How Do You Know When You Have A Coach’s Best Offer?

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

The answer is you don’t because most coaches don’t know. You can usually count on the first offer not being their best offer, but where do you go from there?

College recruiting changes on a daily level throughout the year, but it changes on an hourly level in the fall. You have to stay in communication with the coaches to keep track of when a spot or scholarship might open up.

Finding out if you have a chance at getting a swimming scholarship is not necessarily rocket science. The coach wants to know, “how many points can you score for me at conference?” The more points, the more money. Some of the top swim programs are not only looking for conference scorers, but also NCAA scorers.

Do your homework and look up the conference results for the teams you are looking at. Three events in the top 16 will usually get you some money and three events in the top 8 will get more. Being able to swim on relays will usually get you more.

Since more and more recruits are getting offers in their junior year of high school a very important aspect of recruiting is selling your potential. You will need your coach for this. You want to get the college coaches to see how fast you can be for them in your freshman year.

Creating leverage for yourself is another very important aspect of scholarship offers. If you are interested in a particular school you need to get other schools within their conference to recruit you and offer you scholarships. That way you can leverage one school against the other. Most coaches would rather pony up a little more scholarship money to keep you away from their competition rather than risk facing you for four years with another team.


Finding out if you have what it takes to compete in swimming at the college level is easy, and many swimmers do have the potential considering all the options. Go to and submit a Free Profile.


SwimSwam is an ad partner with ACC. Go here to learn more about ACC and their team or college swimming experts.

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It used to be that a lot of your competitors/friends would compare their offers from the coach of the same school recruiting you..funny how offers went up all of a sudden, when someone decided to go somewhere else. Now with instant messaging it must be easier to compare notes… I always appreciated the Coach who might have not given a full ride but was a great coach and sincere in really wanting you as part of the team.


For us and our limits on aid, I always put my best offer on the table up front. There have been a few times where we lost a commit and we can bump a little but those have been rare.


I found the process to be like buying a car. Now, most 17/18 year olds haven’t done that- but their parents have. If you and the car dealer agree on a fair price, then you buy the car. You may not have a lot of wiggle room negotiating a better scholarship offer, depending on the school and how many swimmers they need to bring in and most importantly if you are a male or a female but you should have a good idea on what you will need to afford the school. If the school is going to be way out of reach financially unless you get a very large scholarship it might be time to move on.

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