Winning the 2020 CEV EuroBeachVolley only 11 months ago, the Swiss swept the bronze medal match against the 2019 European champions Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia, 21-19, 21-15. The final was a two-set victory for the Americans over the Australians (21-15, 21-16).
A. Vergé-Dépré Olympics
Heidrich and A. Vergé-Dépré, both of whom are 29 years old, have made Olympic history by being the first Swiss women to win a medal and just the second European female tandem to achieve that feat, joining the German team of Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, who won gold at Rio 2016.
Previous best Olympic finish for their country was a tie for fifth at Rio 2016 with Heidrich and ex-partner Nadine Zumkehr. When A. Vergé-Dépré partnered with Heidrich in 2017, she switched from blocking to defence; five years earlier, in Brazil, she and Isabelle Forrer had placed ninth.
They are only the second Swiss team in Olympic history to take home a medal, following in the footsteps of Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel at the 2004 Games in Athens.
The European continent sent the most women’s duos (12) to Tokyo, with 11 teams, or over half of the total. Other than the two finals, the region also produced one team that came in fifth, three that came in ninth, one that came in seventeenth, and four that came in nineteenth.
A short time from now, on August 11-15, 2021, these teams will be back on the sand at the CEV EuroBeachVolley 2021 in Vienna, Austria.
A. Vergé-Dépré And Joana Heidrich have had a Trying but Fruitful Season.
The Swiss beach volleyball team had their share of ups and downs before finally realising a lifelong goal and earning a spot on the Olympic podium.
In 2017, Anouk and Joana formed a partnership and quickly made a name for themselves by taking silver at a 3-star FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in The Hague. After winning silver at the 2018 Itapema 4-star, they went on to win their first World Tour gold in the 2019 Moscow 4-star, one of the final big international competitions before the coronavirus pandemic struck, marking the end of their season.
After the 2020 season was cut short by a global pandemic, A. Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich still managed to do well in the three major tournaments they entered. They won the CEV European Championship in Jurmala, took silver at the Baden 1-star World Tour, and finished in fourth place at the King of the Court tournament in Utrecht.
When the 2021 season of the World Tour began again at a high level, it re-inspired them. Because Joana was infected with the coronavirus, the team had to skip the first two tournaments in Cancun. Anouk and Joana did not place in the top 16 when they returned for the third, but two Tour stops later they were back on the podium, this time with a 4-star silver from Ostrava.
The two Swiss athletes were competing in their second Olympics at Tokyo 2020, but their first as a team. A. Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich won their first two matches at Shiokaze Park, but they fell to eventual pool runners-up Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada, who went on to win the world championship.
They advanced to the semifinals by winning a tiebreaker against Ana Patricia Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti of Brazil and Tanja Huberli and Nina Betschart of Switzerland.