First Impressions in College Recruiting

by SwimSwam 11

March 30th, 2015 College, College Recruiting, News

Contributor, Rick Paine, is an expert on college swimming and the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). ACC is a SwimSwam Partner.

Many of you will be taking official visits (if you are a senior) or unofficial visit this spring. Here are some tips that we provide our swimmers when meeting college coaches.

The old saying, “first impressions can be lasting impressions”, holds true when meeting college coaches for the first time.

Most college coaches are strong self-confident individuals who are looking for these character traits in the student-athletes they are recruiting.

When you meet a college coach for the first time, you have an excellent opportunity to leave a lasting impression on him/her. Far too many high school student-athletes are intimidated by an adult who serves the role of a college coach and as a result, they leave the impression that they are shy and unsure of themselves.

Here is your chance to “stand out from the rest of the pack”, take advantage of it.

Practice the following on a daily basis with your parents, siblings and friends:

  • Very firm handshake. Make the coach believe that you really enjoy meeting her/him. A firm grip exudes self-confidence and strength.
  • Initiate eye contact when meeting the coach and maintain it throughout the conversation. This shows that you are interested in what the coach has to say and it indicates maturity and leadership.
  • Always stand when meeting a coach. If you are sitting down when the coach comes in the room, stand up, move toward them, initiate eye contact and extend your hand. This shows respect.

You must practice these simple tips until they become a habit.

Odds and Ends:

  • Dead period: D-I and D-II coaches are not allowed to meet with ANY recruit in person during the dead period. The upcoming dead period is from 8am April 13 through 8am April 17.
  • If you want to take an unofficial visit to a school be sure to give the coach about a week to 10 day notice that you are coming.
  • What are college coaches doing right now with recruiting?

For Seniors: many college coaches are still trying to finalize their recruiting for next season. There is still a great deal of scholarship money available. During this time of year we receive calls and emails daily from college coaches looking for swimmers.

For Juniors: college coaches are putting together their list of recruits (juniors) who they intend to call on July 1 (D-I) or June 15 (D-II). These are the recruits who will most likely get an official visit invitation and possible scholarship offer.

  • If you are a senior who is still unsigned don’t give up.
  • If you are a junior get your information in front of the college coaches NOW.
  • If you are a freshman or sophomore get your information in front of the colleges coaches soon. A vast majority of coaches start putting together their recruiting lists with freshmen and sophomores.

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Thanks Rick!

Showtine 64

Rick, for juniors, is it customary to only get calls from coaches who have previously contacted the swimmer via email or is the call often the first contact with the swimmer?

We know a majority of the coaches start identifying talent in grades 9 and 10. They start emailing the kids at the beginning of grade 11 to get to know them and start ranking them. Obviously the higher ranked recruits get called first (July 1 for D-I and June 15 for D-II). Can a swimmer get a phone call from a coach if they have not received an email……….yes, but it usually happens near the end of their senior year when coaches get a little desperate to fill their rosters.


Good post, Rick! However, the art of firm handshake and eye contact is lost on youngsters. If they can text the coach while meeting him, that would work better. They are all bunch of clicking/posting/lol-ing zombies.

Thanks Psycodad that might be a little harsh, but I can’t argue with you. We are pretty fortunate to work with some really great kids who do know how to interact with adults.
Stay tuned for our next article dealing with social media and college recruiting

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