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2019-20 NCAA Women's Swimming Recruiting Rules and Calendar

When can NCAA women’s swimming coaches begin contacting potential recruits? At NCSA, we receive a lot of questions from families wondering exactly when to communicate with coaches from different division levels. Overall, June 15 after sophomore year is when recruiting is allowed, but in some divisions, communication can begin earlier. In this section, we share the details of women’s college swimming recruiting rules and calendar for both NCAA and NAIA organizations.

Understanding the NCAA Women’s Swimming Recruiting Rules and Calendar

NCAA women’s swimming recruiting rules can sometimes seem difficult to decipher for student-athletes, parents and even club and high school coaches. The NCAA established its rules to prevent athletes from being recruited too early, but in NCAA women’s swimming, early recruiting hasn’t been a prevalent issue like it is for some other sports.

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When Can Colleges Start Recruiting for Women’s Swimming?

To limit early recruiting, the NCAA updated its rules for Division 1 and 2 swim coaches, preventing coaches from communicating with recruits, their families or even club and high school coaches before June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. While these rules only apply to D1 and D2 coaches, most D3 and NAIA coaches will wait until junior year or later to begin actively recruiting prospects. However, prior to direct recruiting conversations, coaches are still going to be building their recruiting class. College coaches can share general information, such as questionnaires, camp information or non-athletic publications before official recruiting communication begins.

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When Can College Coaches Contact Swim Recruits?

On June 15 after the swimmer’s sophomore year, NCAA D1 and D2 college coaches are permitted to begin proactively contacting recruits. Beginning August 1 before junior year, the recruiting efforts really start to take off. That’s when NCAA women’s swimming recruiting rules permit you to take an official visit. Official visits give you the opportunity to get a better sense of what it would be like as a student-athlete at the school.

The NCAA women’s swimming recruiting rules also impact high school and club coaches. Previously, college coaches could bypass recruiting rules by communicating with high school or club coaches rather than directly with their student-athletes. Now college coaches must wait until they can officially contact recruits to engage with their current coaches, as well.

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New NCAA Recruiting Rules for Women’s Swimming

As of May 2019, the NCAA amended its rules concerning D1 and D2 women’s college swimming recruiting. The NCAA swimming recruiting rules changes are intended to help curb the early recruiting efforts and to put a greater emphasis on the actual decision-making in the hands of women’s swimming recruits and the parents.

College swim coaches have expressed concerns about these NCAA rules, since it was previously reported by the NCAA that most recruiting contact for women’s swimming was initiated during junior year. While the rule changes will delay recruiting timelines for several other sports, college swim coaches say it may have the opposite effect for swimming, since coaches will now feel pressure to connect with top recruits prior to their junior year.

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How Early Swimming Recruiting Works

Despite the NCAA swimming recruiting rules changes in rules for D1 and D2, recruiting coaches are still working to locate possible college swimming scholarship recruits as early as possible, as they continue to compile information on athletes at swim meets, all-star camps and summer camps at colleges, regardless of when communication formally starts. Even though the rules are for D1 and D2 women’s swimming programs they’ll likely have a trickle-down effect on D3, NAIA and NJCAA level programs. Coaches from these schools will often base their scholarship offers on which recruits have accepted offers from the D1 programs.

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NCAA Division 1 Women’s Swimming Recruiting Rules

Here is a list of women’s college swimming recruiting rules NCAA D1 coaches must follow.

  • Prior to June 15 after athlete’s sophomore year: Women’s college swimming recruiters are permitted to send materials such as questionnaires, camp information and any non-athletic university publications. Otherwise, there is no recruiting contact permitted.
  • After June 15 following athlete’s sophomore year: Actual recruiting communication may begin. This includes text, email, phone or social media contact initiated either by the women’s college swimming recruiter or the athlete.
  • After June 15 following athlete’s sophomore year: Verbal offers and student-athlete commitment is allowed.
  • Beginning August 1 of junior year: Official visits may be conducted. Also, unofficial visits are permitted which allow contact between the college swimming recruit and the coach. Women’s swimming recruits are allowed one official visit per school and are limited five total official school visits. Email a coach about their summer meet schedule before visiting as a campus without any of the swimming staff as this will not accomplish the goal of meeting with a recruiting coach.
  • Beginning August 1 of junior year: Off-campus contact between coach and athlete is permitted.
  • During athlete’s senior year: The women’s college swimming recruiting process allows a maximum of three off-campus contacts with a potential college swimming scholarship recruit.

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NCAA Division 2 Women’s Swimming Recruiting Rules

The rules governing D2 women’s swimming are slightly more relaxed than the D1 rules.

  • General materials: College swim coaches may send recruits questionnaires, camp information, NCAA materials and non-athletic collegiate publications at any time.
  • Printed recruiting materials: Starting July 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year, college swim coaches and recruiters may begin sending other recruiting materials like camp information.
  • Telephone calls: Starting June 15 after a women’s college swimming recruit’s sophomore year, a college coach is permitted to contact a recruit via the telephone.
  • Off-campus contact: The college recruiter may also make off-campus contact with the potential women’s college swimmer after June 15 of sophomore year.
  • Official visits: During the senior year of the college swimming recruiting process a collegiate coach may only make three off-campus contacts with the NCAA swimming recruit. Read more about official visits and unofficial visits.

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NCAA Division 3 Women’s Swimming Recruiting Rules 

The NCAA women’s swimming recruiting rules for Division 3 much more lenient than D1/D2. 

  • As high school freshman/sophomore athletes: Coaches are permitted to send brochures for camps and questionnaires. College swimming recruiters are also permitted to send actual program recruiting information and make unlimited phone calls to recruits. Athletes are permitted to call coaches (at the athlete’s expense). Unlimited ‘unofficial’ visits are allowed.

  • After athlete’s high school sophomore year: Women’s college swimming recruiters may make off-campus contact.
  • After January 1 of athlete’s junior year: Women’s college swimming recruits may begin official visits.
  • Beginning first day of athlete’s senior year: Swimming recruit may take one official visit per college.

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NAIA Women’s Swimming Recruiting Rules 

NAIA swimming recruiting rules are vastly different than those established by the NCAA. 

  • For the high school student-athlete: NAIA coaches do not have any restrictions regarding contact with a college swimming scholarship recruit and are permitted to contact the athlete an unlimited number of times. All methods of contact with a women’s college swimming recruiter are permissible, including e-mail, text, phone call or in-person. Recruiting is year-round and can have an international component, since beginning at the NAIA level is a popular  avenue for international swimmers to later. transfer to a major D1 school.

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2019-20 NCAA Women’s Swimming Recruiting Calendar

NCAA Divisions 1 & 2

  • Dead Period: November 11-14, 2019
  • Recruiting permitted all other times.

NCAA Division 3

  • Year-round recruiting permitted.

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