The American contingent grew by one for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships that start in Rome on Friday.

That’s because a Swedish pair had to drop out and was replaced by the USA’s Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb. 

“One of the guys from Team Sweden got injured and had to withdraw, so we are officially playing in the World Championships. Great for us, bad for them,” Bourne wrote on Instagram, wishing well to the Swedish pair of Jonatan Hellvig and David Ahman.

“I’ve been on the good and bad side of these situations many times now,” Bourne continued. “Broken hand in Rome, Sick for Vienna WC, COVID alternate in Tokyo, etc. Unfortunately, this is being a professional athlete.”

So here’s who’s in for the USA:

USA Men

— Taylor Crabb and Taylor Sander, seeded third in a Pool D with Qatari Oympic bronze-medalists Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan, France’s Youssef Krou Arnaud Gauthier-Rat, and Paraguay’s Gonzalo Melgarejo and Roger Battiliana;

— Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner, seeded second in a Pool F with the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner, Norwegians Mathias Berntsen and Hendrik Mol, and Mozambique’s Ainadino Martinho and Jorge Monjane;

— Bourne and Trevor Crabb, seeded first in Pool K with Italians Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottavfava, Colombia’s Johan Murray and Sneider Rivas, and Thailand’s Surin Jongkland and Banlue Nakprakhong.

USA Women

— Olympian Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint, top-seeded in Pool E with Canadians Sophie Bukovec and Brandie Wilkerson, Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner and Zoe Verge-Depre, and Italy’s Valentina Cali and Marghertia Tega; 

— Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske, top-seeded in Pool F with Spain’s Maria Carro and Angela Lobato, Ecuador’s Ariana Castro and Karelys Simisterra and Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi;

— Emily Day and Emily Stockman, seeded second in Pool G behind Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Rebecca Silva, are also with Finland’s Taru Lahti and Niina Ahtianen and the Domincan Republic’s Julibeth Payano and Jeneiry Rosario;

— Olympian Sarah Sponcil and Terese Cannon, the second seed in Pool H behind Australian Olympians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar, and also in with Cuba Olympians Leila Martinez and Lidy Echeverria and Egypt’s Farida and Doaa.

Worth noting

This is the first World Championship since 2019. The men’s title three years ago in Hamburg, Germany, went to Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov, who are banned from the competition because of the war in Ukraine. They beat Germans Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler in the final. Wickler is playing with Nils Ehlers this year.

The women’s gold in 2019 went to Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, who just last week in Latvia returned the top of the podium for the first time since 2019. They beat the USA’s April Ross and Alix Klineman in the Hamburg gold-medal match. Both Ross — who would have played with Emily Day — and Klineman are out. Ross is injured and Klineman is recovering from surgery. They won Olympic gold last summer.

This week the Canadians are the top seed in Pool J. 

USC national champion Tina Graudina and Latvian partner Anastasija Kravcenoka, fourth-place Olympians last summer, are the top seed in Pool C. 

There are 36 matches on the Friday schedule — including 24 in women’s pool play — and they can all be seen on the Volleyball World stream at vb.tv.

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AVP women's preview 7/16/2020-World Championships 2019 July 6-Melissa Humana Paredes-Sarah Pavan
Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes after winning World Championships gold in 2019/Mark Rigney photography

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