Deciding Where to Commit to College

by SwimSwam 17

November 17th, 2015 College, Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy of Josh Brown. Follow: @joshbrownisaman

So you’re a talented swimmer, you’ve always worked hard in every age group, and you’ve gone above and beyond to be successful. Now you are coming to the point in your career where you have to make decisions, such as where you can see yourself swimming in the future. This is a tough decision and with all the emailing and communication, making sure you set yourself apart from others can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you keep the process fun and ultimately help you make the right choice in where you commit.


The pressure of committing early can be tough. Sometimes we feel rushed to make the decision when we see other swimmers around the nation announce where they have decided to swim in college. But remember a few things. First, you don’t have to be an early commit. Not all coaches require you to commit early senior year, so make sure you are in touch with your prospective coach about when the ideal time would be to commit. Second, don’t let the early commitment of others freak you out. Swimmers are in totally different places in the recruiting process, and just because someone commits early doesn’t mean you are falling behind. Just keep in touch with prospective coaches.


Sometimes when we go on recruiting trips we can find ourselves in awe of other recruits. It can be a daunting thing that can really shake your confidence and make you question whether you are cut out to swim at that college. But remember, YOU are also being recruited by that school. Clearly the coach values you, otherwise he or she wouldn’t be recruiting you in the first place. Don’t look at the recruits who are faster than you as an obstacle, rather focus on the fact that they could be your future teammates who help push you to new levels. And remember, the coach for that team has a plan for you to succeed there, which is why you are being recruited.


When choosing a college, don’t just zero in on the swimming. Take in the entire college atmosphere – the location, size, and academic opportunities the school has to offer. Remember that beyond swimming you will need a school that will prepare you for the future and provide you with opportunities. For many of us swimming will end once we are out of college, so it’s important to find a school that will prepare you for life after graduation.


Give yourself time to think about the decision that you will make. Committing to swim, though not set in stone, is an agreement that you should honor and not take lightly. Remember to get out there and visit schools, go on recruiting trips, and learn about the team dynamic and the coaches. Make your choice, leave no regrets, and commit when you feel ready. Don’t sell yourself short!

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Question… If you’ve taken an official visit, with th coach let you know if he isn’t interested?


If it were an Official Visit….which is where the college/university pays for the visit…then, the coach is interested. An un-official visit is where the student-athlete or parents pay for the visit.


Let me rephrase… Will the coach notify if they will not be extending an offer?


It really depends on the school. In my case recruiting was odd… I took official trips to 4 schools and I only received offers in the end from 2 schools after my trips. My best piece of advice is to investigate some before you use one of your 5 visits. Ask the coach if there is a spot on the team, or even if there is scholarship available before you decide to accept the visit. This will save you from missing training, school, and wasting time at a place that might not be realistic for you. Just ask.


Thanks!! My daughter has taken 1 visit, then we saw that someone had committed on signing day. Only one we’ve seen so far, so we were curious if we would hear either way.


Recruiting is a 2-way street. My son had maybe 7 or 8 schools interested in him, he took 4 official visits and was extended offers by 3. Fortunately one of my college teammates is a Div 1 coach (although not swimming) and he offered advice from a coach’s perspective throughout the process. Best advice is that the athlete needs to show interest in a program by communicating regularly with the coaches. They have a limited number of spots and plenty of kids to look at. If the athlete doesn’t show interest, the coaches will move on to the next in line pretty quickly. Long story short – you can’t expect them to do all the work, but don’t be a… Read more »


Unless you are one of 1% of super swimmers, you academic success in HS is much more important than your swimming times. With great GPA and SAT, even with average swim times, your will have many colleges to chose from to be on the team, and in most of them you will have free or almost free ride even without swimming scholarship. With bad grades and very good (but not exceptional swim times) you will have much less options. So focus on school, swimming part will sort itself out. Go for great scholar “times” even if you need to neglect swimming a little, rather than the other way around.


A lot of Division 3 schools that do not give academic scholarships are great liberal arts colleges, that give very good academic scholarships. I rather my children go to an academically great Division 3 schools and swim there then most of Division 1 and 2 universities/colleges. To achieve that, studying in HS is priority, not swimming.

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