To be recruited for a men’s college swimming team, high school student-athletes will need to put the same focus into their recruiting process as they do in improving their event times. Competing for a roster spot on a college team is daunting enough, and the competition for scholarships raises a lot of questions for student-athletes and their families.
What steps are taken by a high school swimmer to become a part of the college swimming recruiting process? In addition to maintaining good academic standing, student-athletes need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to both improving their swimming skills and proactively managing their own recruiting process.
Starting with this section, you will begin to better understand the overall process of men’s college swimming recruiting at universities and colleges in all three divisions of the NCAA, as well as colleges associated with the NAIA and NJCAA (Junior College) organizations. The college swimming scholarship process can appear to be complex, especially with all the rules governing bodies, such as the NCAA, have in place for both student-athletes and college swim coaches to follow, but you’re in the right place to determine your next steps.
You’ll be able to look up the minimum swim times each college division considers as coaches place swimmers on men’s college swimming recruit lists. You’ll read about the appropriate manner for contacting a coach to show interest in becoming a part of the swim team’s roster. These are just a few examples of the insider tips we’ve included to help swim recruits find a college swimming program that is a great fit. Below you’ll find an overview of all the major aspects of men’s college swimming recruiting and be able to click to other pages to find detailed tips, guidelines and insights to help you move forward.
Student-athletes interested in men’s college swimming often wonder when college coaches may begin contacting them, as well as when they can begin to reach out to colleges that they’re interested in. The NCAA issues recruiting rules and calendars that outline exactly what types of recruiting activities can be conducted, and when. For men’s college swimming, recruiting contact officially starts on June 15 after sophomore year.
According to NCAA research, the majority of initial recruiting contact from coaches happens during the student-athlete’s junior year, and most verbal commitments take place during junior or senior year. However, many college coaches actually think the new rules will move the start of recruiting even earlier for swimming and diving. While swimming traditionally has not been a sport with early commitments, the new rules implemented to curb early recruiting for other sports, now allow coaches to contact swimmers earlier than they had been before.
It is important to understand the full recruiting timeline so you can best prepare for what to expect throughout all the steps of the recruiting process.
This section provides the latest NCAA swimming recruiting information, which will set you on the right path to communication with coaches. Familiarizing yourself with these key swimming recruiting rules is key to ensuring that you understand the necessary steps to reach the goal of swimming in college.
How does a high school swimmer know if they’ve got what it takes to compete at the college level? Just how fast are swimmers at the different division levels?
Our team of swimming experts has provided a set of guidelines, based on qualifying times for key meets, as well as standards used by coaches at the various division levels to help you understand how you stack up against college swimmers. For example, in the 50 Free, a time of 19.9 seconds or faster could score a student-athlete with a highly coveted roster spot on an elite Division 1 swim team. On the slower end of the same event, around 22 seconds, there are still many opportunities to compete at the collegiate level.
Remember these marks are gauges for college swimming recruiters, and you should research any school you are interested in before reaching out to a coach. If you have a particular school you’re interested in, look at the times of the current swimmers and know what it takes to be competitive at the conference and national level for the school.
Knowing where you qualify athletically can be extremely helpful for student-athletes creating a list of target schools and determining the division level where they may have the best chances of gaining a roster spot or a scholarship.
To offset the overall cost of college, many student-athletes and their families look to athletic scholarships to ease the financial burden. However, it’s important to be realistic about the opportunities that are available.
Men’s swimming is an equivalency sport in NCAA Divisions 1 and 2. This means the total allotment of scholarships for the sport can be divided in any number of ways between the athletes on the roster – as long as the combined total of awards matches the total swimming scholarships allotment. For example, Division 1 swim teams are allotted the equivalent of 9.9 full scholarships with an average roster size of 28 swimmers. Each coach and program is going to divide that scholarship money up differently. NCAA D2 programs have up to 8.1 scholarships and NAIA programs have up to 8 scholarships. Full-ride scholarships are very rare in equivalency sports.
At the NCAA Division 3 level, there are no athletic scholarships, but other forms of financial awards, such as academic scholarships and other forms of grants and aid can help college swimming recruits to defray overall college costs.
In this section, we’ll provide the full breakdown of scholarships available by division level, as well as outline strategies for positioning yourself to land scholarship offers, such as finding schools where you can best score points for the team.
Once a student-athlete is certain they would like to become a competitive swimmer in college, they’ll find there is a lot of work to be done to make that dream become a reality.
The good news is that in a study conducted by the NCAA, when asked to agree or disagree that the recruiting process was a positive experience, 84 percent of men’s college swimming and diving respondents agreed. Swimming had the second-best results among all sports surveyed. Although the recruiting process can seem complicated, the NCAA’s research suggests that the rules in place can help the student-athlete feel more empowered in the process. So, where to begin?
This recruiting information will provide you all the details and expert recommendations to best set you up for a chance of achieving your men’s college swimming roster goal. You’ll learn about college academic requirements, how to gain exposure with college coaches, as well as how to communicate with coaches to proactively bolster your recruiting potential.
Every year, there are hundreds of camps hosted at schools across all Division levels, not just major Division 1 programs. In addition to improving upon skills and becoming faster swimmers, one of the biggest benefits of attending a camp is to spend more time at a school of interest and get a better sense of what the coaches, program and overall campus experience are really like.
However, just because a camp is held at one university, it doesn’t mean only one coaching staff is getting a chance to see your swimming skills. There are many instances when coaches from smaller colleges will assist with the swim camp at a larger university. Coaches from D2, D3 or NAIA aren’t just there to help the larger school. It’s also giving them the opportunity to discover and evaluate swimming recruits for their own college programs.
Here are just a few reasons to consider attending a swimming camp:
There are roughly 490 college swimming programs in the United States:
There are many factors student-athletes should consider when evaluating which is the best fit for them. Aside from the swimming program, it’s important to consider other aspects of the campus life, including academic and social factors. A good way to think about it is to ask yourself, would I still be happy at this school if I wasn’t swimming?
This section consists of lists of all colleges with men’s swimming programs, broken down by various factors, including division level, conference and location. These lists present you with an opportunity to review the possibilities, while keeping in mind what your overall experience as a student-athlete at the school would be like to find the right fit – athletically, academically, culturally and financially.
The following swimming recruiting websites are used by student-athletes, parents, and coaches alike to follow and measure up men’s college swimming programs, as well as stay informed about news and major events in the men’s college swimming community. While getting your name listed on these sites can help with exposure, it isn’t the only path to getting discovered by coaches. A few popular websites to check out are Swim Swam, College Swimming, SwimCloud, and FloSwimming.
Insider tip: Despite the impact that coronavirus had on college sports, as of June 1, 2021, the NCAA resumed its regular recruiting rules and activity! Coaches are actively working to fill their rosters, so student-athletes should be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Read up on how the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes who were most affected by the pandemic in 2020 will impact future recruiting classes.