I asked 15 questions to coaches from all college’s swimming programs across the country. There are about 600 swim programs in the country. These answers are available in the Directory of College Swimming Programs for College Swimming Guide members. I would like to share some of the most important and high-level takeaways.
These were the types of questions that I asked:
* What qualities are you looking to find in a swimmer, when you’re recruiting?
* What is your practice plan (breakdown weights, dry land, and water)?
* When should swimmers start contacting you? Junior year
Here are the things I learned.
Takeaway #1: Do Your Homework
The response rate was higher than I expected, and they continue to come in. This is a good sign. Coaches are We are actively looking to reach talented swimmers that are familiar with their programs.
The answers varied from school to school, but they were often able to give insight into the team dynamics. My takeaway was to research the program thoroughly before you visit or begin to speak with coaches via email or phone. It can help to have a list of questions ready for coaches when your swimmer interacts with them. The questions you should ask will vary based on the age and school of your swimmer.
Knowing what coaches want in a recruit is also helpful. This can be done with the 5-part College Swimming Guides series.
Takeaway #2: Target the Right Swim Programmes
Some recruiters do look at the Power Index and National Ranking, but most of them only consider a small portion of the overall package.
Many coaches said that scoring at Conference Championships is the most important thing.
“We look at ways to meet the needs of our conference program,”
“Everything is based upon the potential impact at conference championships.”
However, others place just as much importance on the student overall as the times.
“We focus mainly on grades and test scores, but sometimes we also consider other factors. We are looking for athletes who know who we are as a University and program.”
“Yes, but our main interest is in the personality and leadership abilities of student-athletes and their enthusiasm to be a part of the program.”
Not focusing on the right swimming programs is one of the greatest mistakes recruits make. It could lead to wasted effort, and worse, poor use of recruits’ precious time.
Your swimmer will be able to identify potential teams by setting realistic goals and projecting his times. Your club coach can be a great resource for this as well as keeping your swimmer grounded. Many swimmers enter the process thinking they will qualify for NCAAs as freshman swimmers, but many adjust their expectations as they continue to research. As things change over time, it’s possible to need to assess the process several times during the recruiting period.
You can focus on specific times at each conference to help you narrow down your search.
This can be very time-consuming, I’m sure. It was when my son was beginning his search. This is why I created the College Swimming guide – to have conference times, event times, and information about schools at my fingertips so it’s easier…and more painless.
While you can access all of this information independently, having it all in one place allows you to make better decisions. You can also quickly review your decisions and retarget as needed.
No matter how you do it you must ensure that you are targeting the correct programs.
Take-Away #3 – Learn about the Program and Financial Support Available
The responses of coaches varied on whether the program is fully funded or whether they offer support during the admissions process. Some schools require that athletes be admitted before they are offered a place on the team. At other schools, coaches have limited academic support positions available to help students who don’t meet the admissions criteria. While some coaches encourage recruits to inquire about scholarships early on in the process, others prefer that it be left until later.
One coach says, “My philosophy is that we always discuss it from the beginning.” However, this is not the case for everyone. Your swimmer should know that asking questions is okay, especially if it affects whether or not they are able to attend that school. Many coaches stated that they do not discuss scholarships until after the official visit.
It is important to understand how funding is allocated for a program. While many schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, they will offer financial aid for merit, academic, or other types of financial need. If they are interested in these scholarships, this could impact their high school resume.
Sometimes, this information is clearly stated. Other times it’s not. It may be obvious based on the type of swim program. While Division 3 schools cannot offer athletic scholarships, they offer other scholarships. To aid in your research, it’s useful to know the differences among Divisions. College SwimJourney’s Swimming School in Singapore offers a forum where members can ask questions such as these. I, and others who were in the process or are in the process of being hired, will be able to assist. It is monitored by me to ensure you have everything you need.
Many of the coaches who answered the Directory questions provided detailed advice and answers so that potential student-athletes understand how to position themselves for recruitment to a program that will suit them.
The Directory includes information about individual colleges, including conference, division, and state, SAT/ACT score ranges, and acceptance rates, as well as information on undergraduate enrollment.
We have seen more swimmers being recruited to college earlier than ever before. Do parents want to know When is the best time to start researching to enroll in college? While the sophomore year is the best year to start, junior year is also a good time.