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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oxyswim
1 month ago

No freshmen needs to be sending anything to a college coach. Of course someone from a recruiting service will tell you otherwise, but it’s so unnecessary. Even as a sophomore, there’s not much that coach can do other than make a note of your interest.

Big Mac #1
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

Agreed

Entgegen
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

Coaches can’t answer back if they do send out info their Freshman year, correct?

SoCal Coach
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

Agree 100%. Nothing really to do freshman year other than to start researching, work hard in the pool and in the classroom, and be a good person.

Bttrfly
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

100% agree. I am a junior going through the recruitment process right now, and my freshman year I had no clue what I was looking for and didn’t even THINK about contacting schools. And I am still doing just fine in my process. We see top tier recruits commiting late in their senior year. There is no timeline anyone NEEDS to follow. This will just scare kids who don’t need to worry about recruiting yet into thinking if they don’t start worrying about it now they won’t go to the school they want.

jay and finke’s last 50
Reply to  Bttrfly
1 month ago

SAY IT LOUDER!! 🗣🗣🗣 and i agree this is just fear mongering

Dan
Reply to  jay and finke’s last 50
1 month ago

This entire “article” is obviously trying to complicate the recruiting process and make it seem like families need to pay for their services. The internet has made these goofy services obsolete. Parents, save your money and put it towards a nice vacation before your kid goes off to college…which they can easily do without these vultures.

jay and finke’s last 50
Reply to  Dan
1 month ago

yup!! you really think a freshman who’s just straight out of middle school is gonna think about swimming in college right away?!

Lama
Reply to  Dan
1 month ago

Again we used ACC and feel is was money well spent. I you are new to the recruiting process as we were it is good to have a reliable advocate working for you. Yes there is plenty of info on the internet. If you want to sift though that and rely on the cmmt fields that’s your choice to take that risk.

Dan
Reply to  Lama
1 month ago

I bought a special gem from a guy once that is designed to make it rain. It rained the next day so it was money well spent.

The only way to know if it was money well spent would be to take the exact same swimmers and go through the recruiting process without ACC or similar service.

Lama
Reply to  Dan
1 month ago

Nice than good luck to you. Most elite athletes have agents don’t they?

Lama
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

We have used ACC and they’ve done a fantastic job for each of our three swimmers.

Riccardo
1 month ago

The timeline is absolutely insane now. A kid should be able to swim their junior year to create value for themselves.

Swim mom
Reply to  Riccardo
1 month ago

Especially boys who are still growing and developing!

PVSFree
Reply to  Riccardo
1 month ago

I think the best piece of advice I got during my recruiting process was to go to a school that I’d want to attend even if I wasn’t swimming.

There’s no way a 14-year old freshman in high school can know what they want out of a school when they’re 22-years old and graduating.

GoHoos
1 month ago

I would point out that recruiting is an entirely different game for girls vs boys
It’s easier for a college coach to know what they’re getting out of a sophomore girl than boy

NM Coach
1 month ago

My understanding is that the “Super Seniors” don’t count against the scholarship limit.

Sleeper
Reply to  NM Coach
1 month ago

That is my understanding as well but based on the recruiting my daughter just completed, that money is certainly being tracked by the athletic departments. In other words, coaches are not being told to bring back as many super seniors as they want and still utilize 14 scholarships for the rest of the team without budget constraints. Obviously, each school has their own parameters around this and some are more aggressive than others.

Braden Keith(@braden)
Admin
Reply to  NM Coach
1 month ago

That’s true this season. In future seasons, it will not be true.

Comment#1
Reply to  NM Coach
1 month ago

Even if it doesn’t affect scholarship amounts, fifth years are taking a spot on the roster and are more likely to get to swim their races at meets and travel than an incoming freshman. It’s going to change the dynamic. I predict less walkons will be added. Still the same number of races at a meet. Going to have a lot of exhibition swims with underclassmen because of fifth years.

Fletchmacfletch
Reply to  Comment#1
1 month ago

Underrated comment. Teams aren’t getting bigger budgets and the expenses of a super senior still need paid.

Taylor
1 month ago

Why would coaches need height and weight? Especially as a sophomore… my body has changed drastically since then. Also shouldn’t times speak for themselves without those statistics?

Erik
Reply to  Taylor
1 month ago

Only thing I can think of is there are some 14yr old boys who look damn near 21 and those who look like they’re 12. Physical maturation can give some idea where they’re headed is my guess.

Not saying I condone it, just a PSA.

Coach
Reply to  Taylor
1 month ago

No…when evaluating how someone will develop over the next 4-6 years, you have to look at things other than just current PBS…height is absolutely one of those things

MIKE IN DALLAS
1 month ago

As a teacher of 40+ years, it’s sad to see the “madness” of earlier and earlier take hold.
OK — I’m naive.
But, I still think that kids need to be kids; teens need to be teens, etc.

Anonymous
1 month ago

Boys are screwed. Absolutely screwed 10 different ways.

HereToCheer
Reply to  Anonymous
1 month ago

I agree, but this timeline is to the detriment of the college coaches rostering their men’s teams too. They don’t want a boy who peaks his sophomore year of HS and they could wind up with one with this timeline. I think the smart coaches will wait on boys and not give deals too early…

AZswammer
1 month ago

Understanding that this is sponsored content definitely provides some context.(And FYI – I don’t blame swimswam for publishing it, because everyone has bills to pay) But, as a parent of a child who is a senior and has completed the recruiting process, this article is inaccurate at best, misleading at worst. For the most part, swimming fast, keeping your grades up, and being a coachable athlete (who gets along with your coaches and your teammates) is so much more important than submitting videos as a Freshman. In fact, my child never had to submit a video to any college coach. I will tell you that post commitment, the ADMISSIONS office asked to see a video of my kid racing where… Read more »

Luis Vargas
Reply to  AZswammer
1 month ago

Absolutely, kids need to just train and study. If the kid swims fast (can score at the school conference meet or better) coaches will find him/her. Create a profile on collegeswimming dot com so that coaches can reach out and you are golden. If the kid loves a particular school then have the kid reach out to the coach. Swimming has to be the easiest sport to recruit for. Either you swim fast enough or you don’t. There is no in between. If a kid needs a scholarship the best way to do that is with good grades. There is more money awarded many times over for grades than for swimming. The most challenging part of the process is deciding… Read more »

AZswammer
Reply to  Luis Vargas
1 month ago

I think it’s hard for coaches to respond to every single email they get from a potential recruit. Ghosting is not ideal, but better than some of the rejection emails and texts my kid received. “We love recruiting kids from (her club name here), but have no interest in you” or “It’s not only the times, we look for well rounded kids who will contribute to the community and have potential to improve. You are not what we are looking for” – and that last one was sent without ever speaking to her. A simple “Thank you for your interest in our University. At this time, we don’t think you will be a fit with our program. Best of luck… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by AZswammer