3 Reasons to Choose NCAA Division III Swimming

NCAA Division III Swimming

3 Reasons to Choose NCAA Division III Swimming

By Diana Pimer (Archive)

As a senior in high school, I knew I was a swimmer with potential to go to a small NCAA Division I school with a scholarship, or go to an up-and-coming NCAA Division III swimming school with the potential to be a key player on the team.

I know there are many swimmers out there like me. And for some, choosing the Division I (or Division II) route may be the way to go. It is all about finding the right fit. And there is a cool feeling about telling all your classmates, “I’m going to this Division I school to swim on a scholarship.” There are also a surplus of other benefits, but Division III swimming has its perks as well, some that typically get overlooked.

Making the college decision is hard and there are many factors that go into choosing which school to swim for. When making the decision, here are a few reasons to keep Division III in mind.

1. We hold our own in the pool.

All three divisions of swimming produce successful swimmers. In fact, most teams train similarly. Good, solid swimming is available across the board, whether you choose D-I, II or III. For instance, Emory senior Andrew Wilson, now an Olympic hopeful, ended the 2016-17 season with the second-fastest time in the men’s 200 breast across all three divisions, along with being third-fastest in the men’s 100 breast.

2. We pursue other opportunities.

One of the main aspects that drew me to Division III is that I knew I would have time to do a lot of other activities. I am proud to call myself a swimmer, a personal trainer, a journalist, a lifeguard, SAAC president, and a member of the National Honor Society for my major. Division III makes it a little easier to branch out and involve yourself in many things that you love. In high school, I was “the girl who swims a lot.” Now, I’m sure I am still considered that by a lot of people, but I enjoy wearing many caps in my life (not just ones made of latex).

3. We gain an exceptional experience.

At the end of the day, all collegiate programs have one thing in common – they are one team. No matter where you go, you are going to get the experience of competing with teammates you will train, live, compete, laugh and cry with. In college swimming, you will meet your best friends that will remain your closest companions for the rest of your life. Your decision does not only choose your school, but it chooses who you will spend the next four years and more with. And in Division III, these people will share something special with you. As much as some swimmers may complain or get frustrated, the one thing keeping Division III swimmers swimming is their love for the sport. There is nothing else binding them to stay in the pool – no scholarship or contract. While Division I athletes obviously love their sport as well, Division III showcases some truly passionate people and athletes.

When choosing a school, it is important to keep all your options open. Whether you decide on Division I, II, III, a junior college or another route, it is important to choose what works best for you and your family. Go with your gut, stay optimistic and be confident in your decision.


Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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3 years ago

I am a former head coach in Division II…for 21 years. I loved the D2 atmosphere and enjoyed every year of those experiences. You obviously enjoyed your D3 experience. Wherever you go, YOU make the experience good or bad. You did a great job of telling us your D3 experience….you made a wonderful argument for looking at D3. Thank you for telling us about your adventure!

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