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2018-02-20 11:09:00 CET

Humana-Paredes pumped for #FTLMajor debut!

From studying to the Florida sand in a year for Canadian star

Melissa (right) and Sarah reached the semifinals in seven out of eight tournaments in 2017Melissa (right) and Sarah reached the semifinals in seven out of eight tournaments in 2017

A lot has changed in the last 12 months for Melissa Humana-Paredes.

This time last year the Canadian defender was sitting in a Communication Studies class at York University watching the Fort Lauderdale Major action on BeachStream!

With new teammate Sarah Pavan playing indoor in Italy and Melissa busy studying, the duo missed last season’s extravaganza on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

This year, however, Melissa won’t be busy with her head in books and Sarah’s sticking to sand! Pavan quit indoor and Melissa is no longer studying – and she can’t wait to get going in Florida.

“I’m so excited – I’ve never been to Fort Lauderdale before so it will be my first time,” explains the 25-year-old, smiling. “Last year I remember missing out on all the fun and taking a photo of myself watching on the Beach Majors Series BeachStream in class. I’ve only heard good things about the place and I know it being a Major Series event that it’s going to be showcased in the best way.”

Beach season is back! ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒธโ˜€๏ธ Bringing some sunshine to class with @swatchmajorseries's live streaming ๐Ÿ™Š๐Ÿ˜„ Cheering on Team Canada from home but looking forward to getting back on tour soon #goCanada #dontdothiskids #multitasking #fullhouse

505 Likes, 17 Comments - Melissa Humana-Paredes (@melissahumanaparedes) on Instagram: "Beach season is back! ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒธโ˜€๏ธ Bringing some sunshine to class with @swatchmajorseries's live streaming..."

Once Melissa and Sarah were reunited together on the beach for the 2017 season, the pair went on to enjoy a hot streak on the sand which began with a silver medal in Rio in May – their first tournament together. They then went on to win Poreฤ Major gold, Gstaad Major bronze and finished in fourth in both the World Championships and the World Tour Finals.

So with more time to prepare this year, can we expect the Canadian stars – who ended 2017 second in the World Rankings – to hit the beach running this time round?

“That’s been the exciting part – having a pre-season together,” Melissa says. “It’s nice to have the time to prepare. We’ll have five weeks leading up to Fort Lauderdale – but our preparation for the long season will be much improved compared to last year.

“But training’s been good – it’s always a challenge to come back after some time off after the season. It takes a couple of weeks to get the legs and lungs back. At the end of January I definitely was dying! It’s like riding a bike, though, once you get back into things.”

Survived week 1! (barely... see previous post) Only 4 more weeks until the @beachmajorseries in Fort Lauderdale!๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿฝ

1,349 Likes, 23 Comments - Melissa Humana-Paredes (@melissahumanaparedes) on Instagram: "Survived week 1! (barely... see previous post) Only 4 more weeks until the @beachmajorseries in..."

Pavan revealed to us in an exclusive interview that she was quitting her indoor volleyball career to fully focus on beach volleyball, with this year’s Commonwealth Games and the Tokyo Olympics the aim.

And Melissa, voted last season’s Most Improved Player by the FIVB, could not be happier with her teammate’s decision.

“I knew going into the partnership that this was the deal and that Sarah had her indoor career – I understood that,” says Melissa. “I accepted it and I think it worked well for us both, especially last year when I was still in school. I never once saw Sarah’s indoor career as a negative but knowing she quit for us – the team – is really humbling.

“I know volleyball was a big part of her life and career and giving up something up she enjoys and make a commitment to this team and beach volleyball is very touching. It means a lot.”

Remember you can catch Melissa and Sarah’s first Fort Lauderdale Major appearance live on BeachStream. Click here to sign-up and get closer to the sand.

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