The Ever Changing World of College Recruiting For Swimmers

by SwimSwam Partner Content 48

November 29th, 2021 College

Courtesy of Lori Payne, Recruiting Coordinator for American College Connection (ACC). ACC Recruiting is a SwimSwam partner.

Up until a few years ago, college coaches recruited high school seniors and a few juniors. All of that has changed.

College swimming recruiting seems to change every year. We do know that the upper level college coaches start putting a list of recruits together in the 9th grade.

There are 3 main reasons why the recruiting process is getting earlier and much harder to understand. We have surveyed the college coaches over the past 3 years and here is what we have found.

Nearly 3 years ago the NCAA changed their contact period for recruits to June 15 after the sophomore year.

Covid has caused schools and coaches to limit their roster size even for women at some schools. Coaches tell us they are taking less Walk-Ons and are offering scholarships much earlier than ever before.

Last year the NCAA gave every college athlete an extra year of eligibility. This is referred to as the Super Senior. Great idea, but who is going to pay for it? Now the coaches have to decide is they are going to give their current swimmers an extra year of scholarship or go out and find a recruit.

More and more of the upper level teams are finished with their recruiting up to 2 years in advance.

The Ivy League schools are being forced to get commitments from high school juniors. This past year 5 of our juniors gave verbal commitments to Ivy League schools. We have never seen this happen before. We have spoken to some of the Ivy League coaches and they all tell us that if they don’t go after the fast kids early they are gone by their senior year.

It is imperative for any recruit wanting an Ivy, to know what times, and when they need to hit those times, and if the coach will be able to offer an admission slot- and even then, it is not a guarantee, ( but is a good guarantee ).

It is a necessity that kids and parents start the recruiting process as a freshman if they want to swim D-I. They need to get their information out to the coaches in the 9th grade and really paint a picture of their potential to the coaches.

We know the successful coaches start putting their recruiting list together with 9th graders. Race video will be important to send for the girls and the young boys depending on how much more growing they will do.

To get an idea if a coach would be interested in you go to their conference results and look up the 16th place time in prelims in your top 3 events. Coaches are looking for conference scorers. Then check their rosters to see how many returning swimmers are in your events. Then find out who they recruited in your events.

Freshman

Get information to college coaches.

What to send:

  • Year of graduation
  • GPA
  • A few best times
  • Goals for the next shave/taper meet
  • Have your coach or someone be able to sell the college coaches on your potential to develop
  • Race video is not necessary at this point

Sophomores

Get information to college coaches including race video. D-I and D-II coaches are not allowed to communicate with recruits until June 15 after grade 10. D-III, NAIA and Junior College coaches can start contacting recruits as early as the 9th grade.

  • Year of graduation
  • GPA
  • Area of academic interest if known
  • Height and weight
  • A few best times
  • Goals for the next shave/taper meet
  • Sell your own potential. You must get the coaches to have an idea of how fast you will be as a senior in high school and a freshman in college
  • Have your coach or someone be able to sell the college coaches on your potential to develop
  • Race video is a must as June 15 gets closer. Ask your coach or someone to analyze your video for the college coaches and point out all of the things that you do well
  • Keep the coaches updated on your progress
  • You must get yourself as high on the coaches’ recruiting lists as possible before June 15

Juniors

Get information to college coaches including race video.

  • Year of graduation
  • GPA, test scores, honors and AP classes
  • Area of academic interest if known
  • Height and weight
  • Wingspan if at least 2” longer than height
  • Shoe size
  • A few best times
  • Goals for the next shave/taper meet
  • Sell your own potential. You must get the coaches to have an idea of how fast you will be as a senior in high school and a freshman in college
  • Have your coach or someone be able to sell the college coaches on your potential to develop
  • Race video is a must. Ask your coach or someone to analyze your video for the college coaches and point out all of the things that you do well
  • Keep the coaches updated on your progress
  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center

Seniors

We hear from a lot of coaches who won’t offer official visits to seniors anymore, as their roster spots and money are gone.

Don’t give up. Recruiting changes almost daily. The official signing period begins the second Wednesday in November. Many teams will continue to recruit throughout the year.

  • Year of graduation
  • GPA
  • Area of academic interest if known
  • Height and weight
  • Wingspan if at least 2” longer than height
  • Shoe size
  • A few best times that will score at conference. Relay splits count
  • Goals for the next shave/taper meet
  • Sell your own potential. You must get the coaches to have an idea of how fast you will be this year and a freshman in college
  • Have your coach or someone be able to sell the college coaches on your potential to develop
  • Race video is a must. Ask your coach or someone to analyze your video for the college coaches and point out all of the things that you do well
  • Continue to contact coaches until you get a response. It may take quite a few attempts to get a reply, but don’t give up.

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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Ancheri
8 months ago

ACC Recruiting has helped tremendously with helping my son contact colleges and Universities in the correct and professional manner. They also continue to be in contact with him throughout his college career giving guidance and support whenever he should need it. They are a reputable company and I am grateful for their input in my son’s future.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ancheri
Denise
8 months ago

We used ACC and were very happy we did. It was a very confusing time trying to figure out the recruiting process in the midst of a pandemic and all the changes that were affecting the sport. ACC was a knowledgeable and reassuring constant throughout this process!

swimparent
8 months ago

I don’t understand why everyone is so negative on great free advice from a reputable recruiting service that has helped tons of swimmers get into tops schools across the country. I have seen firsthand swimmers that wait too long into their high school years to start the process, miss out on good schools and scholarships. ACC is right why not start early and have your pick of schools while the doors are open. Division 3 schools are already talking with my grade 9 daughter and division 1 and 2 colleges are already interested to talk with her next June 15th. This is all made possible with the framework ACC has provided.

J Dardnay
8 months ago

Having recently gone through this process, there are absolutely two different ways of doing it and to a certain degree it depends on the swimmer. 

The least expensive (free) approach is to fall in line with the typical advice of “Go A Time” and it all happens and falls into place from there. I have no doubt that for high school swimmers who are gifted with truly elite speed, that this is precisely what happens. No recruiting consultant necessary. And no one ever knows the difference.

However, in the far more common group of swimmers who are plenty fast enough to swim on a collegiate level, but are not as proactively considered by college coaches – there is a more… Read more »

Lama
Reply to  J Dardnay
8 months ago

Well said

Swimpop
Reply to  J Dardnay
8 months ago

And nothing you wrote implies having to start filling up coaches email inboxes during the swimmer’s freshman year, much less send videos and some of the other silly items in the timeline above.

J Dardnay
Reply to  Swimpop
8 months ago

If you think that coaches ‘writing back’ after filling up their inboxes during your daughter’s sophomore year means anything, prepare to be disappointed. Also, if you think sending videos to collegiate coaches is ‘silly’ based on your theory of no team/subjectivity in the sport, this can only mean that no coach has requested a video from you. I assure you its not because they think its silly, nor is it because its something they don’t request. But, it sounds like you’ve got it all figured out. Good luck.

simpyvonsimp
8 months ago

reading this .. not worth the stress, I’ll just enjoy what’s left of HS. Well done swimswam.

Mark
8 months ago

Can you do it by yourself? Of course. It takes time, understanding of how to navigate the landscape, etc. We signed on with Rick the end of my daughter’s sophomore year. They talked a number of times about which schools were best fits, which coaches were more willing to work with her difficult major, who had more money to give, whose training style was most in line with her event strengths, etc……When the day came over the summer coaches could contact her, she had a number of calls set up with DI schools that were good matches. She ended up finding a great fit for her and with the scholarships very affordable.
For us, it worked out very well… Read more »

Swimpop
Reply to  Mark
8 months ago

And nothing you wrote implies having to start filling up coaches email inboxes during the swimmer’s freshman year, much less send videos and some of the other silly items in the timeline above.

Swim Mom
8 months ago

I would say – it is good for a freshman to understand what would it take to make a good swimming team. If you start the process early, they know what are the times to strive for. It will keep them focussed through high school years, while distractions from all other activities are also very high. To me, having them focussed on something from early age is good.

Swimpop
Reply to  Swim Mom
8 months ago

And nothing you wrote implies having to start filling up coaches email inboxes during the swimmer’s freshman year, much less send videos and some of the other silly items in the timeline above.

Kaushal Dalal
8 months ago

Sharing our experience fwiw — Finding the right program and right coach is easier said than done. There are so many coaches that sound similar on e-mail and phone calls… so many colleges that have academic and extra-curricular programs that at least on paper look indistinguishable.

In that context, many parents, including us, get heavily influenced by rankings. Rankings don’t tell you about culture of a swim program. Rankings don’t reveal on-campus academic culture and how that might fit for your kid.

ACC for years have been well-versed with placing recruits. They “know” how to distinguish one program from another. They have experience placing kids at many colleges and through can relate on-campus academic culture and its fitment… Read more »