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Using Competitive Swimming As The Vehicle To Grow Each Student-Athlete

NCSA was able to catch up with Swim Coach Douglas Carrington for some information on his program at Florida A&M as well as some overall recruiting tips.  Check out what Coach offers for the NCSA Coaches Corner blog below:

1. How would you describe yourself as a coach?

I would describe myself as a teacher of human development that uses competitive swimming as the vehicle to grow each student-athlete. I am a challenging, optimistic, goal oriented, quality based quantity type coach. I am always researching and studying new ways to grow student-athletes to their desired potential. I spend some time trying new drills myself in the pool before I use it with my student-athletes.

2. What is unique about the experience at Florida A&M University?

Florida A&M University is a State University System Institution and has been providing higher education in the state of Florida since 1887. Florida A&M University offers 62 bachelor’s degrees and 39 master’s degrees. The university also offers a juris doctor at its College of Law in Orlando. FAMU has 11 doctoral programs which include 10 Ph.D. programs: chemical engineering; civil engineering; electrical engineering; mechanical engineering; industrial engineering; biomedical engineering; physics; pharmaceutical sciences; educational leadership; and environmental sciences. While at FAMU, a potential student-athlete will develop life skills, long last friendships and partnerships through the teammates they swim with for life. Our program has a close knit type of atomosphere.

3. What do recruits need to know about you?

Recruits should understand that they need to have clear goals about what they want to do when they come to Florida A&M University. That means we want the recruit to think not only about swimming times, but study habit goals, nutrition goals, training goals, stroke development goals and holistic goals. With that set in mind, recruits also need to know that they must supply the effort needed day in and day out to meet those goals.

4. What do you look for in recruits?

For our swimming program, we are looking for potential student-athletes who are interested in our degree programs and also personal growth and development. The first thing we look at is the academic record of a potential student-athlete. We love to see swimmers with IB, AP and Honors class work on their transcript. We also look for potential student-athlete with competitive times in all four strokes and distances (100, 200 Butterfly, 100, 200 Backstroke, 100, 200 Breaststroke, and 200, 500, 1000 Freestyle) as well as the Individual Medley (200, 400 I.M). Though it is not as important, having club swimming experience is a plus.

5. What is the one thing every recruit needs to do with the recruiting process?

Well there are four things. First, check out The College Bound Guide for the Student-Athlete. This is a very helpful tool. Second, register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Center! To swim at the division one level your eligibility will be determined by the NCAA not the institution. Three, do your research! Learn about the university and ALL it has to offer. And finally, ask specific questions! They will help us find out what information you need to aid your college decision process.

6. What sort of questions do you really like to hear from recruits?

It is great to hear questions like:

1. What services are offered through our academic advisement center?

2. What is a typical practice session like?

3. What is the strength and conditioning program like?

4. Do you have training groups? What group would I be in?

5. Do you know the graduation rate of the student athlete at FAMU and within the swimming program?

6. What does it take to make the travel team?

7. What are the top 16 times at conference championships?

7. What turns you off when you are recruiting a student-athlete?

There are three. 1.) Potential student-athletes that have NOT done their research about the academic programs they are interested in at Florida A&M University. It is very important that potential student-athletes understand that they will become STUDENT-athletes. Your academics are first; your swimming is second. As a staff, we strive to aid in your college decision making process. However the student needs to do the homework of finding out what the university has to offer in terms of their academic major.

2.) Be punctual in getting your information to our athletics department. This will aid in the timely evaluation and decision making for our department. Early bird usual gets the worm!

3.) Lastly, potential student-athletes that ask for scholarship money that failed on the first two items listed above. This process is relationship building. If you invest in yourself, then Florida A&M is willing to invest in you.

8. What do you think your program is the most successful at?

Florida A&M University Swimming is most successful at helping student-athlete reach their goals. We spend many hours developing all the steps needed for them to be successful. In the last two seasons, 93% of the individual and team goals have been met. This has developed our student-athletes into better time mangers and given them more confidence to step up to the next set of challenges.

9. Why should a recruit consider your program?

Florida A&M Swimming is an up and coming mid major program with a close knit environment for any potential student-athlete to develop. Most importantly you can earn your chosen degree and be a key ingredient to the conference championship team every season. We compete against the best Division 1, 2, 3 and junior college programs in the nation every year. As a member of the coastal Collegiate Swimming Association, each season we get to compete at the premier aquatic centers in the south east for our conference championship.

10. If a recruit is interested in your program, how should they reach out to you?

By Mail:

Swimming and Diving

Florida A&M University

Gaither Office Complex

Room 221

1835 Wahnish Way

Tallahassee, FL 32310

By Phone: (850) 599-3028

By Fax: (850) 599 3810

By Email: famuswimteam@yahoo.com

About the author
Aaron Sorenson