Contributor, Rick Paine, is a friend and an expert on the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection.
You have read all of the articles about the swimmers who signed early, you have seen your teammates at press conferences announcing their early signing and you are more than a little concerned if there is actually a place for you in college swimming.
Will anyone still want me? Will there be any scholarship money left? What do I do now? Have I missed the boat?
I would estimate that only about 25% of the high school senior swimming recruits sign during the early signing period each year. The rest have to wait until April.
At American College Connection we advise our swimmers to sign early ONLY IF they have found the right fit for academics, swimming and scholarship at a college. We work with an average of 85 seniors every year. Because we start the recruiting process with the majority of our swimmers when they are in grade 9, 10 and 11, 65% of our swimmers sign early.
Here is some information and advice that we provide the other 35%.
Info about the signing periods for swimming:
- The early signing period is a one week window in the middle of November when swimmers can officially sign a National Letter of Intent and scholarship papers.
- The regular signing period begins in the middle of April and runs through August 1.
- Verbal commitments can be given at any time, but they are not binding.
- You cannot sign an NLI unless you have some form of swimming scholarship.
- Nearly all D-I and D-II (D-III does not have a signing period and NAIA has an open signing period) coaches try to get their recruiting completed during the early signing period………..very few do.
- There is more scholarship money available during the early signing period than the regular one.
- There are a lot of coaches still looking for swimmers in April and most of them have scholarship money. We usually get contacted by an average of 95 coaches at the end of April every year asking for swimmers for the following year.
Advantages for signing in April:
- You have a chance to improve your times and grades.
- For most men, you have a chance to grow.
- After the early signing period coaches will re-evaluate their recruiting needs and may lower they scholarship standards slightly.
- You will get recruited by schools that didn’t recruit you early.
- You have more time to get to know the coaches and for them to get to know you.
- The extra five months gives you time to mature and have a better idea of what you are looking for in a school and swim program.
The best advice I can give you is:
- stay patient
- keep working hard in school and the pool
- keep the coaches updated on your unrested times and how they compare to the previous season
- sell your potential (see SwimSwam article from mid October)
- let the coaches know what and when your big shave and taper meet is
- when the big meet comes you will have to deal with the feelings that “I HAVE to swim fast”. It is pretty difficult to HAVE to swim fast. Put the recruiting aside and focus on ALLOWING yourself to swim fast.
Happy New Year and contact us if you or your parents have any questions about the college recruiting process.
To find out if the time is right for you to get started with the college recruiting process go to www.ACCrecruits.com and submit a Free Profile Assessment.