5 Things to Discuss With Your Swimmer About College

by SwimSwam 1

July 14th, 2015 College, Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Now that July 1 has passed—the date that coaches are allowed to contact swimmers—what happens next? Coaches are working hard talking with recruits, swimmers are trying for best times, and it’s an exciting time to be a swim parent.

The most important thing for parents to remember is that it’s their child who’s being recruited. Your swimmer needs to be in charge of the process. We can be there for support and guidance, but your swimmer has to take responsibility and be the driver.

Here are five tips for parents to talk about with their kids during college recruiting:


If your swimmer didn’t get a call from their dream school, it won’t hurt for your child to email the coach. Your swimmer can ask a few questions, such as what are walk-on times or what are they looking for in a swimmer. It’s an opportunity to update a coach about any new best times or upcoming meets. Your swimmer may not get a reply and realize they don’t fit in time wise—or on the flip side—the coach replies and is interested.


If a school calls that your swimmer absolutely isn’t interested in, let the coach know right away. Many swimmers ignore phone calls or emails. Being polite is always the right decision. Advise your child to respond, so the coach isn’t wasting time and energy.


Talk to your swimmer about which schools they want to visit. Recruiting trips are right around the corner and coaches are inviting swimmers for official visits. It’s time to start thinking about the fall and your swimmer’s schedule.


Your swimmer may want to make a list of pros and cons during this time. Comparing and contrasting what each school or program has to offer. Do they have men’s and women’s teams? Are they a good fit academically? Can they see themselves at this college without swimming?


Other criteria to talk over with your swimmer is where do they see themselves? In what region of the country? Do they want to be the fastest on the team? Or, do they want to be pushed by faster swimmers? Do they see themselves at a small private school or a large university? Discussing all of these may help your swimmer find a good fit.
In the end, the goal is for our kids to find a school where they can pursue their sport, their education, and be happy.

What other tips do you have for parents about college recruiting?

Elizabeth WickhamElizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.

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8 years ago

1. As for #1 above, if you do not get a response at all on multiple attempts to contact a coach, you do NOT want to be there anyway. Just as in #2 (super-important!), if a coach or his/her representative can not find the time to respond to you, then you do not want to go there. The big teams have multiple assistants to help with emails so there is no excuse for a DNR (did not reply). Thirty years ago, I worked in our D1 office when I was injured and missed my senior year season. I wrote letters or called back for every inquiry, searched Swimming World mags for top times, etc. All bc our coach cared that… Read more »