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.
Your swimmer is about to make one of the most important decisions of their life, selecting the right college. They need your help now more than ever.
When we start working with a swimmer and their family we make it very clear that the parent(s) must be involved throughout the entire recruiting process.
As a parent you can see just how busy your swimmer is between school and practice. Do you think they can find another 10 hours a week to handle all of the recruiting by themselves?
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do help them research colleges for academics and swimming
- Don’t tell them where to go. Your advice is very important, but let them ultimately decide
- Do help them keep their notes organized and readily accessible
- Don’t become their secretary at their beck and call. The swimmer must be engaged in the entire recruiting process from the start
- Do help them organize all of the email correspondence they will have with college coaches
- Don’t answer emails to college coaches for them
- Do have a family meeting and discuss finances and come up with a figure that everyone can agree on that would be the maximum amount you can invest in at least their first year at a college
- Don’t share this figure with the college coaches
Swimmers at D-I, D-II and NAIA schools that offer athletic scholarships always have a chance of getting a scholarship increase in their second year as they improve
- Do take video of your swimmer’s races and help them get it to college coaches. Nearly every coach today wants to see what a swimmer looks like when they race. You don’t need to hire a professional videographer for this. You can do it yourself
- Don’t provide commentary on the video
- Do take phone messages from college coaches if your swimmer is not available and let the coaches know when they can call back
- Don’t take up the coach’s time on the phone unless they want to talk. Coaches are only allowed one phone call a week to recruits and the NCAA rules state that talking with a parent for a certain length of time “could” count as the one phone call for that week
- Do encourage your swimmer to set goals and sell their potential to the college coaches
- Don’t try to sell your swimmer’s potential to the coaches
- Do get your swimmer’s coaches involved in the process and ask their opinion on different colleges. They know your swimmer and what they need better than anyone. Ask them to put together an assessment that your swimmer can send to college coaches
- Don’t expect them to get your swimmer recruited
- Do insist that your swimmer take ownership of the recruiting process
- Don’t abandoned them
Parents are allowed and at some colleges even encouraged to accompany their swimmer on an official visit. Schools are allowed to pay for the parents’ room and meals on an official visit, but don’t count on it. Only a small number of schools have a recruiting budget large enough to handle this expense.
We advise our parents to definitely accompany their swimmer on an un-official visit, but let them take the official visits by themselves.
Enjoy the ride. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you and your swimmer.
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 of the options. Go to www.ACCrecruits and submit a Free Profile.
College Swimming News is courtesy of ACC, a SwimSwam ad partner. Go here and learn more about ACC and their team of college swimming experts.