To The Class of 2024: Some Recruiting Advice From A 2023 Swimmer

Courtesy: Emma May

To the amazingly speedy Class of 2024,

June 15th has officially come and gone, which means recruiting has begun for your class! You all have proved to be very strong, hosting a wide array of talent across the United States and also globally. Many of y’all will be continuing your athletic careers at the collegiate level, and some will go to the D1 level, and others D2, D3, NAIA, and JUCO. As recruiting kicks off, this is a time to get many questions that are asked, answered, and to seek advice from those who have already gone through this process. As a member of the 2023 class, who has found their home, I wanted to share some advice and tips for your class!

1. Create a List of Safety, Target, and Reach Schools

As you plan out the schools you want to contact, make a large list of potential safety, target, and reach schools. As you research schools on databases, you can find academic and athletic information to make creating the list easier. Your safety, target and reach schools could be based entirely on athletics or academics, or a mix of the two. You never know what could happen in this process! A safety school may really catch your eye, and you could absolutely fall in love with it. Or, a reach school may contact you unexpectedly, and you may really love your reach!

2. Fill Out Recruit Questionnaires

Questionnaires can be found on every team’s website. These are typically under the More+ tab or a Resources tab. These questionnaires are straight to the point, and they add you to the school’s databases after you submit them. You will add your contact information to these, so coaches may contact you after you submit! From my experience and others in my class, many Division 1 schools, especially when we hit the Power 5 Conferences (B1G, Big 12, SEC, ACC, PAC12), asked us to fill these out, so they could have our information saved.

3. Create an Account with Contact Information on a Recruiting Database

Whether it be SwimCloud or NCSA, have a recruiting account somewhere. This is an easy way for coaches to see your stats, interests, and contact information. This is also your way of being able to research schools, and teams all at once. You can check out schools anytime you please! Coach contact information is also on these databases, so swimmers can email or text them without any struggle of searching on websites. These databases are also fun to look at if you want to keep up with different swimmers!

4. Send A TON of Emails!!!

Don’t just send emails to the few schools you are interested in right now. Reach out to schools everywhere, at all levels! You may not be interested in some schools now, but that could change as the year progresses, and as you continue to improve as a swimmer, and develop as a person. Like I stated earlier, safety, target, and reach. After that list is created, email all of those schools. There will be some schools that contact you first, but most of the time, you need to initiate and send the first email. Don’t be afraid to send your emails either. It may be a little nerve-wracking in the beginning because this is a new experience, but that is okay. Coaches may not reply immediately, some could reply in a day wanting to make a call, and many could send you time standards and ask you to continue to update them with progress. All programs are different, but you will never know what they are exactly looking for in their recruits unless you contact, so send emails!

5. Take Every Phone Call Offered

Whether the school is your #1 choice, or your #100, if a coach wants to schedule a call with you, schedule a call. The more you learn about different programs, the more it can help you find exactly what you are looking for in a school. After certain calls, you may realize you are interested in an all-women program, instead of a Co-Ed team, or vice versa. You may also connect better with certain coaches than others. Calls are also your time to ask an infinite amount of questions about the program and the school. After that first call, if you enjoyed it, or want to learn more, make another call!

6. Have a Timeline (but know it’s okay to alter it)

Everyone is going to have a different timeline, based on their wants, needs, desires, or strategies. Create a timeline of what you want to have accomplished by the end of the fall, winter, spring, etc until you reach the point when you desire to make your commitment. Your timeline could change based on when and how much you improve, or if you need to wait to apply to your college to make your verbal. Don’t make your timeline based on your friends because we all have a different process. Make the timeline yours, and if a coach asks what your timeline is, share it with them.

7. Be Yourself

I know this sounds so cliche, but it is so true. When you begin talking to schools, and throughout this whole process, the best thing that you can do is to be the person you are. We are all unique individuals, and it is very important to embrace that. The coaches want to talk to the real you, and not some made-up, or fake version of yourself. Be comfortable talking to the coaches as yourself, and not someone else. Being authentically you on these calls, makes you stand out, and if you are your own unique self, it can make for memorable calls and experiences!

8. If the School isn’t Right, Respectfully Tell the Coach

I’m not going to lie and tell you that every call you take, and every coach you talk to is going to be the best experience ever, because that is not the case. There will be some schools you chat with, where the vibe is not right, or you might not connect well with the coach. You may also find that the school is not the right fit for you, and that is okay! We are all people and we have our flavor of people that we get along with better than others. We also have our own interests in schools and have schools we have a connection with more than others. After those calls, and you know in your heart that the school isn’t right for you, respectfully have a way to tell the coach that you do not wish to continue the dialog. They are very understanding when they see these messages, so do not be afraid to turn down a school if it’s not your fit.

9. Be Very Organized

As your emails get responses, and calls are getting scheduled, being organized is key! If you are not a very organized person, it is very important that you find some kind of system that works for you. Make knowing your schedule a priority, and have knowledge of when you are able to sit down for 30 minutes and have a conversation with a coach. Many first calls are about 20-30 minutes, because that is a time when many questions are asked. Also, keep track of the schools you have had any dialogue with. Write down when you emailed, got responses, had calls with a school, and when you all are looking to talk again. When you schedule a call, write it down somewhere, so you don’t accidentally double book a time with two schools. Organization is key!

10. Ask your Coaches and Teammates Questions and Ask for Advice

If you have any recruiting questions, or are seeking advice, do not hesitate to reach out to your coaches and/or fellow teammates. The ones who have gone through this process will more than likely be able to answer any questions that you may have. There is no such thing as a stupid question. We all want you to have a great experience, and what you may think is a stupid question, we could have asked it as well during our process. Your coaches will also be a great help. Coaches know so much about this process, and many have connections to different schools, if you have questions about certain ones. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, big or small!

11. Have Fun and Enjoy!

Like the ‘be yourself’ statement, this will also sound cliche, but in all honesty, have a great time during this process. Yes, at times it can be a little bit stressful, but do not let that stress take you over. You have a great opportunity to talk to schools all over the country, and get to experience something that the majority of high-schoolers will never get to experience. You learn so much about yourself, and get to find the school that you get to call home! Embrace this journey because it is something you get to do once in your life! Have fun!

Class of 2024, I wish you all nothing but the best of luck during this recruiting process! Really do embrace it, and enjoy it because it creates a lot of memories, and is a great experience! Ask any questions that you have to whomever they apply. Keep swimming fast, be authentically yourselves, and have a wonderful next couple of years!

Swimcerely,
Emma May
Club Wolverine Class of 2023
University of Connecticut Commit! Go Huskies!!

ABOUT EMMA MAY

Emma is a rising senior on Club Wolverine in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a breaststroke specialist. She has been a swimmer on CW for 10 years, and a coach for one as well. Emma is also committed to the University of Connecticut for the fall of 2023!

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Kevin
9 days ago

You just answered so many questions for so many people. It’s so refreshing to read this. Your last article was great as well I read. Thank you again!!

Megan Sobecki
13 days ago

Yea EMMA!! Happy to be your recruiting Coach at NCSA. 🙂

Team Chlorine
13 days ago

Extremely well written piece! I am the mom of two swimmers who have gone through the process, and many of the points you make are tips I have passed along to swimmers just beginning their journey. Hope you find success and happiness in this next chapter of your life!

Jessie
13 days ago

Set up an email address strictly for recruiting, so you don’t miss anything.
For example: [email protected].

Jessie
13 days ago

Very well done, Emma! Have fun at UConn.

Jessie
13 days ago

Check out Coach Renee Lopez’s FB group for parents of kids who want to compete in college (all sports). She lays out the recruiting process for us clueless parents.

Jessie
Reply to  Jessie
13 days ago

Lol at the downvotes for sharing a very helpful, FREE resource. Y’all are weird.

allistar
13 days ago
Dmswim
14 days ago

In the olden days of the mid-2000s when I was recruited mainly through phone calls, I had to call coaches to tell them I wasn’t interested. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but it was great preparation for life. Just remember that coaches recruit 30-50 swimmers seriously (offer recruiting trial, regularly contact, etc.) no complaints for 5-10 spots in a class, so they hear no a lot. It’s not going to crush them, and if they are jerks about it, you dodged a bullet by not swimming for them.