7 Tips for Swim Parents About College Recruiting

by SwimSwam 19

May 21st, 2015 Club, College, Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Parents and swimmers can gain a lot of information about recruiting from both college and club coaches. During recruiting, my swimmer talked to coaches by email, phone and in person. Many coaches shared great advice about college recruiting and things to consider in making a decision.

Here are seven tips about college recruiting from a variety of coaches:

1. Social media

Kids don’t fully understand the importance of social media. What they post is a reflection of who they are. My advice: never post anything you don’t want grandma to see.

2. The School

Can your swimmer see themselves attending a particular school—if they weren’t swimming? A college coach said to think carefully about this because not all swimmers swim four years. Injuries happen, or they may decide to quit. Would they choose this school without their sport?

3. Affordability

If your swimmer doesn’t have a scholarship—loses a scholarship—or has it reduced—is the school affordable for your family?

4. Athletics

Where does you swimmer fit? Take a look at the team and conference results to see where your swimmer would be ranked. Some kids like being the fastest on the team, while others want faster swimmers to push them.

5. Academics

You can view the average SAT scores of a university on their website under admissions. What if your swimmer has a low SAT, but wants to attend a school where the average score is 2000? How will that effect balancing a heavy load of swimming and studies?

6. Support

Speaking of academics, find out if schools offer tutoring for student athletes. Do they have mandatory study hall hours, or have academic counselors specific for the team? What other support services do they offer?

7. The Team

Does your swimmer feel comfortable with the team? Do they connect with the coach and teammates? Does it feel like family? Keep in mind, coaches and staff do move around, so the coach is just one of several reasons to choose a college.

What tips do you have for swimmers and 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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7 years ago

#8 Quit being a helicopter parent and go have a beer.

7 years ago

Great comments here. Sounds like a realistic group commenting so far. Ditto the academic concentration. Don’t depend on swimming, injuries happen, coaches leave, plans can change. Make sure your child will be happy with the school no matter what.

7 years ago

#10 – You have to go get it! Unless you have national qualifying times don’t expect the college coaches to come find you. Think of it as looking for a job. Do your research. Start early, Communicate often. Take care of business. Research for the major you want, the geographic area you want, look at team needs (3 butterfliers are graduating in two years), look at conference championship qualifying and scoring times. Find the schools where you can contribute to the team and get a education that gives you the career you want. Start emailing coaches at the beginning of your junior year at the latest. Stay in touch by sending updates on meet results, course grades and test results.… Read more »

7 years ago

I would add “Be realistic”. If you are already swimming more hours with your club team than NCAA rules permit and lifting weights, recognize that you probably won’t be getting much faster in college so ask yourself will you be happy with your slot on the team if your times coming in are the times you swim for much of your career? I would also echo the academics comments — if you are good enough treat your swimming as a gift that you can use to secure a fantastic education and don’t settle for a lesser school just because you may do a little better in the pool there.

Charlie Johnson
7 years ago

Academic fit for the school has to be number one no matter how fast you can swim. You will be too miserable to swim fast if you are struggling in class every day.

The small school/large school issue is important to think about, but review the list of majors offered and make sure the school has at least two you can imagine yourself pursuing. If they don’t and you decide after a year you’d like to change majors, you may find yourself facing a transfer decision and for a guy below the elite level that might be the end of swimming.

Observe a meet if possible and watch how the coach relates to the non-stars. As a club swimmer fast… Read more »

7 years ago

I want to echo Captain Ron’s point…IF the initial email comes from mom or dad…not good. If the email comes from the recruit via mom or dad’s email address…a little better but not the best. A 17 year old should have their own email address…it is 2015.

7 years ago

Also very important is to look at:
1). size of college (there are big differences in a college of 3,000 versus 30,000). No point in looking at a large college if the student-athlete prefers small classes for example – focus on this because it is really going to matter!
2). also look at stability of program/coaches (if program has had 4 coaches in 4 years that means most likely that something is very wrong. Turnover happens but a new coach every year is a serious red flag!
3). sounds silly but if the student-athlete already has a major in mind, does the college offer it!?
4). ask about team travel – is there a traveling only… Read more »

7 years ago

Need more in the “Academics” category. School academic reputation (rankings, placement in jobs/grad schools/retention, etc) should be up there, as well. What’s the point of going to school? To earn the requisite knowledge and ability to attain a living post-grad, correct? What’s the point of going to a school you can swim at if the degree is worth less than the paper it’s printed on?