Maroons duo Max Johnson and Stella Vicario were enjoying their time in Bunbury.

“The hospitality has been really good,” Vicario said.

“We’ve been staying in a location that is one minute away from the courts so it is easy to come and go for training.”

Both players acknowledged the sacrifices made by themselves, teammates and family in order to compete at national level.

“The cost is very high,” Vicario said. “Along with the amount of time we have to take out of weekends for training.”

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