Women’s Division 1 swimming colleges
Women’s Division 1 colleges look for the top talent not only in-state but also throughout the country. There are D1 schools that might have limited recruiting budgets, which forces them to recruit in a certain area, but schools with name recognition and large athletic budgets like Stanford regularly get recruits from all over the country. Top tier D1 colleges have multiple state or junior national champions in one recruiting class. There are obviously scholarships available at this level, but most athletes receive a partial scholarship as there is a limit of 14 scholarships per team. Diving is also incorporated into the scholarship number with divers counting as .5 people to the limit of athletes per school.
Women’s Division 2 swimming colleges
There is a misconception that Division 2 college swimmers cannot swim D1, but this could not be further from the truth. Often, academic goals can lead a swimmer fully capable of swimming in D1 to go the D2 or D3 route. The commitment that D2 swimming takes is still extremely high but allows for more opportunities outside of the pool than D1 swimming does. The best Division 2 swimming colleges include University of California-San Diego, as well as Rollins College.
Women’s Division 3 swimming colleges
A swimmer might see themselves fit best at a Division 3 college due to majors offered or the balance between swimming and academics; there is far more freedom than is given to an athlete at the D1 or D2 level. The recruiting process is less regulated, which allows for coaches and athletes to develop a relationship before a college commitment is made. Being able to talk to recruiting coaches as well as the team members can give insight that might elude swimmers at the D1 level. With no athletic scholarships available in this division, money is allotted for academics and need-based financial aid. Johns Hopkins University and Emory University are familiar institutions at the top of the D3 swimming rankings.