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2020–21 NCAA Women's Swimming Recruiting Rules and Calendar

Impact of Coronavirus on College Swimming & Diving Recruiting: The NCAA recruiting rules are now different for each division level. NCAA D1 has suspended all in-person recruiting through April 15, 2021. As of September 1, 2020, NCAA D2 and D3 have resumed the regular recruiting rules. Stay on top of the latest news involving the extra year of eligibility for college athletes and how it impacts recruiting. See our full coronavirus resources section.

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. What are the main differences between various swim camps?

READ MORE: NCAA’s new rules will grant student-athletes the opportunity to earn money from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

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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What to do if the coaching staff has been furloughed

Colleges and universities nationwide have furloughed employees due to financial constraints brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. At schools like Boise State, this includes the swim team coaching staff. So, what should a recruit do if a coach they’ve been speaking with has been furloughed?

  1. Send the coaching staff regular updates. While furloughed coaches will likely be unable to continue recruiting, student-athletes should still send updates on their training progress as a way to nurture their relationship with the coaching staff.

  2. Reach out to the athletic director and college admissions team. These individuals may not be able to answer the recruit’s swimming-specific recruiting questions, but they may be able to answer some of their general athletic and academic questions.

  3. Contact current team members. Without access to the coaching staff, talking to current roster spot holders is the next best thing. Recruits can ask team members questions about their experience and the team dynamic to get a better feel for the program.

  4. Keep your options open. If a student-athlete is uncertain about their status as a recruit for their top choice program, it’s important that they be open to exploring other options. Recruits should research other opportunities to compete at the college level and begin building a relationship with the coaching staff at programs.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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NAIA women’s swimming recruiting rules 

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

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2020–2021NCAA women’s swimming recruiting calendar

NCAA Divisions 1 & 2

NCAA Division 3

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