Sylvan Lake’s Olivia Barnes, along with her beach volleyball teammate Rivver Flewell from Red Deer, is headed to Lethbridge for the 2012 Alberta Summer Games. The games, which will run from July 26-29, provide an opportunity for amateur athletes to compete at a provincial level.
Barnes, 16, has been playing beach volleyball for three years, and club volleyball since she was in grade six. Her first experience with it was in gym class at school, where she noticed she particularly enjoyed playing it compared to other sports.
“I like the sport and I’ve just always done it. It’s something I’ve always been interested in,” said Barnes, adding that beach volleyball appealed to her because it takes place outside. She said getting used to the different ball, which is slightly bigger with a lower inflation pressure than a standard volleyball, was difficult at times.
Beach volleyball is played in teams of two, and last Thursday marked the second time Barnes had practiced with Flewell.
“Once they get familiar with each other it gets better,” said coach Wayne Halliday. “The girls have been playing for a long time, they just need to play well together.” He added that the pair have had good energy together.
Barnes is looking forward to playing against different teams at a higher level of competition.
“We’re hoping that we’ll gel really good together, and just be on our best games, and just have lots of fun doing it,” said Barnes.
Flewell is also looking forward to it, and hopes they do well.
“It’ll be a good experience, to get to see all the best competition,” said Flewell.
Halliday said both girls play very well, and he thinks they will place in fourth or higher.
“I’m hoping to medal, we’re fairly strong,” said Halliday.
He has been coaching for six years with the Sylvan Lake Volleyball Club, and will be attending his second Alberta Summer Games this year.
“This is probably the strongest team I’ve had for the summer games,” he said.
The province has been divided into eight zones. Barnes and Flewell are representing Zone 4, an area that stretches from west of Rocky Mountain House to the Saskatchewan border, just below Provost.
Barnes and Flewell both tried out for the Zone’s team. The number of people trying out for positions is what determines the level of competition for them, said Barnes.