What is a Swim Parent’s Role in College Recruiting?

by SwimSwam Contributors 7

September 26th, 2016 College, Lifestyle, News

by Elizabeth Wickham

What can parents do to help their child find their way to the right school? Recruiting is an exciting time in a swimmer’s life, but it’s time-consuming and can be overwhelming. As a parent, it’s important not to take over the process, but there are areas where we can help—and we should help. All kids are different. Some will take charge and handle college recruiting all on their own. Others need more guidance from parents and coaches.

According to Kelly Kremer, Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Swimming, University of Minnesota, “The process has changed so much during the past five years. Recruiting has been pushed earlier and earlier.” His advice is to “start the process as early as possible. Look at the academic reputation of the school as well as swimming.”

Here are three areas where Coach Kremer says parents can help:

ONE: Research

“Parents can help do as much research as possible. Remember that everyone has different opinions and experiences, so don’t go on what one person says. Don’t wait until the junior year to start the process,” Kremer said. “Recruiting can be a confusing and scary process. Lots of parents can help their young person with research.”

TWO: Promote Independence

“As a coach, you can see a difference with kids who have more independence the first time they are away from home. During their senior year of high school, encourage kids to learn how to make quick small meals, do their own laundry, get themselves out of bed. Set their iPhones and get themselves out of bed and ready for practice. Parents can help them be ready for the transition by letting them do small things for themselves.”

THREE: Offer Advice

“On official visits, it’s exciting to visit a campus for 48 hours,” Kremer said. “What’s not to like? Advise your child to see through the recruiting and focus on how students and athletes interact with the coaches. It’s a short glimpse into what it would be like to be there. Suggest they visually put themselves on the team. They need to look more at that, not at who took you out to the best dinners, had the most fun, were the best recruiters.”

For more recruiting tips from coaches, read the College Preview SwimSwam Magazine.

What areas of recruiting do you think parents should help with?

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as boardElizabeth Wickham 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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4 years ago

“During their senior year of high school, encourage kids to learn how to make quick small meals, do their own laundry, get themselves out of bed. Set their iPhones and get themselves out of bed and ready for practice.” Seriously? If your kid isn’t doing this prior to high school or even middle school, much less senior year, your little snowflake isn’t going to make it past the first month away at college.

Just Keep Swimming
Reply to  BGNole97
4 years ago

Haha!!!! I thought the same thing!!! My oldest is 13 and has been getting herself out of bed with her alarm since 6th grade. She gets herself up and ready for morning practice, can definitely make herself a meal and can do her own laundry (though she is not a big a fan). Her younger brother is 11 and can do all of these things except wake up to the alarm. For some reason he sleeps right through it. Cannot imagine a senior in high school not able to get out of bed themselves or make a meal for themselves!

See you on deck
Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
2 years ago

The exhaustion due to swimming, being loaded down with tough academics and other activities has taken a toll on those basic life skills that my 16 year old was doing quite well in middle school. Now instead of doing them without being prompted, he has degenerated having to be told over and over again. He knows what to do and how to do it, he just prioritizes differently than us as parents. As I talk to parents in the stands, this is fairly normal for good male swimmers. if your swimmer doesn’t degenerate in their mid teen years count yourself and sanity lucky. They do recover from this. I certainly did. I just dont expect my hair color to stop… Read more »

4 years ago

This is oversimplified.

4 years ago

I would add that seniors should learn some budgeting skills. It was all the little things that perplexed my daughter when she went away to college. So the more grocery shopping and life skills they can get the better. Thanks for the reminder.!

Anne Lane
4 years ago

I find it fascinating that advice from a Coach is perplexing or over simplified. Coaches see far more unprepared freshman kids than the few each us raised. Parents seem to feel their own reality is the only reality. My guess is thus coach was shedding some light on what he has experienced time and again. Maybe your kids are doing laundry, cooking, cleaning and Aceing all their grades but that’s obviously not what that coaches view of incoming freshman is. Great article. Going to go to the link. Thanks for sharing.

Heather Robbins
4 years ago

As a mom of 4…thank you for sharing !