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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3 years ago

I have a question. If you are going to a D2 highschool can you get recruited at a D1 college? This is probably the dumbest question ever sorry. 😊

Reply to  Addison
3 years ago

Hey Addison!

Yes, swimmers from any high school can go to any college.

Note that different states have different classification systems. So D2 in your state could be D4 or DAAA in another state. Ultimately, there’s no correlation between your high school classification (Division I, Division II, Division III, Division VI) and your college classification.

Josh F.
4 years ago

How do you get a total scholarship to Texas university or any other good swim college?

6 years ago

I have a son who is a junior in high school. He has 6 jr national cuts and has improved every single year. His grades aren’t great but he wants to swim in college. What level should we be looking at for his shaky academic standing and cost effective for us as parents?

Reply to  Torchbearer
5 years ago

I am interested in knowing what you have learned as I have a son in a similar position 🙂

Furst Lucas
7 years ago

Hi, I have kids that love swimming since several years and competing today on National level based in France on their age group. They are much interested to swim in College D-1 or D-2 in the futur if they can and hope they could be good enough to receive a scholarship. If they succeed to enter such university with a scholarship, what happen if one day they are injured and couldn’t compete for the University anymore.
Do they loose the scholarship immediately? And if yes do they have to pay back the scholarship already given for the time past?
Are they rejected from the university or can they continue their academic at the university?

Reply to  Furst Lucas
6 years ago

Did anyone not reply to you, Lucas? First, it depends on the university. Know that a scholarship is a year-to-year thing. It is not a guarantee of 4 years. In the case of injury, it depends on the school. If it is one that can be worked through, not many schools would take away the scholarship the next year, but if the injury lingers months into the following year, and there is little likelihood a student can swim for the school that year, it is very possible the scholarship would be taken away. In no case can or will a school ask someone to pay back for a scholarship already offered (and money disbursed already for tuition, room, board, etc).… Read more »

Tania Thompson
7 years ago

Hi, I have a son that has just turned 14 years. We are UK based and he would really love to experience the U.S. College system to help further his swimming career. He is top of the UK rankings in most events and within top 10-20 in the rest. His times are very fast and he is progressing year on year and is very driven. He is current National Open Water Champion for 2014 and finished 3rd overall in Nationals last year, with the most events of any other swimmer. This year he has qualified for even more events. What are the prospects of him being given a full scholarship as we simply couldn’t afford the UK university fees, bearing… Read more »

Reply to  Tania Thompson
6 years ago

Tania: keep working the grades! Not quite sure if you are asking about the UK system or Universities in the US, but there are many many many Universities in the US that have Swimming programs–do not assume if they have a swim team that they have scholarships, but inquire at schools of interest if they do. From those schools, there are many with not quite as stringent admissions standards for entry, and some of those have very competitive swimming programs. There are also major “Conferences” (think leagues) of Universities, and some are more well-funded for sports. Even within those conferences, admission requirements are more or less stringent. For example in the SEC (Southeastern Conference), University of Tennessee and University of… Read more »

8 years ago

I have a similar 500 free time to what you first said, and was wondering if you know how to steal me in the right direction? I’m ok with just being a person for the roster, but if there is a chance I can compete, then where?

8 years ago

I am a senior on a DIII team in the NCAA, and have been for 4 years. I have no regrets! I definitely was not fast enough for DII but did not want to stop swimming after high school, and wanted to be a nurse but did not want my grades to slip because of swimming. DIII has always put academics first, and I was gladly brought in with just a 6:40 in my 500 free and over 4 years now go an average of 6:15, even breaking 6:00 my sophomore year!! I also actively swim in the 1000, 1650, 200 IM, and 50/100/200 fly. There are people on my team who are much faster than I ever will be,… Read more »

8 years ago

All great comments..
Perhaps the best is the “go to a school where you will be happy” if you get injured and can’t swim. The burn out/injury rate between freshman and senior year can easily reach 50% of the original recruits. My child could have easily gone to a strong D-1 swim team but chose
to go to a mid major D-1 university. She got to “ride the bus” to every meet for 4 years and was awarded more athletic swim money each year as she improved. Scholarship wise, it seems that you need to be in the top 16 swimmers in the conference to be considered. Having gone through the college application drill, I see a couple… Read more »