Carol Barbara

Carol poses on the podium with partner Barbara and sons Jose and Salvador (Photo: Matheus Vidal/Inovafoto/CBV)

Rio 2016 Olympic medallists Bruno Schmidt and Barbara Seixas and their partners Saymon Barbosa and Carolina Salgado got a nice confidence booster ahead of next week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Gstaad, Switzerland, with their victories at the fourth stop on the Brazilian national tour this weekend.

The teams triumphed in the fourth ‘Top 8’ tournament of the country’s national season, which took place in the city of Vila Velha between Friday and Sunday.

For the 35-year-old Bruno and his partner Saymon, the victory in the city where they reside was also their first as partners – they joined forces ahead of the 2022 season.

In the gold medal match, the pair, who were coming from a fifth-place finish at the Beach Volleyball World Championship Rome 2022, defeated Bruno’s former partner Evandro Goncalves and Saymon’s former partner Alvaro Filho in three sets (9-21, 21-17, 15-10) at the Praia da Costa.

“Playing at home is always difficult because you want to win at all costs,” Bruno reflected. “If you’re not mentally prepared, the emotions can get in your way. I think that was part of our problem in the first set, but it makes me really happy to see that we had the patience to turn things around. After the matches are over, victories like these are extremely rewarding.”

Saymon Bruno

Saymon and Bruno toast their victory in Vila Velha (Photo: Matheus Vidal/Inovafoto/CBV)

Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes and Vinicius Freitas finished third after World Championship bronze medallists Andre Loyola and George Wanderley were forced to forfeit both their semifinal and bronze medal matches for medical reasons.

Reigning Brazilian champions Barbara and Carol, who were ninth at the World Championships, topped Taina Bigi and Victoria Lopes in straight sets (21-19, 21-18) in the women’s gold medal match.

“Winning tournaments is always special and this time I had my kids here, which made it extra nice,” Carol reacted. “We were on the road for four weeks on the Beach Pro Tour and had only three days at home after Rome, so we knew it wouldn’t be perfect, but we came here determined to fight. We played freely and with a smile on our faces the entire time and I think tournaments like this strengthen us for the remainder of the season.”

Taiana Lima and Hegeile ‘Hege’ Almeida, who were 17th in Rome, claimed bronze after they prevailed over Elize Maia and Thamela Coradello in two sets (21-16, 21-19).

Alongside the two winning pairs, Brazil will also have Andre/George, Renato Lima/Vitor Felipe and Evandro/Alvaro at the men’s tournament in Gstaad, while the women’s tournament will also feature Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa/Ana Patricia Ramos, Talita Antunes/Rebecca Cavalcanti, Maria Elisa Antonelli/Fernanda Berti, Andressa Cavalcanti/Vitoria Rodrigues, Taiana/Hege and Taina/Victoria.