p1440 Developmental Program: Aidan Brown, John Schwengel
The agility and conditioning drills have alas met their merciful end, and as the 15 other members of the p1440 men’s developmental program take to water or BCAAs or apples or bananas or other manner of healthy alternatives to fuel what is soon to be a four-digit calorie expenditure for the two-hour practice, John Schwengel sits down, opens up a box from Brother’s Burritos’ new location on Longfellow, and stuffs his face full of French toast bites.
These are delightful moments to witness, the ones where Schwengel the kid – the one giddily munching on French toast in the middle of a beach volleyball practice – is in immediate contrast to Schwengel the budding beach volleyball talent – the one who made two professional main draws and has competed for the United States in China and Argentina. In a single sentence, he will lament as an 18-year-old will, complaining about the lack of SnapChat and Instagram availability in Nanjing, China, and then discuss the lessons learned from competing against Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, the best in the world.
It’s a comical interplay to watch, the kid and the professional, and indeed Schwengel is a professional, pushing any possibility of competing in college aside when he accepted prize money at AVP Seattle this year. Now he’s a member of p1440’s developmental program, training like a professional, with other professionals, alongside new partner Aidan Brown, with whom he qualified for and competed in p1440 Huntington Beach.
“Our goal is to smooth out all of our skills,” he said. “We kind of have moments of greatness and then have some pretty bad slumps, so if we could kind of smooth over our game, make us a little more consistent, I think we could be pretty good.”
They have proven that, yes, they can be pretty good. Making it through a qualifier is no easy feat. Making it through when one partner, Schwengel, is just 18, and the other, Brown, is 20, is a promising bit of precociousness not often seen on the U.S. mens beach scene.
“I’d like to make this my season of really traveling to as many events as I can,” Brown, a New Mexico native, said. “Last year I made it to two [AVPs], went to Seattle and San Francisco, so this year I hope to make it to as many as possible.
“[p1440] Huntington was the first main event that I had qualified for, definitely don’t feel like I was as prepared as I could have been for the main event, being my first one, so I’m really excited for another shot of that.”
As for how they’ll get that shot, Brown described it as an “eat, sleep, volleyball, repeat type of process.”
And French toast.
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