Squash e-interview with Ryan Donegan
Ryan Donegan is currently the #1 player on the Dartmouth college varsity squash team ( ranked #5 2003) and a squashclub.org member
SquashClub.org: How and when did you get seriously interested in squash?
I started playing squash when I was 12 years old. My step-father, who
is mainly a racquetball player, played squash to get into shape for
racquetball tournaments. As a result, he tried to get me to play
racquetball but I just found it too boring. Squash on the other hand was very
interesting to me and I mainly played as a hobby to my other more
serious sports at the time, which were basketball, golf, and baseball.
After playing non-serious squash for about a year and a half, I became much
more involved and serious with the game, when Gus Cook took me on as
his student. In a relationship that was beneficially to the both of us,
Gus used me as a project to prove to the U.S. that he was a very
qualified squash coach and I was given lessons for basically no charge.
(Charges will come in the future as Gus says). From this point onwards, I
became more and more serious about squash and eventually chose it as my
main focus athletically. With Gus as my coach/agent, I was given the
opportunity to work with Mike Johnson in England, which improved my game
tremendously before college.
SquashClub.org: How do like playing collegiate squash?
Playing collegiate squash is very exciting but also very difficult.
When I came to Dartmouth to begin my freshman year I really had no idea
what to expect but as I soon found out, balancing academics and serious
squash is difficult. Our team practices start in October and from that
point until mid March the team has practice five or six times a week
for 2 hours a day. When the team does not have practice we have team
matches; there are two weekends of matches in November and matches every
Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday in January, February, and March. With a
tremendous amount of squash packed into my schedule, which includes
extra early morning sessions to insure that I am ready for the season, all
of my remaining time is left for school. So after 10 weeks of just
school and squash, a long vacation is usually in order.
As for the competition in college squash, it is a very good level
right now and I think it will continue to go higher. As schools become
more serious and competitive with their squash teams, they look to bring
in the best recruits, which happen to be mostly from foreign countries.
As a an American player looking to improve as much as possible in
college this is of great advantage for me. As the level goes higher it
gives me the opportunity to push my game to that next level, which will
help me greatly when I play after school.
So far college squash has been a great experience for me and I look
forward to hopefully winning the intercollegiate title before I leave
Dartmouth, thereby making myself the first American to win the title since
the softball conversion. I also hope that the level of college squash
continues to get higher. With most of the American players choosing to
go to college they are at a great disadvantage when playing
professionally after school. If the college level gets high enough it will give
the top American collegiate players a much better chance at becoming top
level pros after school.
SquashClub.org: Many thanks to Ryan for sharing his insights! He can be reached by searching for squash players in the state of "Louisiana" in USA.