7 Tips for Swim Parents on the College Recruiting Process

by SwimSwam 25

September 26th, 2017 College, Lifestyle, Opinion, Pac-12

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

I’m sharing seven tips on how you can help your swimmer through college recruiting. I hope this helps you wade through pools of confusion and simplifies the process. Enjoy the recruiting experience—it’s an exciting time in your swimmer’s life—and in yours, too.

1. Support you swimmer.

Help them through the recruiting process, but don’t take over. This is an important chapter in their growth.

2. Get your swimmer to practice!

College coaches will talk to your club coach. If your swimmer is a hard worker and consistent with practices—your club coach will recommend him or her whole-heartedly.

3. Register with the NCAA Clearing House.

It’s something all athletes must do if they want to participate in college sports.

4. Academics.

Have your student meet with his high school counselor to make sure he or she is on track. Coaches appreciate swimmers with good grades and high SATs.

5. Make Lists.

A – Dream schools — where has your swimmer always wanted to go?

B – Geographic location — where does your swimmer want to live? Close to home? Or in an entirely different part of the country?

C – DI, DII or DIII? There’s a division, conference and school for every swimmer. Determine a fit by looking at NCAA Division results.

D – Does your swimmer score points in conference? Chances are if they score in the top eight, they may be a candidate for a scholarship.

6. Have your swimmer email coaches.

Start early, during your swimmer’s sophomore or junior year. Tips for good emails: What is a coach looking for in a swimmer, what are their time requirements? Why is your swimmer interested in a particular school?Your swimmer needs to fill out online questionnaires on schools’ athletic websites. You may want to schedule unofficial visits at schools close-by.

7. Be polite.

Remind your swimmer to return all phone calls and emails. Remember, coaches move around—and they tend to have friends they talk with who are coaches, too!

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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6 years ago

I have a few more points I think may be helpful…..but perhaps the most important piece here is after the comma in Tip 1…Don’t Take Over!! Don’t be the one to call coaches, don’t be the one to email them, don’t set up the visits…have your swimmer do this. Coaches are wary of the helicopter parents doing it all and want to see initiative from the athletes. Parents with too much involvement is a bad sign the swimmer isn’t very independent and has coaches thinking more about what they may be getting into. When a parent tells a coach “well they would but they have a lot going on…”…well, they are going to have a lot going on when they… Read more »

6 years ago

Excellent list! Having just survived this roller coaster with my senior, I also want to add BE FLEXIBLE. Where he THOUGHT he’d like to be a year ago, and where he wound up are not the same, yet he is happy, happy, happy!

6 years ago

NCAA D3, NCJAA and NAIA bound athletes do not have to register with the NCAA Clearing House. This is only required of D1 and D2 bound athletes.

#6 is very important. Be as proactive as possible. College coaches like to see potential recruits take the inititive.

Reply to  CoachP
4 years ago

I know this is over two years old so thought I would chime in. The NCAA Eligibility Center (former “Clearing House”) has now created a free registration for students. If they aren’t sure if they will be DI or DII athletes or go the DIII route they will have an account set up and ready. If DI and DII schools call, then they can quickly complete the rest. No official visits for DI or DII schools without being registered in the NCAA Eligibility Center. NAIA colleges have their own eligibility center (https://www.playnaia.org/eligibility-center).

Rachel stearns
6 years ago

Can u tell me how to register NCAA Clearing house and how to get point in conference

Thanks you

6 years ago

Register for the eligibility center here:


See this for information on conference championships, etc. Use the “All Divisions” drop down at the top of the page:


6 years ago

My son just told me that he might not get any calls from coaches because his times are not that great. I asked him: “are you giving up?” He said, no but he’s just being realistic. He hasn’t stopped working hard in practice and keep improving in his times. It may be too late now to get recognized by any coaches but I have faith. I let him take care of everything and I’m just here to support him in anything he needs.
Thank you Elizabeth Wickam for another great article!

Reply to  SwimMom
6 years ago

I didn’t get recognized in high school either. It didn’t stop me from wanting to compete in college. I did my research and walked-on to a Division 1 school and earned a scholarship after my freshman year.

Reply to  completelyconquered
6 years ago

Thank you!

6 years ago

What grade should athletes look at registering with the NCAA Clearing house?

Elizabeth Wickham
Reply to  JI
6 years ago

The NCAA eligibility center says to sign up during the sophomore year. I think my daughter signed up the summer before her junior year and her high school counselor checked with her in her senior year to make sure she was registered.

6 years ago

Very good list especially number 1……also re Point 4 academics make sure you check to see if schools on the list require SAT subject tests. it’s best to take those tests the spring of your junior year if possible. This will be of immense help if you decide on going the early Decision 1 route. Also good SAT subject scores help bolster the academically strong candidate in the eyes of the coaches. At the risk of stating the obvious, academics are of number one importance. Academically strong athletes are an asset to any program, even those who can’t make the conference team or earn an athletic scholarship.

My additional point is that many, many swimmers are focused on top… Read more »