July 29, 2016
Swimming in College
Coach McNear is a former Division I, four-year, full athletic scholarship swimmer and a current senior level swim coach for twenty-six years who has guided hundreds of swimmers to continue their swimming careers at the collegiate level. McNear has put together a variety of information and sources that may better assist in the college selection and recruiting process. Please feel to contact Coach McNear at [email protected] if you need further assistance.
If you want the opportunity to try to swim at the collegiate level...
1. Continue to work hard both in the classroom and in the pool throughout your entire high school career.
2. Follow USA Swimming guidelines at http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=2071
5. During your Sophomore year of high school complete the online prospective student-athlete questionnaire (i.e. https://college.jumpforward.com/questionnaire.aspx?iid=1599&sportid=52) for each college that you're interested in possible attending.
6. Beginning in July of your Junior year of high school register with the NCAA at https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/
7. Email a list to Coach McNear ([email protected]) of your top 10 colleges that you would be interested in attending (consider: academics/field of study, location, size, swimming) in June at the end of your Sophomore year of high school.
8. During your Senior year of high school re-take the SAT and ACT.
9. Continue to work hard both in the classroom and in the pool throughout your entire high school career.
Individual Swimmer Rankings - https://www.collegeswimming.com/
PA Swimming - http://paswimming.com/site/
PLEASE READ USA SWIMMING’S CLUB COACHES AND THE COLLEGE PROCESS:
From SwimSwam To all aspiring college level swimmers out there, here are 10 things you should know about the college recruiting process.
1. You are allowed to contact any coach via e-mail at any time. This includes sophomores and freshmen. During that time, however, coaches are only allowed to send general info via snail mail. As a sophomore & junior, your job is to fill out recruiting forms of any college you are interested in swimming for. Be sure to fill out as many of the fields as possible, as accurately as possible. This will create a file of your information in the coach’s office.
2. “General correspondence” can begin any time after September 1st of your junior year. General Correspondence means that a coach can begin to contact potential recruits via e-mail. These emails will likely invite you to fill out a recruiting form on their website if you haven’t already. If you are interested in a coach who reached out to you, keep the contact going. Update the coach on your athletic and academic progress. The more you improve both in and out of the pool, the more they will want you. Remember: even though coaches are allowed to e-mail you, they are not allowed to call you. You are, however, permitted to call them. If they are able to answer, they can talk to you, but they are not allowed to call you under any circumstances, including returning a voicemail.
3. The summer following your junior year is when coaches are allowed to contact recruits via phone (July 1 for D-I, June 15 for D-II, no restrictive dates for D-III or NAIA).
4. If a coach is interested in you, they will invite you on an official recruiting trip. These give you an opportunity to stay over in a dorm with members of the swim team, go to class with them, and get a feel for what it would be like to attend the school. Official recruiting trips are typically paid for by the team, though policies are changing to increase the financial burden on a prospective athlete. Unofficial recruiting trips require the athlete to pay for their food and other fees while they are visiting, in addition to covering their transportation and housing costs. But remember, an unoficial trip can become official if a team so much as buys a recruit a hot dog. Coaches will often invite high school juniors to attend a more general Junior Day, which are often available to all prospective students, not just student-athletes. Official visits only allow a recruit to be on campus for 48 hours.
5. As seniors, athletes are limited to 5 official visits to Division I schools. Because Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, student athletes can take recruiting trips to an unlimited number of Division III schools, but only one official visit per school. As of last year, Division II now allows unlimited official visits by prospective student-athletes.
6. High school student athletes are not allowed to practice with Division I teams on recruiting trips, though they can use the practice facility as long as coaches are not present. Athletes can practice with Division II teams.
7. Rules about accepting compensation to swim are very complex. The NCAA rules were changed a few years ago and this area is still pretty gray. If a recruit has inadvertently accepted “prize” money they can usually return it and regain their eligibility. As long as money is given for expenses recruits are allowed to receive it. As you know FINA has also started to sponsor swimmers from underdeveloped countries by paying for everything including extra living expenses, which is allowed by the NCAA. When in doubt, seek out advice directly from the NCAA.
8. Once you have received your athletic scholarship details, you may decide to sign a letter of intent. This binding agreement commits you to attend the university and swim for their team, receiving the amount of scholarship money you have been given.
9. Once you have signed a letter of intent, you are allowed unlimited contact with your future coach.
10. Before the signing periods, an athlete may verbally commit to a college or university, however, verbal commitments can be broken.
Although it can be overwhelming, remind yourself that whatever happens, you will end up at a school where you can excel academically and athletically. Have fun when choosing the best place for you. You are preparing for what has the potential to be the best four years of your life.
There is a college swim team for EVERY level of swimmer. Do not rule out swimming in college
Swimming is a tool to help you get into a school, or advance you into a school that would normally be above your academic standard.
The coach can help you get into the
school in many places, even if the school is not a scholarship
school. A college coach can’t work miracles, but most of them
can help – a good question to ask when meeting with a coach,
is how does the admission process work for student athletes?
Sometimes, the coach can do very little, sometimes they can do a
whole lot, depends on the school.
DI and DII schools can offer scholarships (but do not count on receiving one) while DIII cannot, but there is a good deal of grant money available. Have an idea of the price of the school - if it is $60,000 a year, with no scholarships, and not much financial aid, and you don’t want to get too deep into debt then you may want to look elsewhere.
Things you should do:
Brainstorm on what you want out of a college swimming program
o Strength of the program
o Level of university (D I, II, or III)
o Men’s and women’s teams and their interaction
o Your place within the program
Do you want to be a major contributor
in your freshman year?
Check out team’s top times, see where you fit in. If you are a 25.0 50 freestyler, and that would put you 10th on their top times list, you should question your ability to contribute to that team
o Size of school
o The majors the schools offer
o And many other questions specific to you
o Also ask, near or far from home, area of country, city school, rural school, warm climate, cold...
Create a list of schools that you are
interested in attending (can be as long as 15-20)
o To see if the college may be interested in your talents look at the previous year’s
o If you would place in the top 16 at their conference meet in your respective events, that program would more than likely have an interest in what you can bring to their team.
Go onto the team site for the schools that you are interested in attending and fill out· their recruiting questionnaire. This is very important as this is the way that programs generate their initial list of recruiting candidates.
Create a swimming resume
o Make a Progression Chart on a spread sheet with your best times by event starting with Freshman year (possibly even 8th grade) to present, including SCY and LCM times.
o Describe yourself in a short paragraph, talking about your swimming right now, your favorite events, what you hope to get out of swimming in college, your work habits, your height, and anything you may want to share.
o You could even include a photo to
make it more personal.
o Place a few of your swims on Youtube, and a link on your resume, or better yet simply attach these videos to the email.
o List Coach McNear's contact info as well as your high school coach’s info.
o Send it to the coach after you have filled out their recruiting questionnaire.
o When sending it to a college coach – make sure your best times are in the email. Make times very easy to find!!
o Include academic information, current transcripts and/or test scores are typically needed on file for most D1 schools to offer official visits.
If you have time and you want to visit a school, call or email the coach and set up a time to meet with him/her during your time on campus. Please don’t assume college coaches hang out on Saturdays and Sundays waiting to talk, they have families and lives too. Set up a time in advance, not the day before.
Remember that you may call them, but
they cannot call you until July after your Sophomore year. As of
July 1st they are allowed to make unlimited phone calls and
Official and unofficial visits
o Unofficial visit- This is when you set up a campus tour on your own and visit the school. You should contact the coach prior to your visit and see if he/she can meet with you during your visit. There is no limit to the number of unofficial visits you can take.
o Official visits- This is where the coach invites you to visit the school over the course of two days. You meet the team, spend the night with a team member, possibly watch a practice, and many times attend some form of school activity. You are allowed 5 of these and the school is only allowed a certain amount per year. This only happens during your senior year. How much a university can pay for the visit depends on the Division and the school. At most, a D1 school can pay for all expenses including travel to and from campus.
o There are junior visits that can include an overnight stay, but all costs must be paid for by the athlete.
o College Coaches want to hear from recruits not mom and dad. During visits, the athlete should be doing most of the talking; college coaches gage how interested the recruit is in their school.
o Athletes should write and send their own emails. Do not allow your parents to be
the point person.
If you plan on visiting or attending a DI or II school you must fill out the NCAA Clearinghouse. You can find this at: https://web1.ncaa.org/eligibilitycenter/student/index_student.html
College recruiting sites or
o Do not pay for these. They are not necessary and cost a great deal of money.
Email Coach McNear so we can set up a college meeting in the fall of your Junior year, which should include at least one parent and the swimmer. [email protected] Once Coach McNear has met with you he will make phone calls to your top choices and talk to the coaches about you.
Questions to ask College Coaches
Here is a list of questions you may want to ask college coaches when you have a meeting during your official or unofficial visit. The questions are in random order as it is up to you on what is most important.
Where do you see me in this
Do the men and women practice together?
How do you organize your practices? (groups, ability level, gender, etc.)
What coach would be working with my group?
How many yards would we swim in an average mid season workout?
Do you set up rooming assignments with other swimmers?
How far are the dorms from the pool?
Do you help with class selection? (so labs and classes do not interfere with practice or so that you do not have a class when you would be routinely traveling for a meet, i.e. Friday afternoon)
Is there a mandatory study hall?
Do you have academic advisors or tutors for athletes?
Is there a flexible meal plan in case I miss meals because of classes, practices, or meets?
Does the team do activities outside of the pool? (If so, what are they?)
Do you feel I could contribute freshman year? (If not, when?)