Contributor, Rick Paine, is an expert on the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). AAC is a SwimSwam Partner.
Your club coach plays a very important role in getting you recruited. They coach you in the pool to help you get fast enough to get recruited. Without them you would not have the opportunity to swim in college.
How much more can you expect from them?
In my 30 year coaching career I coached at the club level for all 30 years (Houston Swim Club, Colorado Springs Swim Team and Nebraska Aquatics) and spent 17 years as a college coach and recruiting coordinator (University of Nebraska). I also had a son, Alex who was recruited to swim in college and I swam at the University of Houston under Phil Hansel. So I have been on all sides of the fence when it comes to recruiting.
The duties of a club coach have changed dramatically since I coached. I was blessed to have a great group of parents at each of the three club teams I coached who did most of the behind the scenes work in running the club. They ran the meets, sent out the billing, set up travel arrangements, did fundraising, swim lessons and the parents at the Houston Swim Club even built a home-made bubble to cover the pool back in the late 70’s
Today’s club coach must spend much more time being a business person focusing on generating revenue, paying the bills, negotiating for pool time, dealing with insurance and recruiting and retaining swimmers. Parents have become so busy with their day to day lives that they don’t have the time to volunteer as much as they once did so more duties fall on the coach. Some coaches own their own club so they do almost all of the work.
As a club coach I used to think I did a great job of helping my swimmers get recruited, but after running American College Connection for the past 14 years I realize that what I did was only the tip of the ice berg for what needed to be done. Helping swimmers and parents through the recruiting process is a full time job.
You can’t expect your club coach to do everything that is necessary to help you get recruited. They just don’t have the time to help 15-30 seniors every year find the right fit for college by contacting coaches, keeping track of the coaching changes at the college level, putting together video, educating the swimmers and parents on how the recruiting process works and keep up with the constantly changing NCAA rules.
Now there are a lot of club coaches who do make the time to help their swimmers with recruiting, but there are many more who just don’t have the time or resources to help.
Some club coaches have told me about liability issues with parents. There are far too many parents with unrealistic expectations about college. They go to the club coach wanting to know when Stanford is going to call their daughter. When the coach explains that she is not fast enough they get angry and demand to know why. I have had club coaches tell me that parents have threatened to sue them because they did not get their swimmer fast enough for a certain school.
The moral of this story is don’t expect your club coach to do the recruiting for you. You and your parents must do most of the leg work. Here are a few areas to ask your coach for help:
- provide a letter of recommendation for the college coaches that paints a picture of who you are as a person
- provide a letter of assessment designed to get the college coaches to see your potential
- possibly help with video, but don’t expect them to film you at a meet
- recommend schools and swim programs that could be a good fit for you
- help you select the right college coach and program that fits you
Finding out if you have what it takes to compete in swimming at the college level is easy, and many swimmers do have the potential considering all of the options. Go to www.ACCrecruits and submit a Free Profile.
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I actually used Rick’s help with college recruiting. The only thing I regret is not approaching him sooner. He was extremely helpful and very quick to respond to any of my questions. Within a week I had about 20 different schools email me and Mail recruiting packages with information about the school and the swim program. Being Canadian, the ncaa and its “couple” of rules is very foreign to me and he made it simple.
You mention video a few times in this article, and I was under the impression that it was all about the times. Do college coaches value receiving video of potential recruits and do they take the time to view it? BTW, I always enjoy your articles and learn something from them, thanks!
I don’t know the answer, but there are two types of :50 in the 100 free: Sloppy strong and Neat smooth. The video would show who has the better stroke and potential…but I don’t know if they have time for the videos and/or what they are looking for.
SWIMMOM, You are welcome and thanks for the nice comments. We work with virtually every college coach in the country and most of their assistants and I estimate that at least 80% of the coaches definitely want to see video. Coaches want to see what a swimmer looks like in a race. Do they compete? Do they maintain their stroke in the heat of battle? How do they use their legs? How good is their last wall in a race?
Parents tried to sue because the coach didn’t get their child fast enough?!! That is nuts and does not seem like a valid lawsuit at all. There are so many more factors to whether a child swims certain times. Anyone can see that… Except a few crazy parents apparently.
It is crazy, but in today’s world where the cost of an education at an average school is over $100,000 we should not be surprised. It is a lot tougher being a swim coach today.
Then they should study. There’s a lot more academic scholarship money out there.
But shh. Don’t tell them…let them chase their dream so our SCHOLAR athletes are the ones getting into the strong programs. 😉