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Team of the Week: Claes and Sponcil

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 29, 2020 – The life of a team competing on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour usually includes a lot of travelling, training and playing, but there is always some downtime too.

Partners since the end of 2018, the 24-year-old Kelly Claes and 23-year-old Sarah Sponcil have put free time to good use and let their creativity flow in song. And they are taking it to another level.

It all started with Sponcil, who drafted their first creation, ‘Beach Rules’, a parody of Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’, which contains tips for beach volleyball players.

“She wrote 'Beach Rules' last year and once I read it through, I was like 'Wait, this is unreal',” Claes said in an interview to the Sandcast podcast. “There's so much free time on the road in the season, so we wrote more songs. And I think they're good!”

The Americans, who named their duo Team Slaes, produced a video clip for ‘Beach Rules’, which they posted on their Instagram accounts. From there, writing just became a bigger part of their routine on the road.

“We had a flight back from the Czech Republic to Los Angeles and literally the entire flight we wrote songs,” Sponcil recalled, laughing. “It was like eight hours and the flight attendants were like 'Do you guys want food or something?' and we were 'No, we're in the middle of something here, don't bother us'.”

Their second creation, ‘Drops of Reality’, a parody of Train’s ‘Drops of Jupiter’ which focuses on the changes recently-graduated students face in their lives, was released earlier this year.

More than just filling their free time and entertaining, their writing and producing has also brought them closer. Rivals during their college careers (Claes played for the University of Southern California (USC) while Sponcil featured for UCLA, the University of California in Los Angeles), the Americans have found out that they share a lot more than just the same professional ambitions.

“I think it's really important to have good off-the-court chemistry with your partner,” Claes added. “I know several players see a beach volleyball partnership more as a business relationship and I get them, but with Sarah, I could tell we were going to get along really well since the beginning.”

Claes and Sponcil have paired in 18 World Tour events so far, winning silver medals in The Hague and Espinho and taking bronze in Qinzhou.

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