Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner’s 2023 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship title may have come as a surprise to many. Even to the Czech players themselves, it was a “utopian idea”, but judging by the growth and the consistency their team has shown over the years, that triumph was a logical point on their journey in the magical world of beach volleyball.
In the early days of his beach volleyball career, Perusic competed at a number of age-category world and European championships. When he was just 15 years old, he reached a fifth place at the 2012 FIVB U21 World Championship with Ondrej Benes. Three years later, Ondrej Perusic & Tomas Vana finished fourth at the CEV U22 European Championship.
Perusic joined forces with Schweiner in 2016. They started testing the sand in some senior men’s international tournaments and have been together with growing success ever since. Their first medal on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour was a Montpellier 1-star silver in 2017. The following year they got a 3-star silver in Mersin. Another year later, they made it to their first 4-star podium with yet another silver at home in Ostrava.
The coronavirus pandemic put the world on pause for a while, but obviously Perusic & Schweiner did not waste their time. With beach volleyball’s return to the world stage in March 2021, the Czech pair immediately emerged with their first gold at the Doha 4-star in Qatar. They added a couple of more high-level medals to their World Tour collection and rightfully qualified for their first Olympic Games. Unfortunately, it was the coronavirus that played a bad joke on them in Tokyo. A positive test forced them to forfeit their first match at the Games and despite winning their second and pushing the reigning world champions at the time to a tie-breaker in the third, the Czechs stopped short of advancing beyond pool. Towards the end of that season, Perusic & Schweiner earned silver at the last-ever World Tour Finals in Cagliari, while the decision to end their professional beach volleyball journey was postponed for the time being, at least for another Olympic cycle.
2022 was marked with more silver lining as the Czech standouts lost all four big finals they reached during the year, three on the inaugural Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour (Itapema Challenge, Ostrava Elite16, Gstaad Elite16) and one at the European Championship in Munich, but in 2023 the lining turned to gold. Perusic & Schweiner broke the silver “curse” with a Uberlandia Elite16 trophy in April and repeated that success at the Paris Elite16, just before flying to Mexico for the World Championship. Despite losing two of their three matches in pool play at Tlaxcala 2023, they marched on victoriously to the historic title, the first for them and for their country.