The IUPUI women's tennis team has served up some memorable wins in the first part of the spring season. The Jags are 5-11 (1-0) through 16 spring matches against tough competition, including Big Ten powerhouses Purdue and Illinois, and an impressive 5-4 at home inside the West Indy Racquet Club. They've compiled dominating wins over in-state competition in Valparaiso (5-2) and Evansville (5-2) as well as a conference victory against Western Illinois (4-3) in their lone Summit League match.
The success has been due in part to the team chemistry in head coach Marisa Lambropoulos' first year at the helm. One of those bonds extends beyond the borders of a college campus and the white lines of a tennis court.
Junior Rachel Swartwood and freshman Brigitte Swartwood shared a piece of their sisterhood during a match-absent week in March.
Q: What is your major / What do you hope to do after college?
Rachel: Civic Leadership (major) & Human Resources (minor) – I plan on attending grad school here at IUPUI.
Brigitte: Chemistry (major) – I plan to go to medical school.
Q: What hobbies do you have outside of tennis?
Rachel: Outside of tennis, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. Just casually hanging out and having good company.
Brigitte: Binge watching Grey's Anatomy. I also love to read but I don't have a lot of time to do that these days!
Q: What made you choose IUPUI?
Rachel: Brigitte asked me if I had considered IUPUI. At that time it hadn't even crossed my mind, but since we are close and I take her opinion seriously, I gave it a look. It had always been on the top of her list. When I came on the visit, I loved the team. I also liked the downtown location of the university and all the opportunities they had to offer. So Brigitte really was my reason for choosing IUPUI. Most people would think she came here because of me, but really it's the opposite!
Brigitte: I chose IUPUI for the urban campus and the immense resources available for a pre-med student.
Q: Do you prefer indoor or outdoor?
Rachel: Outdoor. The wind and sun are great equalizers and really separate the tough mental players from the weak mental players.
Brigitte: Outdoor. I like the challenge. I love being in the elements and having to adjust.
Q: What's one thing about your sister that most people don't know?
Rachel: She is really good at math! In high school, she used to help me with my math homework. Even though she was younger than me, she could look at the examples in the book and figure it out.
Brigitte: People don't know that Rachel was supposed to be a boy. Up until she was born, they thought she was going to be a boy. Her name was supposed to be Mitchell.
Q: Who is better one-on-one?
Rachel: I usually win when we play sets. My ego is always on the line. When we just play tiebreakers or points at practice it's usually 50/50.
Brigitte: We rarely play one-on-one but I think Rachel might still have me, and might always. She plays such a unique style that's hard to beat. I hope to get her one day though!
Q: Have you two ever played doubles together?
Rachel: We began this season playing No. 2 doubles together. I love playing with her. We were very in sync. It was as if we knew what the other was thinking. Playing with Brigitte made me feel so comfortable on court and she always kept me calm.
Brigitte: We never played together in high school but we have played a couple of matches together here at IUPUI. Playing with Rachel is my absolute favorite. I know exactly what she is going to do and she knows the same for me.
Q: Who has more power? Who has more touch/finesse?
Rachel: Brigitte hits the fuzz of the ball. Her ground strokes are more powerful than mine, but my serve is more powerful than hers.
Brigitte: We both play with quite a bit of power but I would say I'm the more powerful one. We play a fairly similar style in that we love to be on offense and dictate the play. Her serve is definitely more powerful but she tends to use more angles because of her two-handedness.
Q: Who is your favorite professional tennis player?
Rachel: Roger Federer. He has so much class and mental composure. I wish I could stay that steady when a match isn't going my way.
Brigitte: Rafael Nadal. It made watching tennis growing up pretty competitive (because of the Nadal-Federer rivalry). My favorite women's player would be Eugenie Bouchard or Carolina Wozniacki.
Q: What's one thing tennis has taught you?
Rachel: Tennis has taught me to believe in myself. It's very individualistic. It's me against you. If I didn't believe in myself, there is no way I would be able to compete at this level. College tennis has taught me that I'm not out there on my own and that my team has my back. It's taught me to believe in others.
Brigitte: Tennis has taught me that it's ok to be vulnerable. That it's alright to put everything you have on the line and come up short.
This article was originally published on March 24, 2016 at IUPUIJags.com, the Official Site of IUPUI Athletics.