Walsh Jennings, Sweat win silver

Kerri Walsh Jennings, Brooke Sweat Win Silver in Kuala Lumpur

FIVB-Kerri Walsh Jennings-Brooke Sweat

Small gains. That’s how a process goes. That’s how a climb, no matter the industry, be it business or beach volleyball, goes. Such has been the quick ascent of Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat – little gains here and there, adding up to more podiums and, now, podium finishes of a different color.

Seven months ago, they played in their first tournament as a team, at p1440’s four-star FIVB in Las Vegas. They finished seventeenth, well out of the Sunday contention. On Saturday, at a three-star in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, they made their third podium in the past six tournaments, finishing second in an excellent match with the Czech Republic’s Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova, 26-24, 20-22, 12-15.

Was it the finish they sought? Unlikely. But still: A silver medal now marks their best finish as a team, continuing a pattern of medaling every other tournament. With the Olympics still more than a year away, that type of consistency will soon begin paying dividends.

It was a victory, too, on a number of levels. It was a victory in terms of points, as Walsh Jennings and Sweat picked up another solid finish to add to their growing list of them. It was a victory in the sense that Sweat was back in an FIVB final for just the second time in her career and the first since 2017, in Moscow with Summer Ross. It was a victory, too, that Walsh Jennings was also back on familiar ground in the finals, her first since 2016 with April Ross, with whom she qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The silver medal completes a successful Asia swing, which also included a four-star in Xiamen, China, in which Walsh Jennings and Sweat finished ninth, coming out of the country quota and the qualifier.

The next stop on the Walsh Jennings-Sweat Olympic run will likely be in Itapema, Brazil, for a four-star beginning May 15.

Then it’s back to China, for another four-star in Jinjiang, which precedes a stop in Ostrava, home court of Hermannova and Slukova.