5 Tips For High School Swimmers to Get Recruited

College Swimming advice courtesy of former college swimmer Zach Kent, co-founder of iSwim.

D1? D2? Close to home? Scholarships? Who is the coach? Juniors, July 1st is just around the corner, if you don’t think so it’ll creep up on you fast!! After taking 9 recruiting trips, taking close to 30 recruiting calls, and sending emails to every college coach and their mother let’s help you GET RECRUITED!

ONE – Be a salesman

A great salesman knows how to get the consumer to see the highest value in a product.  In this case you are the salesman, the coach is the consumer, and what you’ve done in your life up to this point is the product! Let me give you a good example of how to send times to a coach and not so good example…


2012                 2014

50 Free    22.4                  20.94

100 Free    48.7                  45.56

200 Free  1:43.6               1:39.87

100 Fly     53.33                  49.87

200 Fly    1:54.56              1:47.89

Key Points

-Improvements!! If you’re improving a ton, SHOW IT!!

-Specific times, it doesn’t hurt to put in your times to the exact hundredth of a second

-Most impressive times are listed and put them first


50 Free 20

100 Free 45

200 Free  1:39

100 IM  1:34.5 (when I was 12)

100 Fly around 50

Key Points

-Believe it or not a college coach doesn’t care what you went in the 100 IM at 12

-“Around 50” do I really need to explain myself? C’mon folks

-Don’t leave off your best race (200 Fly) just because you don’t want to swim it


Once you have that beautiful email set up send it to every college coach you can. There’s no harm in sending an email to a school that’s “out of your league”, maybe you’ll be surprised and get a response. There’s also no harm in sending an email to some slower schools, you may enjoy being one of the faster swimmers in the conference. A couple tips…

No college coach wants to see this…

iswim screenshot, for "recruiting" post

Double, triple, and quadruple check this before sending to a coach.

THREE – Use Social Media Wisely

Employers, college admissions, and coaches inspect social media profiles every year. When a coach pulls up you Twitter Account, what is he going to see?



FOUR – Grades, Grades, Grades

A smart student is a recruitable student, you can ask any coach in the country and they will agree. If we have @SwimBroJoe (1.3 GPA) and @SwimmerJames (3.6 GPA) with the same times and I can only take one….it’s a no brainer. Perform in school as well as in the pool to give you an edge over the other thousands of seniors looking for a college swim team each year.


The easiest way to catch a coaches eye…is to SWIM FAST! It may seem obvious, but it’s as true as true can be. If you’re an 18 year old guy and you go a 19.8 50 Freestyle, it’s safe to say you’re going to be getting some phone calls.

Remember, there is a place for almost every swimmer in college. The key is to find the right fit for you. Get started early and sell, sell, sell!

iSwim, logoAbout iSwim

iSwim provides swimmers the opportunity to show their personality through both traditional and unique swimwear and every day apparel. Established by swimmers for swimmers, iSwim understands what swimmers truly want.

iSwimWithIssues: The twitter account that started it all in the fall of 2012. Our ‘iSwim’ brand takes on a more “love/hate” approach to swimming.


iswim (courtesy of iswimwithissues)

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6 years ago

Something as simple as setting up your voicemail and returning calls goes along way!

6 years ago

Also very important for student-athlete to do their research regarding level of swimming at the college. If you go a 59.00 for a 100 free (women), don’t apply to a college where the slowest swimmer on the team is a 54.00! Look up the meet times and have a basic understanding of what you would need for times to be recruited.

Reply to  StuartC
6 years ago

I’d be interested to hear opinions from different college coaches on this.
Where exactly should I be on the school’s depth chart to be considered for the team? For scholarships? Or is this based more on conference/NCAA scoring ability?
How many events are you looking for in a swimmer? How well does a very fast time in one or two events offset low versatility, and vice versa?
How much do academics offset times and vice versa? For example, would a coach be more interested in a swimmer who would be near the top of the depth chart but might struggle academically, or one who would be in the middle of the depth chart but is an excellent… Read more »

Reply to  austinswimmer
6 years ago

I was recruited by schools in the Big 10 and Big East (this is mid to late 2000s when the Big East was still a major conference). I aimed at schools where I would be their 2nd to 4th fastest swimmer in 2-4 events. If you are lower than 4th, you aren’t going to be swimming in dual meets because teams have 4 spots max in an 8 lane pool. I got a moderate swimming scholarship and a significant academic one and was able to contribute to the team significantly. I would also look at what year people ahead of you on the depth chart are. If all 3 are juniors and seniors, the team might desperately need someone in… Read more »

Reply to  dmswim
6 years ago

Another important factor to look at is how you’d place at their conference or even national meet.

6 years ago

Also curious how hard it is to walk on to various programs.
Does walking on to Division 1 still happen?
If a student/swimmer chooses a school based on academics first, then tries to walk on (say their times are at the level of the teams slowest “Depth swimmer”), is it likely the coach will make/find a spot for an academically strong student?

Reply to  luvswimming
6 years ago

This varies a lot by the school and the coach. I would first look at squad size. Does the team already have 40 swimmers on it? If so, they likely aren’t going to have much room for unrecruited walkons. At my school, our team size was pretty small so our coach was willing to take a lot of walk ons to fill out the roster. Next, I would look at the team’s event weaknesses. If the team only has 2 or 3 people who swam the 1000 last year, even if you would be the slowest, you can still be an asset if you have a decent 1000. Also, how long have you been swimming? Have you been improving? Some… Read more »

Reply to  dmswim
6 years ago

Hi there, I saw your comments and I have a question for you. I was admitted at this great Big 10 school and I really want to swim for them, but the coach said my times are on the low end of the scale. He said that he cannot promise me a spot on the team because they have limited roster spots for next year and they have restrictions for team size.

If I attend their school, the try out period would be the first couple weeks of the season. After the first two weeks of the season, they would make cuts for those who are no longer on the roster.

If I can manage to reduce my times… Read more »

6 years ago

I would be cautious with this. If you can get your times to where you are scoring at the conference meet or in the top 3 on the team’s depth chart, I would say go for it. Also, train hard over the summer and the weeks leading up to the try out. Those first few weeks are going to be very tough as a way to weed out the weaker swimmers. If you definitely want to swim in college, I think this option is quite risky. If you like the school otherwise and would be happy even if not swimming, I would go for it. You won’t be able to train with the team if you don’t make the first… Read more »