Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Wednesday, July 29, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2015-16 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Summer 2016 will be about tennis and exploration for University of Iowa senior Aimee Tarun.
“The summer after my freshman year I went to Mexico for two weeks and played two tournaments,” said Tarun. “It was an awesome experience, I met a lot of people, and got to see how a pro circuit works.Tarun, a native of Winnetaka, Illinois, will travel overseas to give herself a worldly perspective in tennis and life. She plans on competing in professional tournaments in Mauritius, Finland, and Portugal with a trip to England also on the docket.
“You get to see people from all over the world and play different types of people. It is a totally different experience. I wanted to do it last year, but I was in summer school, so I thought I would give it a try this summer.”
Tarun is planning on departing for Africa on June 7 for a tournament that begins June 12. She’ll then meet her mother, Helen McSweeney, in England to take in her first Wimbledon experience.
“It is going to incredible,” said Tarun. “I have been to the U.S. Open and last summer I went to the French Open, so this will be my third Grand Slam. It’s going to be neat seeing all the professionals and Wimbledon is iconic.”
After returning to the states, Tarun will travel to Finland for two tournaments in July before rounding out her summer playing her final two tournaments at a location to be determined once the August schedule is released. Then it’s back to Iowa City for her senior season.
“It will make be better from competing at this high level and getting to train all summer,” she said. “When I am not playing matches, I will be playing against and practicing with the people I meet every day.
“I think traveling to these other countries with people my own age, even if I don’t know them well, will help me grow as a person and become more independent. It will help me grow my leadership skills to be able to help lead this team next season.”
Tarun’s collegiate career has gone by in a blink of an eye. She wants to finish her playing days as a Hawkeye strong and build off a junior season where she went 11-12 in singles and won 14 matches in doubles.
“My career has gone by so fast,” she said. “I remember my first day freshman year like it was yesterday. Next year we want to be better as a team. We want to make the Big Ten Tournament and the ultimate goal would be to make the NCAAs.
“We had a young team this season and I think we can improve next season.”
This summer is the start of that process. It will allow her to compete against professionals all while making herself worldly along the way.
“I want to grow as a person, see new places, and face good competition,” said Tarun. “It’s a level of competition I might not see here in the states at college tournaments. Those are strong too, but I think this is another level of competition, playing against people who are trying to do this for a living.
“I am excited for the new experiences, meeting new people, and getting to see the world.”