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.