Colleges? If I’m Good Enough, They Will Come

  24 Gold Medal Mel Stewart | July 18th, 2012 | College, Lifestyle

Contributor, Rick Paine, is a friend and an expert on the college recruiting process.

So you picked up a Junior National cut and now you are waiting patiently by the phone for the college coaches to start calling. The first few days are exciting every time the phone rings because you just know that a big time college coach is only a phone call away.

After a few days of only receiving a couple of calls from schools you are not interested in, you start to worry about why the phone has been silent.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do the college coaches know about me?
  • What do they know about me?
  • How did they find out about me?

You must have a plan if you want to find the right fit for a school and swim program. You have to determine how to contact the coaches and what to send them to get them to look at you.

Don’t count on just completing an online questionnaire to put you solidly in the recruiting pool (no pun intended). College coaches are very busy these days and many schools just don’t have the manpower to go though every questionnaire they receive. YOU HAVE TO SELL YOURSELF.

College coaches do look at times first to determine if you can help them in the pool. The very next thing they look at is your grades. You need to get the coaches to look at your grades and test scores and your best times (not all of your times, just your best).

One of the most important things you need to do is to determine some areas of academic interest and at what level can you swim at in college. It wastes everyone’s time when you chase a school that you are not qualified for. Remember from last month’s article, for most swimmers there are no clear cut differences in swimming at the D-I, D-II, D-III, NAIA and Junior College level. There are excellent coaches and programs at every level.

You can get a huge advantage if you can get someone like your coach to paint a picture of your potential and send that to a lot of college coaches.

Don’t count on “if I am good enough, they will come.”

Here are a few NCAA rule changes that every potential recruit needs to know.

Official visits:

Old rule– visits to D-I and D-II programs were counted together and a swimmer could only take official visits to 5 schools.

New rule– swimmers are still limited to official visits to 5 D-I schools, but are allowed an unlimited number of official visits to D-II schools.

Visits to D-III, NAIA and Junior Colleges remain unlimited.

Phone calls:

Old rule– D-I and D-II coaches were allowed one phone call per week starting July 1 for D-I and June 25 for D-II coaches after your junior year.

New rule– D-I coaches are still only allowed 1 call per week beginning July 1 after your junior year, but D-II coaches are now allowed unlimited phone calls on June 15 after your junior year.

Phone calls from D-III, NAIA and Junior College coaches have no restrictions. Also, military academies can make phone calls to recruits prior to the July 1 and  June 15 dates.

If you would like to find out if you can swim in college and at what level, go to www.ACCrecruits and submit a Free Profile.

Connect with AMERICAN COLLEGE CONNECTION here and see if you have what it takes to swim in college.


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24 Comments on "Colleges? If I’m Good Enough, They Will Come"

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does anyone know something about limit age to atend at Dll schools swimming programs???

Great articles. Thanks Rick! 🙂

Aquamom, you can’t change the way scholarships are handed out so try to focus on what you can change, which is the way your swimmer is getting recruited. We do a lot more than just getting swimmers exposure. Educating the kids and parents on how the recruiting process works might be the most important thing we do. I am assuming that your swimmer is your son as there is more money available for girls than guys, but I am at a loss for why a national level swimmer would struggle to find adequate aid.I know of a number of college coaches looking for guys for next year and the year after and they all have money There is a right… Read more »
Thank you for your input, Rick. Grades and test scores aren’t the problem either – 3.96 (unweighted) and SAT 2025 respectively. What you fail to mention is that the EVENT they swim (or number of different events which they can score in) plays just as important role in what $$$ is available probably more so than anything else. If you are OUTSTANDING in long course, college coaches don’t seem to really care. Not that I blame them, because as you pointed out, when it comes down to it, this is just a business. We have other kids to put through university as well (who are much more academic, and not nearly as athletically gifted) and were hoping we could get… Read more »
AquaMom 2016, We used Rick to work with our daughter who was inundated with calls, letters, and visits, and was a National champion in one event while in top 4 in 2 others and top 16 in almost everything she swam in Long Course as well as short course.The club Coach told us we were wasting our money going with a recruiting service.What he didn’t understand is that we didn’t just go wtih any recruiting service, we went with American College Connection, because all of the people working there were former college coaches and we just wanted to understand the process.We also knew that my daughter would be in college while her sister and brother were as well. He helped… Read more »

Thank you SwimMa for sharing your story. We will be sitting down this weekend as a family, and discussing all of the comments, and I will be sure to add “Call ACC” to the list.

Your insights are very valuable, even though we have a son who is trying to swim in college, and that is a far different animal than having a daughter in the sport. Thank you for your well wishes.

We did not use a recruiter when we went looking for our son but not using one took quite a lot of time on our part. I have friends that have used Rick and were very happy with the results. The main thing I learned from the experience is that you can’t sit back and wait for the offers to come. If you don’t use a recruiter then you need to be the one that gets your swimmer in front of the coaches. We were told in the beginning that we wouldn’t have to do anything and that the offers would just come to us but that was definetly the wrong approach. We did run into coaches that gave us… Read more »

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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