Iowa tennis commit Chelsea Bluestein set to bring relaxed, joyous personality to Iowa City

The Naples, Florida, native and 2023 commit calls herself an “unserious” player, and said he plays better when she’s relaxed.


Contributed photo by Chelsea Bluestein.

Matt McGowan, Sports Reporter

Chelsea Bluestein committed to play tennis for Iowa on Dec. 28, 2022. The same day, the Naples, Florida, native competed in the U.S. Tennis Association’s Under 18 Winter Nationals in Orlando. Not only did Bluestein win her first two singles matches of the tournament, but she immediately knew she made the right choice. 

Bluestein said Iowa women’s tennis head coach Sasha Schmid watched her play in the tournament. At the same time, her teammates and assistant coach Elise Van Heuvelen Treadwell were texting her in support, she said.

Bluestein’s pathway to signing with the Hawkeyes wasn’t simple because she dealt with injuries during her junior season of high school — a time when most college recruiting happens. 

“I just had some fundamental issues with my shoulder, and then my left side of my body was significantly weaker than my right side just because tennis is such a one-sided sport,” Bluestein said. “You use your dominant arm a lot more, so I had a lot of fundamental problems that I needed to fix.”

Having lost her junior season to injury and rehab, Bluestein returned to the court her senior year with pressure to perform well.

After making her recovery, Bluestein initially didn’t receive many offers. Rather than put more pressure on herself, Bluestein chose to let the results speak for themselves. 

“I knew I could get recruited to Power Five schools, but I wasn’t in the beginning, so I put a lot of pressure on myself,” Bluestein said. “But I eventually, I realized, whatever happens is going to happen. So, I relaxed, and that’s kind of when I started to do a lot better.” 

Bluestein has continued a relaxed demeanor on the court and said she plans to bring a fun-loving personality to Iowa City. 

“I think that I tend to be the unserious [player],” Bluestein said. “I love just making people laugh and making people smile. I’m just the goofy one. I can be a leader when I have to … But I’m definitely someone who likes to have fun on the court and to make people laugh.” 

Paired with her entertaining personality is a desire to coach and teach. Bluestein, whose mom worked as a school counselor, said this passion arrived at a young age. 

“When I was younger, I would be teaching my younger sister, and I was pretending to be her teacher,” Bluestein said.

“Doing different things, printing out worksheets for her. And then at her soccer games, all of her teammates would have baby siblings, and I would always be taking care of them.” 

Now at Seacrest County Day School, Bluestein is an assistant coach of the varsity tennis team — she chose not to play this spring — and interns in the school’s kindergarten classes. 

“I’m like a teaching assistant in the kindergarten class, which basically means I’m like another kindergartener because at that age you can’t really teach them,” Bluestein said. “But I really enjoy anything that has to do with teaching.” 

Bluestein plans on majoring in primary education while at Iowa. Even though her playing career as a Hawkeye hasn’t started yet, Schmid sees a bright future for Bluestein.

“Chelsea is somebody who just loves tennis and is really hitting her stride right now as she gets ready for college … Just really excited for her because I think when she committed and knew where she was going to school that was one thing she didn’t have to worry about,” Schmid said. “Has a big heart, and I think will be another great addition.”