As a teenager, Chaim Schalk asked his father to invest in his future beach volleyball career by building a sand court in their backyard. Reluctant at the time, his father now admits the investment paid off as Schalk and partner Ben Saxton ended the 2015 season as the top-ranked Canadian men’s team on the FIVB World Tour. The two Albertans teamed up near the end of the 2012 season, in part because both were in favour of spending more time training in California with the top American teams. They won their first tournament together, a NORCECA event in Chula Vista, cementing the partnership. Another early highlight was a fifth place finish at the 2013 World Championships in Stare Joblonki, Poland for Canada’s best ever men’s result at the global event, after defeating one of the top teams in the world, Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs. Saxton and Schalk went on to reach their first ever FIVB World Tour podium in 2014, claiming bronze at the Parana Open in Argentina. They closed the season with a victory at the NORCECA continental championship. Their 2015 season included podium finishes at the Yokohama and Olsztyn Grand Slam events. They reached a Major Series podium for the first time in July 2016, taking bronze in Porec, Croatia. In their Olympic debut at Rio 2016, Saxton and Schalk advanced to the round of 16.
Getting to know…
Family: Parents Stan and Crystal… Brothers Kyle, Jaben, Seth, Mikiah… Married American beach volleyball player Lane Carico on New Year’s Eve in 2015… Getting into the Sport: Started playing volleyball at age 12… He and his competitive brothers erected a makeshift net in their backyard… After picking up beach volleyball, he pestered his father to build a sand court where he and his high school friends could play… His father arranged for a truck to dump the sand but he and his friends had to level it out… Credits that backyard beach court with taking him from just enjoying the game to wanting to really pursue it… Outside Interests: Graduated from Trinity Western University in 2009 with an education degree, focusing on social studies and human kinetics… Odds and Ends: Nickname: Chaimer… Supports the Salt and Light Foudation since his best friend and his wife moved to Laos to perform missionary work… Favourite quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky…
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Notable International Results
Olympic Games: 2016 - 9th (Saxton)
FIVB World Championships: 2015 – 17th (Saxton); 2013 – 5th (Saxton)
FIVB World Tour (top 5): 2016 – BRONZE (Klagenfurt Major Series), BRONZE (Porec Major Series), 5th (Olsztyn Grand Slam) 5th (Xiamen Open); 2015 – BRONZE (Olsztyn Grand Slam), SILVER (Yokohama Grand Slam), 5th (Porec Major Series); 2014 – BRONZE (Parana Open), 5th (Sao Paulo Grand Slam)