Tips For Successfully Handling the College Recruiting Process

Swimming World September 2021 Presents - What Coaches Wish Prospects Knew About Recruiting

Tips For Successfully Handling the College Recruiting Process

The new year is in full swing, but another kind of year has an end in sight – the academic year. For those readers who are both swimmers and upperclassmen in high school, the idea of post-graduation plans is usually at the forefront of their minds. If some are considering swimming in college, have no fear, follow the list below for a few tips and thoughts to keep in mind while going through the college recruiting process.

Don’t Be afraid To Make The First Move

There’s a misconception that a lot of swimmers who end up at a college or university as a student-athlete were recruited by a coach or someone else at the school. While this is true to a certain extent, especially among the top Division I programs, what is also true is that plenty of high schoolers start the recruiting conversation. If you have a school that you’re interested in pursuing for education and athletics, it can’t hurt to send the coach or coaching staff an email outlining your interest.

Research Ahead of Time

Do your due diligence and investigate what kinds of programs each school has before making any rash decisions. Talk to current team members if you can, and attend a meet even if it’s not an official recruiting visit to the school. Take note of how the team conducts itself and its culture on deck at a competition. Watch the coaches. Are they the ones who yell and flail their arms on the sidelines, or do they harbor more of a quiet intensity? What’s the training like?

You know yourself as an athlete best, and you owe it to yourself to find a school that will be a good fit in all aspects to ensure future success.

Be Mindful of the NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) governs all aspects of college sports, including the recruiting process. There are certain timelines both coaches and athletes must be aware of and abide by, and certain protocols for registering as a recruit and declaring amateur status. A full list of the NCAA academic calendars can be found here.

Be Patient

Waiting to hear back from coaches after initially reaching out can feel like months and years rather than a couple of days or weeks. The same goes with official offers, committing, and basically all aspects of college recruiting. So much of it is a waiting game that patience is necessary to make it until the end. So breathe, relax, and remember that these coaches are also overseeing entire college teams, as well as maintaining other aspects of personal and professional lives. Don’t be afraid to follow up, as long as it’s not excessive.

Choose A School, Not Just A Team

For college recruits, obviously their future teams will play a huge role in where a swimmer will end up going to school. Be sure to remember, even in the back of your mind, why you’ll be there. Consider educational opportunities at the school and the education colleges can provide. Pick a school where you’ll be happy and find success because you never know if a situation could arise where swimming is no longer an option.

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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