Local teenager hopes to take sports career to the next level after trip to Thailand
Cameron Chadwick, a student at Georgian College, shines on the international beach volleyball scene; “I loved it here, it’s paradise”
Cameron Chadwick got the chance to play on the international beach volleyball scene and he likes it.
The Georgian College student has just returned from the 2021 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships in Phuket, Thailand, after being called up as a substitute when another Team Canada member was injured.
The six-foot-tall Barrie teenager who played court volleyball with the Georgian Grizzlies – where his father Robin Chadwick served as an assistant coach for the past four years – had two weeks to make all the preparations and find his beach legs when winter started here at home.
“It was really crazy,” he said.
Chadwick was a competitive swimmer but switched to volleyball four years ago and played on the court. Two years ago, competitive beach volleyball was added and knew that he had found his sport.
And when the pandemic affected indoor team sports, the transition to outdoor beach volleyball was a matter of course. Last summer he worked during the week and traveled to Toronto on the weekends to play tournaments with his partner and work on his game.
“It didn’t feel like volleyball, it was our community. We’d all go to tournaments and then all go out, ”he said. “It was just as sociable as it was competitive, which is one of the reasons I love beach volleyball so much.”
At the beginning of the year he and his partner applied for the Thailand competition. An application process from the pandemic era replaced a qualification tournament. You have been selected as the third team. Since only two teams could leave, they became replacements.
When notified that a seat had suddenly become vacant, Chadwick and his current partner agreed that he should see Martin Licht, the University of Toronto student on the Can2 team in Thailand.
He left home on November 30th and arrived on December 2nd for a 10-day stay in Thailand after transfers and two layovers and a 12-hour clock change.
The day after arrival, training began, which also included adapting to the extremely high temperatures.
“In Canada you can’t prepare for the heat here, it’s so hot. And it’s so damp. It’s so hard to breathe, ”he said. “We did basic things like jogging and we got breathless. It was exhausting.
“After a few days of getting used to it, it was better.”
Four days later, the unforgettable qualifier that Chadwick calls the “perfect volleyball” followed.
“It was point by point, back and forth. The normal volleyball set is 21 points and two wins. We went to, the bottom line was 34 to 32, ”he said.
Three more games followed that led them to a playoff match in which they were eliminated. This makes the team one of the top 17 in the world for its age.
Chadwick’s first chance to play beach volleyball outside of Canada was an unforgettable experience that he is dying to repeat.
“I loved it here, it is paradise. I don’t want to come home, ”he said from his hotel room on the beach during a Facetime interview. “It lives a dream. It’s Thailand, one of the most beautiful places in the world, where I play a sport that I love. It couldn’t be better. “
Beach volleyball is his passion and he is noticing that he is drifting away from court volleyball, he said. And now he is counting on more international engagement.
For Chadwick, however, the key is experience – Traveling and discovering other cultures, meeting like-minded people and making global connections in a sport in which “everyone is nice”.
Beyond that, however, there are efforts. The Olympic Games, for example, would definitely be on the bucket list.
But time is on his side. Volleyball players don’t get on their feet until later in their twenties, so Chadwick reckons there will be plenty of opportunities to hone his skills.
Now it’s back to the farm for another season with the Grizzlies and a resumption of his studies, which he never broke off during his travels. He has an eye for mechanical engineering and is currently enrolled in Georgian’s architectural technology program.
The exams for Chadwick began Tuesday, hot on the heels of a magical experience.