Less Obvious Ways to Get College Coaches to Recruit You

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. 

Parents and swimmers are always asking us what are some of the little things they can do to get coaches to recruit them?

The obvious:

Fast times

Great grades and test scores

Tall

Big feet

Start the recruiting process early (9th grade)

Less obvious:

Learn how to kick 

The average college swimmer can hold a set of 5 x 100 kick on a 1:30 interval (yds). Coaches are looking for swimmers who already know how to use their legs. Watch any race in college including the 1650 and you will see a 6 beat kick out of nearly everyone.

Guess what? You will swim faster.

Learn to turn

If you really want to separate yourself from other recruits learn how to use the walls. Watch a good college meet and you will see that much of the races are underwater.

If a coach doesn’t need to teach you how to turn it will help your chances of getting recruited.

Learn how to do a back to breast roll turn in your IM’s. Everyone in college does it, but very few club swimmers do.

Own the last wall of every race.

Develop your lung capacity in practice so that you can kick off the walls on your backstroke.

Learn how to race

College swimming is all about racing. That is what makes it so much fun. Coaches don’t expect you to win every race you swim, but they do want to see some “fight”. They want to see you respond at the end of a race when someone tries to pass you. Here are a few subtle things that college coaches look for in race videos:

Do you go to your legs near the end of a freestyle race? Do you use them to pick up your stroke rate when someone is passing you or you are trying to run down someone?

Do you pick up your stroke rate?

Do you really work that last wall and pull down on your breaststroke when in a race?

Do you really try to snap your hips and kick at the end of a fly race?

How far do you kick off the wall on the last turn of a backstroke race? Everyone can kick off the walls on the start and first few turns, but the real racers understand that the walls at the end of a race are what determines the outcome most of the time.

Develop a championship format

College swimming is not like club swimming where you swim 5 events a day plus relays. College coaches are looking for swimmers who can swim one event a day over the three-day format plus relays.

There are very few opportunities in a championship format for you to swim a double (two races on the same day). The most doable double is on the second day of the meet- 100 fly/100 back. The 200 free and 100 breast separate them so it does give the swimmer time to warmdown after the fly.

Typical Championship format-

First day: 500 free/200 IM/50 free

Second day: 400 IM/100 fly/200 free/100 breast/100 back

Third day: 1650/200 back/100 free/200 breast/200 fly

ACC Recruiting is a SwimSwam ad partner  Go here and learn more about ACC and their team of college swimming experts. 

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Yikes
3 years ago

https://swimswam.com/rick-paine-to-be-inducted-into-midwestern-swimming-hall-of-fame/
I think Rick has a pretty good idea what he’s talking about.

Onehandtouch
3 years ago

Rick may be an “expert” on the recruiting process, but he doesn’t sound like an expert on swimming. Where did the average of 1:30 on 5×100 kick come from?

Hswimmer
Reply to  Onehandtouch
3 years ago

Right lol

swimmmer
Reply to  Onehandtouch
3 years ago

it’s called a base interval. college kids should be able to do that. most high school kids can not.

Barney
Reply to  swimmmer
3 years ago

If year round high school kids can’t do that, they need to find a new coach.

SwimFL
Reply to  Barney
3 years ago

Some coaches don’t focus a whole lot on kicking intervals.

Hswimmer
Reply to  SwimFL
3 years ago

To be a good swimmer you have to be a good kicker is what my club coach always said.

Wannabe Thorpe
Reply to  Hswimmer
3 years ago

I have a friend on the high school team who can’t hold 1:5 but he goes 4:40 in a 500

Rick Paine
Reply to  Onehandtouch
3 years ago

17 years of college coaching experience and 18 years as a college recruiter. Plus interviewing college coaches.

Onehandtouch
Reply to  Rick Paine
3 years ago

Not to mention your Olympic berth, or the Midwestern LSC hall of fame… apologies and go Cornhuskers

Dan
Reply to  Rick Paine
3 years ago

The resume is impressive and you know doubt have a lot offer; but a resume is just a list of things you have done…we are judging you on the things you are saying. The point about the 5×100 kick on 1:30 is ridiculous! A bunch of the commenters are coaches and have a ton of experience too. I’ve NEVER had a college coach ask about kick intervals or even kicking skills at all. But hey, you gotta churn out these click bait articles and drum up business.

Betchaboots
Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

I didn’t know Trolls worked on the holidays.

StuartC
Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

Not sure of your qualifications but as a current college coach, I can tell you that WE are always scouting swimmers that have great kicks and have the underwater kick speed to reduce the total time spent actually swimming. When you consider that in a 100yd race you are allowed 60m underwater, good fast kicking becomes super relevant to recruiting. If you watch 20 colleges coaches sitting together in the bleachers, the swimmers that get the best attention are the best kickers because we know that they will bring that expertise with them. Developing kicking takes time and if you don’t have it by age 17/18, chances are you never will!

Dan
Reply to  StuartC
3 years ago

My comments aren’t claiming that kicking and underwaters aren’t important; these two things are without a doubt keys to being an elite swimmer. I also have no doubts that a college coach will notice these things when watching a race.

StuartC
Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

You need to re-read the actual article. It never says that coaches will ask you about kick intervals BUT if you can do 5 x 100 on 1:30, you are by definition a good kicker.

Dan
Reply to  StuartC
3 years ago

Actually re-reading it just reaffirmed my opinion. The articles is about doing things to help you get recruited. My entire point is that the things listed (learn to kick, learn to turn, and learn to race) aren’t exactly things that can be exhibited to a college coach very easily. This is why I think 3/4 of the items aren’t of use to most swimmers out there who aren’t having the actual college coaches watch them in person.

Zero debate that these things are valuable in and of themselves. But doing them better will not necessarily make you a better a recruit. The number one thing is getting faster! Sure, you can say that learning to kick, turn, and race… Read more »

Rick paine
Reply to  StuartC
3 years ago

Thanks coach. Unfortunately some people learn faster than others.

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  Rick Paine
3 years ago

Enough said! The man knows what he’s talking about!!

Fly girl
3 years ago

Loved article – reminds the ones recruited what to keep working on while still at club….

Former D1 top 20 coach
3 years ago

Nice article Rick. I enjoyed it. I’d add positive ATTITUDE. Even the top recruits can sometimes have bad attitudes. If you can get the college coach to see that you see the glass as half full, work hard and are a team player, then you will be more noticed. Give me a hard-working optimistic swimmer with less talent over a very talented one with a bad attitude all day long! and if you can’t get an official recruiting visit to your top schools, then maybe take a road trip on your own and meet the coach on your own.

Rick Paine
Reply to  Former D1 top 20 coach
3 years ago

Thanks Coach. You are right on the money about attitude. We try to teach our kids to express confidence and still be humble and respectful.

John
3 years ago

If you know how to kick, turn and race you’re probably fast already and have great chances of being recruited. So I don’t know what this article is about.

Dan
Reply to  John
3 years ago

Yeah, not sure either. Also, let’s just pretend these 3 things are super relevant to being recruited…are kids supposed to bombard college coaches with videos of them doing 100s kick on 1:30??
The championship format point is a good one though.

Betchaboots
Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

Didn’t know trolls worked during the holidays!!!!!