Ask Swim Mom: My Son Hasn’t Been Recruited Yet

Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham

Dear Swim Mom,

I’m concerned because my son who is a good swimmer, hasn’t gotten any offers from colleges, but his friends have already committed. He’s going to be a senior in high school in the fall. He’s getting stressed out and feels like he’s never going to be recruited. He hasn’t heard back from the coaches from his top schools. But, he’s been asked to go on recruit trips to schools that aren’t his first choices. What should he do? How can I help?

Mom of Senior Swimmer


Dear Mom of Senior Swimmer,

First of all, don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time. Many seniors go on recruit trips in the fall and don’t make decisions until after they’ve visited several schools. Although swimmers are making commitments earlier and earlier, your son has time to explore more options and can look at more schools.

College recruiting is exciting but can also be stressful. It’s important that your son finds a school that is a good fit for him, not only as a swimmer but academically and personally, too. One of the best pieces of advice I heard was to make sure your child can see themselves at a school without swimming. Not all kids swim for all four years. They may get injured or they may decide they don’t want to swim anymore. They have to want to be at their university without their swim team.

If he has done his homework to see that he fits in both academically and athletically, he should reach out to the coaches to let them know he’s interested. For the schools where the coaches haven’t responded to him, he can email them again. I’ve heard coaches say that kids can fall through the cracks and they like it when kids reach out to them.

Remind your son to fill out the online athletic questionnaires for universities as well as email coaches.

Have your son research more schools where he can make a contribution at their conference meets. There’s a high chance of being recruited if he can score points and make a difference on the team. Also, coaches care about academics and want their teams to have strong GPAs. If your son has a high GPA in high school, make sure he points this out, too.

Another option is to hire a recruiter to help with the search. There are many services available from recruiting Apps to companies like the American College Connection.

Good luck! Give your son support and help him along the journey.

What advice to do you have for a swimmer who hasn’t been recruited yet?

Elizabeth 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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Rick Paine
2 years ago

Dear Swim Mom, Elisabeth is correct…. don’t panic. There is still time. If you want to go to our American College Connection website and give me a call, I would be happy to share some idea of schools that are still looking for guys.

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  Rick Paine
2 years ago

Trying to figure out why there are “down” votes to this post? It’s great that Rick is willing to help Swim Mom out & alleviate some of her concerns. His offer should serve as an example to us all (I’m including myself in this statement as well)👍.

Rick Paine
Reply to  Texas A&M Swim Fan
2 years ago

Thanks A&M fan, There seems to be a new breed of people out there……internet trolls

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  Rick Paine
2 years ago

OOPS! Guess I’ve figured it out after all. There are at least 7 or possibly 8 individuals at present (and who knows how many more to come) who don’t believe in “lending a helping hand” to others. The 7 or possibly 8 of you at present (with probably more yet to join you) ought to take a sip from the cup containing “the milk of human kindness”. Try it; you might like it!

Reply to  Rick Paine
2 years ago

Rick, you did solid work for my daughter. I think a number of people have experienced one of the more disreputable services and translated their experience to all recruiting services, hence the down votes. Or it could be competition. In any case, I’m a reference any time.

2 years ago

The key point in the response above is “if he has done his homework to see that he fits both academically and athletically” into a program. The limelight of recruiting efforts these days is all about going to the power-5 conferences (B1G, PAC-12, SEC, etc.) and getting scholarships. Not all of the smaller programs have the budget, time, or other resources to mount sustained recruiting efforts. So, its important that the athlete (and the parents) be realistic about where they are setting their sights: not all swimmers are Power-5 material. In fact, the majority of collegiate swimmers are NOT in the Power-5, nor are they Power-5 material, although in today’s culture of “every child is a future Olympian,” that can… Read more »

Reply to  Realism
2 years ago

Let’s face it, fielding a swim team is almost always a money pit for a University. Pools are expensive, and even good teams are not going to bring spectators in outside of Championship meets (and sometimes not even those). Recruiting is yet another expense that many programs have to watch carefully…

Sometimes, most or all the initiative will need to come from the athlete not the school.

2 years ago

Great advice OR Mom – Tell your son to enroll in a Juco or 2 year school and train with USS program in order up his recruit ability.

2 years ago

Isn’t the answer to accept those offers to visit from the schools that aren’t his first choice? Assuming they are otherwise a good academic fit, I would suggest taking those visits. For one, he might like what he learns. Two, it’s a fall back if the top choices never pan out. We had a kid on our club team that kept waiting and waiting for his top choices to recruit him while he had offers from mid-major D-I schools. A couple of the big schools even told him we would really need to see your times at “x” – still a big drop from where he was. By the time he realized he wasn’t going to make that drop and… Read more »

1 year ago

Going into her visits last year, my daughter had all her schools ranked. She went to #’s 4 and 5 to rule them out. Turns out #4 ended up being her favorite by far, and that is where she is this year. Go on visits because you just never know. And your swimmer must do the work. Communicating with coaches (emails updating them with times, sending academic info, etc.) is the swimmer’s job. There is a right fit if you want to swim. But you must do the groundwork. Too many sit back and wait for coaches to come to them. It doesn’t happen that way unless you are one of the very best.

1 year ago

I’m curious how recruiting time-line changes for class of 2020 and 2021 have effected the recruiting process. Was recently told Class of 2021 swimmers better be ready to verbally commit by spring of 2020 or programs will be full. Wonder how this is affecting class of 2020 who got sandwiched in with ‘19 and ‘21 with shorter time for coaches to focus on ‘20?

1 year ago

My son was a good swimmer with top grades & test scores. He looked at D2, D3 and NAIA schools to continue swimming or maybe join a club team if that school didn’t have varsity swimming. He also was accepted to many great D1 Big Ten schools where he knew he would never swim. I concur with the others you need to find the school that fits him and think about the swimming second. My son decided on a small private college with a small D3 swim team. He absolutely loves the college but after one year decided he was burnt out from swimming. He joined student congress, a fraternity and a few other clubs on campus. He was not… Read more »