How Will COVID-19 Impact College Recruiting, Part 4?

How Will COVID-19 Impact College Recruiting, Part 4?

As we have been discussing over the last few weeks, these are uncertain times on all fronts due to COVID-19 and it has created a lot of confusion for swimmers and parents regarding recruiting. I am receiving emails daily from senior level swimmers wondering what coaches are thinking, if the recruiting timeline has changed, and what they should be doing now.

No matter where you are in the recruiting process, no doubt you have experienced some disruption in your plans. You and your swimmer may have been planning college tours over Spring Break, your swimmer may have been invited to Junior Day, they may have had official visits planned or you may still be in the research stage.

I reached out to college swim coaches recently to ask how they think the recruiting landscape will change and what advice they have for swimmers trying to navigate this already-crazy process.

I asked the coaches 4 specific questions and I will share their replies with you over the next few weeks.

 

All of the coaches I corresponded with said that swimmers should still be reaching out to them as this is a good time to exchange emails and schedule phone calls. Be sure you and your swimmer are familiar with when coaches can communicate with swimmers as it varies by age and the division the school is in.

 

Coach Responses: What would you like recruits to know now?

“I recommend just taking a breath and encouraging kids to keep in touch and request conversations with coaches and programs that they are interested in pursuing. Things will be delayed but that is going to really depend on each program which is why kids should reach out to schools they are interested in to understand each programs process as they are all slightly different.”

James Holder, Head Swim Coach, Dartmouth College

 

“They will still be recruited! For the 21’s, there is still plenty of time to showcase. Yes, some schools may be completing their ‘21 classes soon but many will have openings. If you have the desire to be a part of a program, then show it. Coaches love to see the passion.”

Jimmy Tierney, Head Men’s & Women’s Swimming/Diving Coach, McKendree University

 

“I would like recruits to know that we understand that times are tough.  Fortunately, Olivet College wants to provide them a chance to see and reach their full potential, and missing out on their final meet is difficult, but that doesn’t mean their journey is over.  We believe in our family, vision, and athletes here at OC.  We are building championship caliber teams with goals of rewriting our record boards and qualifying for NCAA’s every year.  We encourage you to check us out, and maybe become part of our family.”

Rob Brownell, Swimming & Diving Head Coach, Olivet College

 

“Relax, breathe and take care of yourself first and foremost.  To seniors, the college decision is difficult in the best of times, and these certainly are not the best of times.  Ultimately you are likely choosing from very good options for you, so relax (easier said than done I know– and it has been a while since I’ve been able to relax). Know that you will be able to receive a good education at the schools you are considering.  To juniors and sophomores, continue exploring colleges online, reach out to coaches, and know that you have lots of time and it is great that you’ve begun your search.”

Jonathan Powers, Head Coach, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving, Knox College

 

“Don’t stress out, make the most of your time both keeping fit and taking care of yourself and be proactive! When things start getting back to normal, you want to be ready.”

Michael Kokoszka, Head Coach Women’s Swimming & Diving, Hunter College

 

What Can We Be Doing Now?

In the meantime, there are things that parents and swimmers can be doing to help them be prepared when recruiting activities pick back up again:

Reach out to college swimmers to ask questions

Find out what coaches are looking for

Research colleges and learn how to narrow down the college search

Get organized to swim in college

 

 


Michelle Lombana is committed to helping parents like her whose children want to swim in college.  When she’s not explaining recruiting rules for college swim programs, she can be found at www.collegeswimmingguide.com.

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How Will COVID-19 Impact College Recruiting, Part 3?

How Will COVID-19 Impact College Recruiting, Part 3?

As we discussed the last couple of weeks, these are uncertain times on all fronts due to COVID-19 and it has created a lot of confusion for swimmers and parents regarding recruiting. I am receiving emails daily from senior level swimmers wondering what coaches are thinking, if the recruiting timeline has changed, and what they should be doing now.

No matter where you are in the recruiting process, no doubt you have experienced some disruption in your plans. You and your swimmer may have been planning college tours over Spring Break, your swimmer may have been invited to Junior Day, they may have had official visits planned or you may still be in the research stage.

I reached out to college swim coaches recently to ask how they think the recruiting landscape will change and what advice they have for swimmers trying to navigate this already-crazy process.

I asked the coaches 4 specific questions and I will share their replies with you over the next few weeks.

 

All of the coaches I corresponded with said that swimmers should still be reaching out to them as this is a good time to exchange emails and schedule phone calls. Be sure you and your swimmer are familiar with when coaches can communicate with swimmers as it varies by age and the division the school is in.

Coach Responses: What should swimmers do if they missed their taper meet to achieve best times for recruiting? 

“Do not panic. College coaches understand this and realize that improvements certainly have been made but the proof not there yet. We will take this all into account. Sending videos can help convince the coaches of the potential for improvement.” 

Jimmy Tierney, Head Men’s & Women’s Swimming/Diving Coach, McKendree University

 

“As far as swimmers missing out on their taper meets, unfortunately it is what it is, but if their times were already good enough for our team then we wouldn’t hold it against them for not improving at the end of the winter season or even the spring for that matter.”

Eric Murray, Assistant Swim & Dive Coach, Grand Valley State University

 

“Our hearts go out to all of the swimmers that missed their opportunity to swim in their HS state meets, and USA sectionals and above.  I would encourage any swimmer that is looking to continue their education and swimming career to reach out to me.  I would love to discuss not only their accomplishments, but their goals and expectations.  A lot can be learned from those conversations.”

Rob Brownell, Swimming & Diving Head Coach, Olivet College

 

“Right now we are still working on filling a few roster spots for this fall (2020). We are also building our database for 2021s and plan to start pushing hard for that class by the end of April. We are an NAIA school, so our timeline differs from DI and some of the larger DII colleges. We have scholarship money and positions available for both men and women for the fall of 2020 and 2021.” 

Alicia Kemnitz, Head Swim Coach, Lindsey Wilson College

 

“Don’t worry — if you want to swim, there’s a place for you on my team regardless of your times.”

Jonathan Powers, Head Coach, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving, Knox College

 

“While disappointing to miss an opportunity to swim your best, at the end of the day, no one is solely defined by a couple of personal best times. A prospective student athlete from a coach’s perspective is the sum of many things and a total body of work including: personality, character, work ethic, intellect, etc. As a coach, I am finding now is a great time for me personally to review and reevaluate things like my coaching philosophy, training plan, etc. Likewise, recruits may spend this time instead focusing on their personal statements to coaches, reevaluating their goals and narrowing down what they are truly looking for in a collegiate student athlete experience.”

Michael Kokoszka, Head Coach Women’s Swimming & Diving, Hunter College

 

What Can We Be Doing Now?

In the meantime, there are things that parents and swimmers can be doing to help them be prepared when recruiting activities pick back up again:

Take virtual tours of colleges online

Be informed so you can avoid our Recruiting Horror Stories

Learn about the different types of college swimming scholarships

Look for extracurricular activities that work well for swimmers to participate in once social distancing has relaxed

 


Michelle Lombana is committed to helping parents like her whose children want to swim in college.  When she’s not explaining recruiting rules for college swim programs, she can be found at www.collegeswimmingguide.com.

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Challenging Times Offer Unique Opportunities

Challenging Times Offer Unique Opportunities

Alicia L. Kemnitz

 Head Swim Coach, Lindsey Wilson College

Nearly every industry and organization is currently being affected by COVID-19, and collegiate athletics is no different. For high school student-athletes trying to get recruited by college coaches, the perception might be that this pandemic has created serious challenges to getting noticed or adhering to recommended recruiting timelines. While these are certainly valid concerns, I argue, instead, that COVID-19 is providing high school student-athletes with unique opportunities to set themselves apart in the recruitment process while learning about institutions and athletic programs. The key is to use this time of social distancing to the recruit’s advantage:

  1. Be proactive and reach out
  2. Highlight abilities and interests
  3. Develop meaningful relationships with collegiate coaches
  4. Be creative in finding new ways to learn about the college and the athletic program
  5. Look for unique and engaged programs

Before going into detail about each of these four tips, it is important to provide some information on my background and vantage point. I have been a collegiate swim coach for 16 years, 14 of which have been as a head coach. For the past 10 years, I have been the head men’s and women’s swim coach at Lindsey Wilson College, a small, private, liberal arts college in rural Kentucky. Over the past 10 years, our programs have earned top-10 finishes at NAIA Nationals 12 times. Our women have placed as high as 4th, and this season, our men earned a record-high 3rd place finish. In all, I have coached 5 National Champions.  I have also been an assistant coach and head coach at NCAA DIII institutions and worked briefly (when I was in graduate school) in NCAA DI compliance.

Be proactive and reach out:

Nearly all coaches are working from home right now, which means we are all spending a lot of time in front of our computers, most likely on email and social media. For better or worse, we do not have athletes coming to our offices each day; we are not running dryland or weight room workouts; fundraisers (like community swimming lessons) have been cancelled. So, whether you’re a 2020 recruit (yes, it’s late in the game, but some schools still have a few roster spots open…), a 2021 prospect (I’m recruiting these swimmers heavily right now), or a 2022 high school grad, now is the time to be reaching out and getting noticed. Chances are, you’ll actually get more individual attention from coaches right now because we have fewer distractions and recruiting is at the forefront. I suggest targeting a number of coaches at a variety of schools. I always recommend including both in- and out-of-state schools, private and public institutions, and large and small colleges to a swimmer’s initial list of possible university choices. Most important, it’s time to be proactive and start the recruiting process. Don’t wait to be contacted by a coach; it’s perfectly acceptable and sometimes even preferable that you to take the first step by emailing them. The COVID-19 situation has actually accelerated the recruiting process; it has not slowed it down in any way.

Highlight abilities and interests:

When you reach out to a program, be ready to sell yourself. Coaches get hundreds of emails from prospective athletes each year. With this in mind, make sure that you take some extra time to make yourself stand out. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to send a long email, detailing your life story. What it does mean, is that you want to include a few interesting personal details that will help a coach remember you. In my view, a good introductory email is going to give me some basic information on the swimmer’s abilities (best and favorite events with times), academic interests and stats (yes, it’s okay to include GPA and test scores, especially if those are strengths), and a few fun facts or hobbies about the swimmer (this is where you are trying to stand out). End the email by asking a question of the coach, thereby increasing your chances of getting a response and making an impression. This isn’t the time to ask multiple questions, nor is advisable to ask something basic like “do you think I’m a good fit for your team?” Good questions might inquire about a coaching philosophy, practice strategies or routines, or the program’s biggest strength.

Develop meaningful relationships with collegiate coaches:

Don’t let the current COVID-19 crisis scare you away from building meaningful relationships with collegiate coaches. In fact, this could actually be a unique opportunity for you to get to know coaches better and begin to see which programs fit your wants and needs the best. Since in-person contact is prohibited, consider creative ways to connect with coaches. Phone calls, Zoom, Skype, and other video conferencing options are all ways to have real conversations with coaches during this time of isolation. These tools certainly aren’t new options for coaches or prospective athletes, but they will likely play a more important role in the recruiting process this year than previously. In the past, campus visits have been vital to determining if a college and program is the right “fit” for you. While hopefully in-person visits will be in the works for everyone by the fall, for now, and for at least the beginning of the summer, technology like teleconferencing and virtual tours will fill that gap. Finally, remember that coaches are people too! We have family and friends and are social distancing as well. Don’t be afraid to ask how we are doing and what we’ve been doing to pass the time at home.

Be creative in finding new ways to learn about the college and the athletic program:

Since campus visits and other recruiting visits are not going to be happening for a bit, start looking for college programs that are going the extra mile to make up for this deficiency. Now is the time to pay extra attention to social media posts that hopefully detail the college and program in new ways. In all reality, the COVID-19 disaster is more of a challenge for the recruiter (the coach) than it is for the recruit. Coaches are developing different ways to communicate their program’s and campus’s uniqueness to you. If you’ve enjoyed your contact with a certain college, then start to follow them on social media and seek them out on YouTube. Don’t ust follow the coach and the program. Be creative and follow the college president, the admissions page, and maybe even some professors. While you might not be able to see the campus in person, hopefully you can get an idea for what it’s like by watching videos and the like.

Look for unique and engaged programs:

Because many classic recruiting strategies, like campus visits, have been eliminated due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever that prospective student-athletes look for coaches and programs that are fully engaged, not only in the recruiting process, but also in attempts to show recruits what life on their campus is like. This is also a wonderful time to seek out unique programs. While the three NCAA divisions are normally on every swimmer’s radar, don’t forget about the NAIA. According to the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America, the NAIA is the fastest growing scholarship collegiate swimming division in the country. Since 2016, the NAIA has added 16 new scholarship programs, and in the fall of 2020 there are 7 new programs joining the association. Many high school swimmers either don’t know what the NAIA is or they write it off as a sub-par level of swimming. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is actually older than the NCAA, and swimming is the second oldest championship sport for the association. When explaining what the NAIA is, I typically say that in terms of academics and size, most of our schools resemble DIII institutions. In terms of athletics, scholarships, and competitiveness, we are more similar to a DII or small DI school. Currently, most NAIA programs are finishing the recruitment process for their fall 2020 roster and starting to seriously contact 2021 recruits. When exploring your options, it’s important to not pigeonhole yourself and only consider certain divisions. You might be surprised about the competitiveness of DIII schools, or the scholarship amounts available for swimmers in the NAIA. Explore your options.

How Will COVID-19 Impact College Recruiting, Part 2?

How Will COVID-19 Impact College Recruiting, Part 2?

As we discussed last week, these are uncertain times on all fronts due to COVID-19 and it has created a lot of confusion for swimmers and parents regarding recruiting. I am receiving emails daily from senior level swimmers wondering what coaches are thinking, if the recruiting timeline has changed, and what they should be doing now.

No matter where you are in the recruiting process, no doubt you have experienced some disruption in your plans. You and your swimmer may have been planning college tours over Spring Break, your swimmer may have been invited to Junior Day, they may have had official visits planned or you may still be in the research stage.

I reached out to college swim coaches recently to ask how they think the recruiting landscape will change and what advice they have for swimmers trying to navigate this already-crazy process.

I asked the coaches 4 specific questions and I will share their replies with you over the next few weeks.

  • How Will COVID-19 Impact Recruiting, Part 1 – What is your recruiting Timeline?
  • How Will COVID-19 Impact Recruiting, Part 2- Should swimmers be reaching out to you now via email?
  • How Will COVID-19 Impact Recruiting, Part 3-What should swimmers do if they missed their taper meet to achieve best times for recruiting?
  • How Will COVID-19 Impact Recruiting, Part 4-What would you like recruits to know now?

 

All of the coaches I corresponded with said that swimmers should still be reaching out to them as this is a good time to exchange emails and schedule phone calls. Be sure you and your swimmer are familiar with when coaches can communicate with swimmers as it varies by age and the division the school is in.

Coach Responses Regarding Whether Swimmers Should Be Reaching Out Now via Email

In terms of whether swimmers should be reaching out to coaches now via email, the coaches all had similar thoughts.

Absolutely! we can still communicate via e-mail, phone, and text. This is a great time for that to occur.

Jimmy Tierney, Head Men’s & Women’s Swimming/Diving Coach, McKendree University

 

Swimmers should always reach out to us and that has never changed. I have had more phone calls this week than normal, but that is perfectly fine since we are working from home.”

Eric Murray, Assistant Swim & Dive Coach, Grand Valley State University

 

Absolutely!!!!  I would love to hear from any swimmers that are interested in swimming in college.  We are currently trying to fill those remaining few spots for this fall, and have been contacting High School Juniors as well.

Rob Brownell, Swimming & Diving Head Coach, Olivet College

 

Right now we are still working on filling a few roster spots for this fall (2020). We are also building our database for 2021s and plan to start pushing hard for that class by the end of April. We are an NAIA school, so our timeline differs from DI and some of the larger DII colleges. We have scholarship money and positions available for both men and women for the fall of 2020 and 2021.”

Alicia Kemnitz, Head Swim Coach, Lindsey Wilson College

 

I don’t know if you are hearing from current high school seniors who are looking for a place to go – but if you are, I know most schools would still love to hear from them.  This is obviously a very difficult and challenging time. Reach me by email and we can take it from there.

Jonathan Powers, Head Coach, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving, Knox College

 

YES. As coaches, we are doing our best to send emails to already identified recruits as well as newly identified ones, but prospective recruits should also be reaching out to coaches at this time. Everyone is usually on a time constraint this time of year (training, work, school, family obligations, etc.), but with many of our normal day to day activities suspended, now is a great opportunity to establish connections.

Michael Kokoszka, Head Coach Women’s Swimming & Diving, Hunter College

 

What Can We Be Doing Now?

In the meantime, there are things that parents and swimmers can be doing to help them be prepared when recruiting activities pick back up again:

Clean up social media accounts

Research academic majors

Understand when to begin the research to swim in college

Discuss what coaching style your swimmer responds to best

 


Michelle Lombana is committed to helping parents like her whose children want to swim in college.  When she’s not explaining recruiting rules for college swim programs, she can be found at www.collegeswimmingguide.com.

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How Will COVID-19 Impact Recruiting, Part 1?

How Will COVID-19 Impact Recruiting, Part 1?

These are uncertain times on all fronts due to COVID-19 and it has created a lot of confusion for swimmers and parents regarding recruiting. I am receiving emails daily from senior level swimmers wondering what coaches are thinking, if the recruiting timeline has changed, and what they should be doing now.

No matter where you are in the recruiting process, no doubt you have experienced some disruption in your plans. You and your swimmer may have been planning college tours over Spring Break, your swimmer may have been invited to Junior Day, they may have had official visits planned or you may still be in the research stage.

I reached out to college swim coaches this past week to ask how they think the recruiting landscape will change and what advice they have for swimmers trying to navigate this already-crazy process.

I asked the coaches 4 specific questions and I will share their replies with you over the next few weeks.

  • What is your recruiting timeline?
  • Should swimmers be reaching out to you now via email?
  • What should swimmers do if they missed their taper meet to achieve best times for recruiting?
  • What would you like recruits to know now?

All of the coaches I corresponded with said that swimmers should still be reaching out to them as this is a good time to exchange emails and schedule phone calls. Be sure you and your swimmer are familiar with when coaches can communicate with swimmers as it varies by age and the division the school is in.

Coach Responses Regarding the Recruiting Timeline Changing

In terms of the recruiting timeline, the coaches all had similar advice.

“This is still somewhat of an unknown as the NCAA has not updated us on whether the recruiting dead period will end on 4/15 or be extended. We have some swimmers planning on visiting and on hold now scheduling travel until we know for sure. Visits will certainly be different as campuses will be fairly empty once prospects can visit us again.” 

Jimmy Tierney, Head Men’s & Women’s Swimming/Diving Coach, McKendree University

 

“Since we are not a Power 5 school of even D1 for that matter, we are not too worried. Since most of our recruits don’t commit until November of their senior year we should be fine. With that being said, yes, we have had to cancel visits to our school, but we have all told them that they can come during the summer when everything is hopefully opening up and then to still plan for official visits in the fall.”

Eric Murray, Assistant Swim & Dive Coach, Grand Valley State University

 

“Here at Olivet College, we still have 2-3 roster spots we are trying to fill for the fall of 2020.  We would like to have those filled by May 1st.”

Rob Brownell, Swimming & Diving Head Coach, Olivet College

 

“Right now we are still working on filling a few roster spots for this fall (2020). We are also building our database for 2021s and plan to start pushing hard for that class by the end of April. We are an NAIA school, so our timeline differs from DI and some of the larger DII colleges. We have scholarship money and positions available for both men and women for the fall of 2020 and 2021.” 

Alicia Kemnitz, Lindsey Wilson College

 

“Timeline has totally changed.  Normally I’d be focused on closing the book on my incoming class and building my list of interested juniors.  I’d still like to build my list of interested juniors — but I’d definitely encourage seniors to reach out — we’ve moved our deposit deadline back to June 1 recognizing the challenges.”

Jonathan Powers, Head Coach, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving, Knox College

 

“The recruiting timeline hasn’t changed much. Because in person activity has been extremely limited for obvious reasons, as a coach I am spending more time right now through email, phone, text and other digital means reaching out to recruits. I would suspect that unofficial and official visits will just have to happen over a shorter period of time once restrictions are eased.” 

Michael Kokoszka, Head Coach Women’s Swimming & Diving, Hunter College

 

What Can We Be Doing Now?

In the meantime, there are things that parents and swimmers can be doing to help them be prepared when recruiting activities pick back up again:

Familiarize yourselves with NCAA Recruiting Terms

Learn when coaches can contact swimmers

Download the checklist to find the right fit to swim in college

Understand when to begin the research to swim in college

 


Michelle Lombana is committed to helping parents like her whose children want to swim in college.  When she’s not explaining recruiting rules for college swim programs, she can be found at www.collegeswimmingguide.com.

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Swimming in College: Recruiting Horror Stories Part 3

Swimming in College: Recruiting Horror Stories Part 3

Parents often ask “How can I help my child swim in college?” and “What can go wrong in the recruiting process?” Unfortunately, many things can go wrong and it’s important to be organized and to know when to begin the research to swim in college.

Being prepared can avoid some of the problems but, despite everyone’s best efforts, there are horror stories every year. This multi-part series will describe some of the horror stories to help you and your swimmer be prepared (all names of swimmers and schools have been changed).

Recruiting Horror Stories, Part 1:

  • Times Needed to Be Invited for an Official Visit
  • Someone Faster Came Along
  • You Didn’t Pass the Admissions Pre-Read

Recruiting Horror Stories, Part 2:

  • We Can No Longer Support You Through Admissions
  • Do You Want to Change Your Major?
  • Be Careful of the Competition

Recruiting Horror Stories, Part 3:

  • An Official Visit Should not Be One Big Party
  • I Committed as a Junior and My Offer Later Changed
  •  I Was Invited for a Visit Then the Coach Left

Part 4: Coming soon

 

An Official Visit Should Not Be One Big Party

Recruits are often excited for an Official Visit and see it as a chance to experience college life firsthand, which is fine as they do not let it get out of hand. “Jason” was no exception and planned to take advantage of every opportunity during his visit to “Greater Atlantic University”. The first day, he attended a class, went on a college tour, ate with the team, watched practice and felt like the school was a good match. He liked the teammates and felt very comfortable and relaxed with them.  When he found out that the team was having a get-together that night, he viewed it as his chance to show the older swimmers that he was cool and could fit in. He didn’t hesitate when someone offered him a red solo cup and he downed it quickly and went back for more. He noticed that the other recruits were drinking water or soft drinks, but he thought they were simply less mature than he was. As the evening went on, Jason got louder and louder and was convinced he was the funniest guy in the room. The next morning, he was hurting but tried to cover it up and participate in the planned activities. The second night, there was another party and Jason repeated his activities of the previous night and fully believed he was the life of the party.

The last morning, he had a terrible headache and felt sick as he was meeting with the coach before departing for home. The coach could tell something was off and later asked his swimmers about Jason’s behavior throughout the weekend. Needless to say, Jason did not receive an offer from the school.

Of course, the college swimmers should not have taken recruits to parties, it is a violation of NCAA rules and it’s illegal if they’re under 21. However, it does happen and swimmers need to be prepared for it. They can walk around with a red solo cup filled with water if they are uncomfortable or need something in their hands. Most of the recruits I’ve talked to who are taken to parties say alcohol is available but there is no pressure to drink.

 

I Committed as a Junior and My Offer Later Changed

“Julia” made a verbal commitment to “Dream College” as a junior and was happy to have the decision made. She visited campus with her family on an Unofficial Visit then later took an Official Visit to meet the team. The coach told her she would qualify for multiple scholarships, including a small athletic scholarship and a significant amount of academic money. She applied to the university Early Decision (a binding decision where applicants who are accepted ED must attend the school with very few exceptions) and was confident that she would be admitted based on the assurance of the coach. When she received her acceptance letter, she was stunned. They granted her admission but told her that she did not qualify for any academic scholarships. By this point, she had missed opportunities at the other schools she was originally considering and she loved this school.

In hindsight, Julia should have asked to speak with someone in Admissions or Financial Aid to obtain more information about the requirements of the academic scholarship. It’s difficult for high school students to ask about scholarships and parents often need to guide them in the questions to ask. She could have asked the coach if he could guarantee that she would receive an academic scholarship, although it’s rare that a coach will do so. Unfortunately, this type of scenario may happen more often as swimmers commit before senior year when they can submit applications for admission and receive financial aid awards.

 

I Was Invited for a Visit Then the Coach Left

After months of talking and emailing with a college assistant swim coach at “Elusive University”, “Madi” was told she was one of their top recruits and would be invited for an Official Visit in the fall of her senior year. She was ecstatic as the school was perfect for her in many ways – two hours from home, medium-size and an outstanding program in her academic major.

She didn’t hear from the coach for a couple of weeks and thought it was odd but didn’t dwell on it. After three weeks, she tried emailing him and calling him but received no response. At this point, she checked the school website and his name was gone from the list of coaches. She reached out to the other assistant coach who was very vague and told her she didn’t know what was going on. The head coach was at an international meet so Madi had to wait another week for him to return to the country before he replied to her email. He didn’t acknowledge that she had been a top recruit or that he was even aware of her status as a recruit. Instead, he told her that their spots for visits were full but she might be able to visit in the spring.

Madi was devastated, she had her heart set on attending this school and she felt misled and abandoned. Madi didn’t do anything wrong in this case, she either fell through the cracks during the transition of coaches or the former assistant coach was talking out of turn.

Swimmers should not fall in love with one school, they need to cast a wide net and have many schools on their target list. It’s preferable to interact with multiple coaches at a school too, although this is not always possible since some colleges designate one coach as the recruiting coordinator to handle communication with recruits.

 

The lessons to be learned from these horror stories are to focus on realistic target schools and to pursue a lot of schools so there are several options.

In future articles, I’ll share more anecdotes to help parents and swimmers ask the right questions and be at the top of their game when it comes to recruiting.

 


Michelle Lombana is committed to helping parents like her whose children want to swim in college.  When she’s not explaining recruiting rules for college swim programs, she can be found at www.collegeswimmingguide.com.

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