A Freshmen Trio

March 22, 2007

While freshmen across campus were getting used to juggling the academic and social life of college last fall, three freshmen (Patrick Dwyer, Reinoud Haal, Tommy McGeorge) on the men’s tennis team were trying to stay afloat. Early on during their year, the three quickly learned how much they had to step it up to compete at the collegiate level.

They came to Iowa to play tennis, but at the same time are held accountable for their academics and getting used to life on their own. Dwyer is happy to be on his own for once, but has found that he can’t allow himself to get behind. As an athlete it’s very tough to get caught up with busy schedule. A less intense fall season helped the freshmen get an idea of what the spring season might be like.

“You have to learn to manage your time with homework, tennis, and everything else that comes along, but in the end it’s a good lifestyle,” said McGeorge.

During the last month, Haal admits everything has finally been coming together for him. He had good grades the first semester, but his biggest transition was moving to the U.S. from the Netherlands. He was trying to get used to a different language, a very different culture, and different food. It took time, but he eventually got used to it.

They may have been able to get used to the academic side of college life, but quickly learned that the competition level in collegiate tennis is much higher than that of junior tennis.

Players are hitting harder and are more competitive. Tennis is much more intense than it once was. Players are held accountable for much more than they ever were. If they aren’t hitting the weight room and doing other off-court preparation, chances of winning are not very good. The margin of error is much less at the collegiate level.

“You can play a bad match and still win [in juniors], but here you always have to play a good match,” said Haal about the difference. “You always have to play your best.”

In the past, they’ve trained a lot and played a lot of matches. At the collegiate level, they’re doing it all, but more. The trio may have not been used to it, but they’ve realized when you get to this level, you really need to work on your physical conditioning. Now they’re much more prepared for longer, more intense matches.

Competing at the junior level taught them how to win matches and how to fight through things when they weren’t playing well. Now they’re learning how to bring it to a completely different level.

“When you get here, you all of a sudden have to raise it to another level,” said Dwyer.

Although the transitions have been, at times, difficult for all three, one constant factor has been their teammates. They’ve been able to keep each other up because they’re positive and work hard. Everyone on the team has gotten along well, which has helped the group maintain team spirit.

“When everyone has a good attitude and looks out for each other, it makes it everything more enjoyable,” said Dwyer.

Whether it was wanting to play for a Big Ten school or getting away from home, Dwyer, Haal, and McGeorge have been able to transition themselves from high school to college.

On the court, Dwyer finished the fall season with a 7-6 record in singles and 6-4 in doubles. Haal was 6-5 in singles and 7-0 in doubles and won the doubles championship at the Louisville Invitational with senior Scott Elwell. McGeorge finished 8-6 in singles and 3-4 in doubles and won the singles championship at the Louisville Invitational.

written by Josh Mitchell, Iowa Sports Information