London 2012 is over, but the GBW and their legacy lives on…
Its been a busy couple of months for the Great Britain Women’s Volleyball Team. The Olympic Games are no longer a lifelong dream, but a fantastic achievement and memory that will never be forgotten…
Twelve British female players have become Olympians, this is history… but the journey continues for many of the GBW in the hope that Rio 2016 becomes a reality as we wait on decisions that could shape the future of British Volleyball. No matter what happens, London 2012 was a launch pad for our sport. The GBW have put British Volleyball on the map and following a 9th place finish at the Olympic Games, have a new World Ranking of 20, leaping from a position of 69th in the world.
But the push for legacy does not stop here… The GBW want to ensure that this platform is used to build on the legacy already created by the Olympic Games.
This began almost immediately after the Olympic Games… From London 2012, the GBW took to Switzerland for a 2 week training camp ahead of competing in Round 2 of the European Championships Qualifiers against Croatia, Romania and Portugal. Despite some good performances and 2 wins against a feisty Portugal team, the GBW failed to reach the next round of the Championships. These results, however, were better than any British team has ever achieved in this competition.
With the International season now over for 2012, the GBW are now moving on to the next part of their journey, whatever that may be… Lets find out!!!
Head Coach - Audrey Cooper
Since the Olympics, Audrey has taken her coaching expertise overseas to professional team Sagres NUC, Switzerland, where she has taken the Head Coach role for the coming season. Audrey and her team have had a positive start to the season and sitting in 2nd position in the league despite some tough fixtures to start their campaign, including a Battle of the Brits win against Lynne Beattie’s new club VFM…
Team Captain - Lynne Beattie
Lynne will play for Volleyball Franches Montagne (VFM) in Switzerland’s top league, where she is looking forward to competing against rivals Sagres NUC, the new team of Audrey Cooper. Beattie’s VFM have already played 7 matches and sitting joint second in the league alongside Audrey’s NUC.
Beattie reports: ”I am enjoying life up in the mountains of Switzerland and have settled in well. We are a new team so there is a big challenge ahead, but we are a team with great potential and hope to be challenging for that playoff spot come the end of the season. We also have a great opportunity to play in Europe, and am excited to play against my former club Calcit Kamnik of Slovenia in the opening stages.”
Vice Captain - Maria Bertelli
GBW Libero, Maria Bertelli is currently enjoying some time back in the UK while looking for a club in Europe for the season ahead. Unfortunately, the reality is that there are very few Libero positions available, which is making it very difficult. However, motivated as ever, Maria continues to stay fit and is touching a ball where possible, so that when an offer does come up, she will be ready to play.
Maria has also been very busy doing her bit for the continued legacy of Volleyball following the success of London 2012. She has been visiting schools in her area, telling the story of her Olympic Journey and passing on some Olympian Top Tips to our volleyball players of the future.
Rachel Bragg is also back in the UK seeking a professional contract for the coming season.
Grace Carter is in the French Capital, Paris, for the season, playing with Stade Francais in Pro A. Grace’s pre-season has gone really well and her team have had a positive start to the season, sitting in 4th position after 3 matches.
Rachel is enjoying life back in the UK and settling well into working life, doing her bit for the legacy of the sport as she works with volleyball stars of the future at The Boswells School, Essex.
Savanah is now back in Miami, Florida, playing her volleyball for the University of Miami while continuing her education in Graphic Arts and Design. Her team have had a great start to the season and are heading for a big year.
Ciara Michel has recently moved out to Germany to join her new team VT Aurubis Hamburg in the Bundelsiga A. Pre-season went well and Ciara took to the court on Saturday for the first game of the season… which just happened to be a Battle of the Brits against her previous club Aachen and GB setter, Lucy Wicks. It was Wicks who came out on top in a thrilling 5 set match, but will Hamburg get revenge next time around?
The new season has just begun for Joanne and her new club VC Engelholm in Sweden. They started off their season with a 3-0 win away from home on Saturday.
Rachel began pre-season with her new club Saint Raphael in the French DEF league back in August before joining the GBW for the European Championships. She has now made the journey back to France and has enjoyed a great start to the season with 3 wins out of 3 with her new team.
Stacey is currently back in the US enjoying life closer to her family while putting her volleyball expertise into action as a coach and a teacher.
Nicky Osborne is back in the UK resuming her professional career as a Doctor of medicine. She is currently working at Frimley Park, a leading NHS foundation trust hospital in the West Surrey area.
Post summer 2012, Vicky has returned to the Beach Volleyball scene and is currently training at the LEAF Academy in Bournemouth, while continuing to play indoor volleyball for Wessex.
Lizzie Reid is currently back in the UK working and continues to play her volleyball with her previous club London Mallory.
Janine is currently in Menorca, the location of her previous club Valeriano Alles Menorca where she is recovering and rehabbing from her ankle injury.
After enjoying some time at home following the European Championships, Jenn has moved north to Newcastle where she has taken on a sports teaching and coaching role at Middlesborough College while also taking on a players role with Team Northumbria.
Jen Thom has returned to her professional career as a Maths Teacher in Scotland. She has a new teaching role at Larbert High School, Falkirk, and is excited about her return to teaching and a new challenge. Jen continues to play volleyball for her home team in Edinburgh, who will be challengers for the Scottish League Championship this season.
Vice Captain - Lucy Wicks
Lucy Wicks has made a return to Alemannia Aachen in the German Bundesliga A. The fans were delighted about the return of the GB setter and Lucy has settled back in well. Aachen have had a successful pre-season with a trip to Turkey included for match preparation and they finally kicked off the season with a thrilling Battle of the Brits encounter against Ciara Michels Hamburg. With Aachen and Wicks coming away with the 3-2 win, it has given them a huge boost for the season ahead.
The coaching staff…
GBW Assistant Coach Dave Goodchild continues to work with Team Northumbria in the English Super 8′s and is also responsible for the new Volleyball England Satellite Academy established in the Middlesborough area.
Statistician Matt Bianco continues to support TN and over in Manchester Ian Goswell continues to work with Tameside VC, as well as supporting other clubs in the area, while playing a key role in the England UKSG team.