This is a question that every swimmer who wants to swim in college is faced with. Too many times swimmers and their parents don’t consider this question early enough and lose a great number of options for colleges because they waited too long.
Being a former Division I Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator for 17 years I can tell you that I always tried to identify talent at an early age (13 to 14 year olds for girls and 14 to 15 year olds for boys).
American College Connection surveyed hundreds of college swim coaches to find out when they start putting together their list of potential recruits. Here are the findings:
- 80% of the coaches plan their recruiting 3 to 4 years in advance
- They start putting together their recruiting lists with girls who are 13 and over and boys who are 14 and over.
- They are looking for potential and talent in younger swimmers.
- They tend to favor the swimmers who get on their lists early. This gives them time to follow the swimmers’ progress and get to know them via emails and mailings.
- 98% of the coaches aim to get their recruiting completed during the early signing period in November of each year.
Based on this information the best time to start the recruiting process with girls is 13-14 and boys 14-15.
You can’t go wrong by starting the recruiting process early, but you definitely can go wrong by waiting too late.
The key to our success with American College Connection is to get swimmers on the college coaches “radar screen” early, then keep the coaches updated with the swimmer’s progress throughout high school.