Pre-recruiting: Developing Your College List

University of North Carolina Swimming Women's ACC Championships Day 2 Koury Natatorium Chapel Hill, NC Thursday, Feburary 18, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Jeffery A. Camarati

By Kate Santilena, Swimming World College Intern.

Junior year of high school is halfway over! Wait, what? It’s time to start looking into colleges! Choosing a college to attend can cause some serious stress. There are so many places to go – how do we know which one to attend? How do we know if they will want us on the swim team? This choice will determine the four years of our lives after high school.

Although choosing a university is a huge decision, there are ways to be ahead of the game when entering the ring of the swimming pre-recruiting process.

No One Knows You Better Than You


Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

Before that first recruiting phone call comes this summer, it is a good idea to take a minute and think about what you are looking for in a college. There are so many out there, knowing the small things about yourself can help make the decision easier. They can be as simple as your preference to be a part of a university that has a both men’s and women’s team or just one. Would you rather swim for a division one, two or three school? Does the school have the major you are interested in? What is the size of the student body or size of the swim team? By self reflecting a bit before the whole overwhelming recruiting process starts and being realistic with your choices, you could save unnecessary stress.

Put Your Name Out There

Swimmers and Phone

Photo Courtesy: Matt Holland

Who says that you have to wait for a university you are interested in to contact you first? Make yourself known! Many universities have questionnaires or applications to fill out attached to their swimming website. It is also a perfect opportunity to see if your times can help contribute to the team and the conference. By reaching out to the university’s team ahead of time, you are making the coaches pay attention by saying, “Hey, I am here, and I am interested!”

If there is not a questionnaire that allows you to show off your times, send an email. Provide what you would on a questionnaire such as an introduction, your times, and why you are interested in the school. Be warned though: this means you have to do some research on the school and swim program ahead of time. By taking this first step, it allows the coaches to find a swimmer that they might have missed otherwise. It might help them find you!

Keep in Contact


Photo Courtesy: Brooke Wright

Now that you have already put your name on their radar, it is time to keep it there. Sending multiple updates before the recruiting period is important so the coaches can recall some of your accomplishments. Let them know about your semester grades and test scores, upcoming meets, and if you bettered any of your times. No need to send novels each email, but periodic updates give coaches the chance to easily access information on you as a potential recruit. This can only help your chances when the time comes to talk on the phone.

Start Watching Collegiate Competitions


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

If possible, stop by some college swim meets to check out the team. Begin making a few unofficial visits to schools you are interested in to get a head start. Although you cannot go up and introduce yourself quite yet, you can observe the team and have the opportunity to see the team’s dynamic. By watching some collegiate swim meets, you can learn the way college swim meets are run and collect stats on the team. It is always impressive to make it known that you have done your research.  

Start Files As You Do Research

UH Swimmer Studying

Photo Courtesy: Matt Holland

While you collect data, stats, and general information on the university and team, make sure you keep it organized. Whether you prefer digital files or old-fashioned paper files, keep all that information in one place. This will give you the chance to easily access your files when you need a quick refresher during recruiting or phone calls with the coaches.

The recruiting process is both exciting and hectic all at the same time. However, by taking the time to be prepared, it saves us from some stress that this process naturally brings. That being said, enjoy it! The preparation you do before recruiting starts will help you start painting a picture of your future.

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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