Hawkeye tennis duo to double-dip in the coming week


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The Iowa men’s tennis team will head to the Keystone State to compete in the Penn Invitational in Philadelphia for the first time in the team’s history.  But that isn’t the only tournament some Hawkeyes are preparing for.

Senior captain Garret Dunn and junior Michael Swank are traveling to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men’s All-American Championship at the University of Tulsa.

Dunn and Swank have been hard at work in practice building their conditioning. All-day tournaments sometimes have players playing numerous matches in one day, making physical stamina a key factor in having a successful outing.

“It will be tough. The fall is the time to get your fitness back and get into shape,” Dunn said. “Obviously, your body is going to be tired, but that’s something you have to push through.”

For Dunn, it’s more about being prepared mentally for a long week than the physical training that goes into competing in two events.

“If you can prepare for it mentally, you’re better off,” he said. “If I feel that I’m going to have a long week ahead of me, I feel better prepared for it than if it was sprung on me last minute.”

Dunn and Swank are the No. 55 doubles pair in the country, and a good showing in Tulsa could help them climb higher into the national spotlight, said assistant coach Steve Nash.

“If you have a great fall and beat a couple ranked teams, that can carry a long way,” Nash said. “No one deserves it more than Garret and Michael to go to the NCAA Tournament and be one of the best teams in the country.”

Traditionally, Iowa has brought more players to the All-American Championships. However, the tournament does not have back-draws, and the coaching staff decided that a tournament with the possibility of playing more matches would benefit the team. This year, nine Hawkeyes will travel to Penn.

“This time of year, we feel it’s more important for guys to play more matches than go to a place where they could have a bad day and play a bad match and get any more matches in,” Nash said. “This tournament is going to be better for the guys to develop.”

“One benefit is that we get the opportunity to play a lot of guys and teams we wouldn’t ordinarily play,” Houghton said.

Iowa will face the likes of Brown, Drexel, and Princeton, in addition to a familiar Minnesota squad. There are 16 teams in the tournament.

“The Ivy League schools have done a great job with recruiting, and they’re really strong teams now,” said Nash. “It’s always nice to go someplace where you get to see a different style of play … They play a very disciplined game, and you get to go out there and really think through a match.”

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