The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s tennis’ Chelsea Bluestein finding new home in Hawkeye teammates and coaches.

Bluestein has made a quick impact with her extra work and strong mentality.
Contributed photo by Chelsea Bluestein.

First-year tennis player Chelsea Bluestein has found a new family on the Iowa women’s tennis team. 

Bluestein held a five-star status in high school despite a diabetes diagnosis at 12 years old that caused her multiple injuries, thus making recruitment tougher for her.

Those injuries kept the Naples, Florida, native out for most of her junior year of high school, but after getting healthy as a senior, her recruitment stock shot up. 

She started talking to Iowa tennis head coach Sasha Schmid in November 2022, and after a few visits to Iowa City, she knew she didn’t want to go anywhere else. 

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“I was really specific about what I wanted coming in,” Bluestein said. “I wanted to find a place where I could not only further my education but also further my tennis career as well.” 

“My goal is to go pro if I’m able to, so I was really looking for somewhere that had a good coach and a good conference where I can get good matches,” she added.

But Bluestein was also looking for a team that felt like a family.

“Some of the visits I went on, you could just feel the disconnect, and I didn’t really like that,” she said. “It’s really important to me, the relationships with teammates and also the teammates’ relationship with coaches.”

Schmid immediately had high praise for Bluestein. Watching her play as a senior, she noticed Bluestein was already playing at the level of a successful college player, which made it hard to miss her. 

“Fortunately, it was one of things where I was able to get down and watch her practice and meet her in person and meet her mom and dad,” Schmid said. “So many things she was looking for in a program I felt like we were a good match for.” 

Bluestein is excited about traveling and spending time with her team this year. She loves to feel the energy and cheer when she’s in big matches.  

“I’ve been by myself for so long because tennis is an individual sport,” Bluestein said. “Coming here, being part of a team, you can lift everyone up as a team. Even if you lose, you lose as a team now, and it’s not just on you.”

Bluestein’s goal for the season is to just play as much as she can and be present with her team. 

In her first semester with the Hawkeyes, Bluestein has already made an impact with her great energy and consistently positive attitude. 

She’s already putting in the extra work on her skills before and after practice, such as hitting extra serves and practicing on the ball machine.

 “She’s a good player, and she’s excited to compete,” Schmid said. “She wants to work hard, and she’s already doing things that aren’t on the schedule. I think all of those types of things speak to her excitement to be a Hawkeye and her willingness to put in extra work even as a freshman.”

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About the Contributor
Keaton Speicher, Sports Reporter