Knowing what to say to a coach can be stressful for swimmers, especially on the first phone call or in an initial meeting. This week, we are fortunate to have Butch Reiser of All Pro Interviews give tips on how to answer the question “Tell Me About Yourself.”


So, what’s the one question I need to be ready for from a college coach?

“Tell me about yourself?”  It’s also the number #1 question on a job interview. So how do you answer this seemingly easy question?

“Tell me about yourself” really means, “Tell me about your qualifications to be on this team?”

As you know, you can never get a second opportunity to make a first impression.  This is usually the “ice breaker” question that sets the tone for the rest of the coaches’ questions.

So how do you structure your answer? How long should the response be? What do I want to communicate?

The technique I recommend is using your 5 fingers to guide you through this answer.

If you are a student-athlete, always start with your education.  That would be your thumb “your base foundation.”

  • Coach Smith, I am happy to speak with you and share why I would be an asset to your team/university. I’m a junior at Central High School.  My GPA is a 3.7 and my last SAT score was a 1200. My favorite subject is math, and I wish to major in accounting in college. From my research on State U, you have an excellent accounting program and your team GPA is a 3.5.

The next step (pointer finger) is to talk about your top athletic skills, your specialty. Coaches are looking for swimmers who can score points in meets.

  • My specialty is long distance events. In middle-school, I was undersized, so I knew I could out work the bigger kids in the longer events.  Recently, I’ve had a growth spurt, and I’ve dropped 10 seconds off my 500 free, and my sprints have gotten faster as well. I’m on the ‘A” relay of my high school team that won State last year.

The next step would be to use your (middle and ring finger) to tell your story.  This would be your transferable skills (leadership, work ethic, community service, etc.) that all coaches are looking for.

  • I was elected by my teammates and coaches as one of our Team Captains. I am the only Junior captain and it’s something I’m very proud of.  My coaches would tell you that I have a strong work ethic, focused, and coachable.
  • Swimming has been my passion since my first meet on my summer team when I was 6. I recently became a volunteer coach for our summer swim team. I love working with the young kids and sharing my knowledge with them.


The last step would be your pinky.  What additional information do you want to share about yourself with the coach?

  • Swim Across America is a foundation that I’ve been active in the last few years. I was able to get a few of my teammates involved, as well.  Cancer hits every family, so anything I can do to help the fight, I’m all in.

The “Tell me about yourself” answer should be around 1.5 – 2 minutes.  This will give the interviewer a general idea of your strengths and set the tone for the rest of the interview.

Preparation and practice will help you “ace” this question.  For a free 10-minute analysis, please contact:

Butch Reiser


Butch is a swim dad and has over 10 years experience working with professionals, student-athletes, and coaches. He prepares them to “ace” their next interview and get to the next level.



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



Make A Splash!

Subscribe to get the free newsletter and learn how to prepare your swimmer to swim in college.

Powered by ConvertKit

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This