Swim Mom: Is College Club Swimming the Right Choice for Your Child?

Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham

I believe that if our kids want to swim in college, they can find a school that fits—and it can be a wonderful experience. I also understand that swimming on a college team is not for everyone. What if a university has an outstanding program for a student’s major, but doesn’t have a swim team? Or, a counselor tells a student that they shouldn’t choose a certain major because swimming will conflict with clinical work? Or, they aren’t fast enough to be recruited where they want to attend school—what then?

In reality, it’s not all sunshine and roses to be a student-athlete. It’s a lot of work and a huge time commitment. Traveling to meets can happen during midterms or group projects, making academics harder for student-athletes. Swimmers may not find time for extracurricular activities they’d like to try such as working at a campus radio station or internships.

Here’s an idea for college students who want to continue swimming, but for whatever reason are not on the university’s swim team: College Club Swimming (CCS).

Jason Weis, a CCS founder explained, “College Club Swimming is a great program for students who want to swim in college, but aren’t necessarily fast enough to swim on a varsity team. We’re about to enter our third season as the official national governing body for swimming at the club level across all major universities throughout the United States. CCS was founded by a group of students with help from U.S. Masters Swimming and is a fantastic way for students to continue their swimming careers in college. We host both regional and national championships which are extremely competitive and feature some incredibly fast swimming, but much like masters swimming there aren’t mandatory practices or training.”

According to Weis, they had approximately 1,850 swimmers from 115 teams compete at this year’s CCS national championships.

“CCS is a definite opportunity for those who wish to continue their swimming careers, but either are having trouble being recruited or simply aren’t interested in the intensity that comes with swimming on an NCAA college team. For me, and countless others, CCS has been a great way to continue swimming in a stress-free environment during college,” Weis said.

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.

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3 years ago

Son swam after four years intense high school
I never thought he would
2-3 days a week. Played sharks/minnows when bored
Loved the teammates
Swam club champs and was almost as fast as his absolute best
I really enjoyed watching him swim again
Love club!!

Club Swimmer
3 years ago

As someone who considered swimming at the varsity level but chose to do club swimming instead, I’m extremely happy with my decision. My teammates are my best friends, we push each other in practice everyday, and we still get to travel to meets. No one is forcing you to be at practice, so everyone who’s there really wants to be there which creates a great atmosphere at practice. I’ve never loved swimming more than I do now.

I still have time to participate in other extracurriculars, try other sports for the first time, and be very involved in academics (research, TA, etc.). I get to have the full college experience while swimming fast. The level of competition is increasing… Read more »

Reply to  Club Swimmer
3 years ago

Couldn’t agree more!

3 years ago

In hindsight I wish I had gone that route, I wasn’t fast enough going into college to swim on a strong team and went to poor college with a team I could swim on.

Now I improved a lot swimming wise (went from a 23.00 to a 21.2 by junior year), but would have been better off education wise had I got to a d1 school and just swam club.

3 years ago

College club swimming is great! Not only does it provide an opportunity for competitive swimmers that are not ready to fully retire, but it also is good for the sport by creating an engaged fan base.

ABC def
3 years ago

As a spectator at the finals of NCAA, ACC, and College Club championship swim meets, far and away the most fun and loudest meet was the club meet. And it was fast. As fast as NCAAs? No, of course not. But if you want to swim and have fun and make friends (in whichever priority order you prefer) then College Club Swimming is something to consider.

3 years ago

Many (if not most) kids who swim in high school are either not fast enough to qualify for their college swim teams, or not willing/able to make the time commitment. Some are too burned out after years of swimming for intense club teams and high school teams to want to swim on a college team. Club teams give them a chance to continue swimming for fun without the pressure of competing on the NCAA level.

Students could alternatively join a local US Masters Swimming club, which accepts swimmers age 18 and older. I swim for a USMS club that has a few college-age members who for one reason or another can’t swim on their school’s team. They are fun… Read more »

cynthia curran
3 years ago

I swam community college instead of 4 year swimming.. Masters swimming at the time, you had to be 25 years old, so I quit after the sophomore year of community college.