Michelle Lombana is committed to helping parents like her whose children want to swim in college by simplifying the recruiting process through http://www.collegeswimmingguide.com/. Download the summary of NCAA Recruiting Rules and NCAA Calendar for helpful information.
High school swimmers often wonder about the best time to contact college swim coaches. The answer, of course, varies by coach but certain times of year are better than others and December is a good time!
December works well because coaches have a bit of a respite as college swimmers are focused on final exams then go home for Winter Break. In fact, during exams, some teams practice once a day instead of doing doubles which frees up coaches’ time.
Since college swimming is a winter sport, the swimmers have a shorter break than most college students but they usually get to go home for anywhere from a few days to two weeks. Coaches use this time to catch up and prepare for the intense training that comes in January – and enjoy a little time with their own families.
Study periods for final exams can begin as early as December 1 depending on the school, and swimmers often return at the end of December or beginning of January. So catching a coach during this period would be ideal.
While you’re on Winter Break, use your time to research college swim programs and, depending on your age, reach out to college coaches and programs that interest you. Since Winter Break is usually spent swimming doubles, eating, and sleeping, a quiet task like conducting some internet research may be a welcome break!
Coaches are focused on the training trips and upcoming Conference Championship Meets in January and February, so they may not have much time to respond to potential recruits.
April and May are also good for contacting coaches.
April and May often brings an increase in recruiting activity as the college season has ended, the upcoming fall recruiting class is set and coaches begin to focus on the next recruiting class. Coaches become very active in calling recruits or setting up times for younger recruits to call them – depending on the division, coaches may not be able to call recruits directly prior to junior year.
Summer is perfect for reaching out to coaches.
Many of their college swimmers go home for the summer so coaches have time for administrative duties and recruiting. It’s also a good time to visit colleges and to try to meet the coaches while you’re on campus.
In the fall, coaches usually focus on the current seniors who are taking official visits and receiving offers.
Swimmers can always contact college swim coaches but you shouldn’t get discouraged if you don’t receive a reply during a particularly busy time of year for the coaches. Many swim coaches will set up a file for each potential recruit and save emails they receive. When they have a chance, they’ll reply to your emails.
No matter when you contact a coach, you have a better chance of a reply if you’re a good fit for the program. You can figure out where you fit in a particular program by looking at the times required to score in conference meets then looking at which schools are in that conference. Coaches are primarily interested in swimmers who will score at conference meets so if you can already score in the A final at conference champs, a coach is far more likely to reply to you. If you would place 49th in the conference with your current times, a coach is unlikely to spend much time communicating with you.
Coaches may not be able to call swimmers, depending on the division, but all can return emails by junior year. You should be emailing back and forth with coaches at programs that interest you and updating them when you swim in taper or partial meets and/or achieve best times.
Some coaches are better communicators than others so be patient and be persistent – without being obnoxious! If you have contacted a coach repeatedly and you’re a good fit for the program, try reaching out to another coach on the staff or copying multiple coaches on your emails.
Be engaging and interesting in your emails to coaches. Imagine yourself swimming for their school and attending classes there to come up with questions. Asking respectable questions lets them know that you’re engaged and interested in their program. Posing the right questions and politely outlining your amazing talent and character will make your case that you’d be an asset to their school.
Developing a game plan for researching college swim programs and emailing coaches is a smart move. Approaching it in an organized manner will help reduce some of the stress involved.
About College Swimming Guide
College Swimming Guide simplifies the process of being recruited to swim in college by providing guidelines on researching colleges, a directory with input from college coaches, sample emails to coaches, and spreadsheets of colleges and conference championship times to see where you fit. We also have checklists about swimming in college, NCAA Rules Summary, NCAA Calendar and more. We’ll walk you through the process and let you know what to do and when to do it so you approach it in an organized manner.