Mixed doubles players compete in a game during the 2018 Margaritaville Pickleball National Championship at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018.
While playing collegiate tennis at Michigan State, Catherin Parenteau had the good fortune of learning the game under head coach Simone Jardim, now one of pickleball’s top players. After her four years of eligibility were over for the Spartans, Parenteau used her fifth year in Lansing as part of Jardim’s coaching staff. “I missed competing and Simone introduced me to pickleball that year and I loved the sport right away and began playing in tournaments shortly after first picking up a paddle,” said Catherine who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from MSU.
Now living in Naples, Florida and working as a pickleball instructor when not playing in pro events, Catherine is seeing first-hand the rapid rise in popularity of the sport. “It is a lot of fun to play and anybody can play pickleball. It is much easier than tennis for example to get a rally going. I can play with my grandfather, my mom, etc. It is a fun activity to do as a family. It is also very friendly, the court is small, so you get to socialize a lot more than other sports.”
At the 2018 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships, Catherine won a gold medal with playing partner Leigh Waters in Women’s Age Double 19+ 5.0. She also secured a bronze medal with Suzee Anderson in Women’s Double Open. At the 2019 US Open, she teamed with Joey Farias to win gold in Mixed Doubles 25+.
Playing the game’s premier event in Indian Wells has also elevated the stature of the sport according to Catherine. It brings a lot of exposure to the sport! It is awesome to play at this facility; it is beautiful, and I feel so lucky to be playing at a world-class tennis complex. I remember watching my tennis idols on TV at Indian Wells a few years ago and never thought that I would one day be competing there at this great facility! It is very exciting!