Summer is an ideal time to begin the college recruiting process as swimmers are out of school and have more free time, plus coaches have fewer athletes to coach and are able to focus on recruiting athletes.
Training in summer is often intense with doubles several days per week. A lot of recruiting activities can be done between doubles, after eating and sleeping, of course!
College may sound far off but the time flies and it’s important to begin doing the research to swim in college early so your swimmer isn’t left behind.
It’s preferable to tour colleges when school is in session, but is not always possible as tours are often most convenient to schedule during the summer. Try to take a guided tour and attend an information session while on campus. Current students typically give student tours and it’s helpful to gain their perspective and ask questions about student life.
While swimming is an important part of the college experience, it’s not the entire experience so take the opportunity to learn about the school and the academics while visiting. Often academic departments will hold information sessions so try to schedule your tour on one of these days.
The new NCAA Division I recruiting rules allow coaches to speak to recruits while they’re on campus on June 15 following the swimmer’s sophomore year. Other divisions allow it earlier. Be familiar with the differences between divisions before touring colleges so you know what to expect.
Swimmers should research colleges and narrow down their list by figuring out what appeals to them in terms of climate, location, size, and academic major. A lot of this information is available on college websites.
Develop a List of Target Schools
The list of target schools should include schools where your swimmer would be a good fit. Coaches are most interested in swimmers who will score at the Conference Championship Meet so it’s important to focus on schools where your swimmer’s times will be in line.
College Swimming Guide Fast Lane Members have access to spreadsheets from every conference with the times required to place in the Top 16. A membership also includes spreadsheets from every college swim program in the U.S. with the Top 5 times in each event listed. It’s possible to develop these lists yourself but Fast Lane Members save thousands of hours in time spent doing this research.
With the rigorous schedule most swimmers have, it’s tough to fit extracurricular activities in during the school year. Summer is a good time to participate in extracurricular activities and there are some that work particularly well for swimmers.
Once swimmers have identified some schools that appeal to them and where their swim times would fit well, they should reach out to coaches and show interest in the program. This includes having a list of questions to ask coaches prepared to use via email or phone call or in person.
College Swimming Guide Fast Lane Members receive sample emails to use when reaching out to coaches as well as lists of questions to ask coaches in initial contact, after a rapport has been established, on the phone, and in person.
Talk to College Swimmers
College swimmers are home and it’s a good chance to ask them questions about their own recruiting experience and the swim program they selected.
I often have the opportunity to talk to college swimmers and have compiled some of their advice in these articles:
It’s important to stay organized throughout the recruiting process and to be familiar with NCAA recruiting terms so you know what to expect and when the best time is to research schools and swim programs and to contact coaches.
The weekly articles and videos from College Swimming Guide will help guide you.
If you’d like an extra advantage, join the College Swimming Guide Fast Lane. The one-time fee of $249 covers you and your swimmer through four years of high school and you receive:
- regular info feeds and timeline of action items
- how/when to contact college coaches, including templates to use
- guidelines on researching colleges and conferences
- lists of all colleges in each conference with swim programs, including top times in each event and mid-range ACT/SAT scores
- spreadsheets detailing the times required to place in each event at all college championship meets
- NCAA Rules
- Facebook Private Group to interact with other parents
- College Swim Program Directory of questions and input from college coaches all over the country
Together, we will make sure you and your swimmer have the skills, knowledge and confidence to successfully navigate the journey of college recruiting.
Michelle Lombana is committed to helping parents like her whose children want to swim in college. When she’s not researching college swim programs, she can be found at www.collegeswimmingguide.com.