College Recruiting


College Swimming Recruiting 

(Courtesy of Symplyfy Athletics)

Here you will find information about college swimming recruiting and swimming scholarships. Tips and information you need to get a athletic scholarship is all below. With the free tools we provide, you can reach your goal of obtaining a college scholarship.

Plus, you can use Symplify Athletics to communicate with friends, teammates, and family members about your latest athletic achievements. Quickly post last night's game stats or your new contact information. Your Symplify Athletics profile is your personal online athletic space with it's own unique url.

Recruiting Tips for Swimming

Here's a list of tips and ideas to help make your recruiting process more enjoyable, productive, and successful.

  • Accept invitations to attend college-sponsored recruiting days (sometimes referred to as "Junior Days") that focus on student athletes and their parents. Frequently held in conjunction with a campus sporting event, they are great opportunities for you to learn more about the college and its sports program and include meeting current team members. An invitation to one of these events does not mean a student athlete is being recruited.
  • Choose your college as much for the education you will receive as for your sport. Very few college athletes will play their sport professionally. Should you get injured, decide later not to play during college, or not make the team it is important to be enrolled in a school that meets your academic needs.
  • Be a student of your sport and learn everything you can about your position.
  • Attend college athletic events for your sport whenever and wherever possible.
  • Learn about your sport's mental game and how it impacts your athletic success.
  • Maintain your eligibility for athletic scholarships by passing all required coursework and maintaining a satisfactory grade point average.
  • Keep up-to-date records of all practice and competition statistics to track your progress and share with coaches.
  • Apply and gain acceptance to at least one college you want to attend whether or not you have an opportunity to play your sport.
  • Personalize your letters and emails to each coach by using the coach's name and professional title. Avoid starting your letters and emails with "Dear Coach". Find coach information at individual college athletic program web pages or call the college athletic department.
  • The three essential qualities needed to win an athletic scholarship are (1) athletic talent, (2) academic achievement, and (3) exposure to the coaches and colleges that match your unique student athlete profile.
  • Ask yourself why you are interested in playing sports at the college level. Your answer will help guide your plans and shape your decisions as a student athlete. Do you love the game and competition? Do you plan an athletic coaching career? Are you looking for a way to pay for your college education? Is your goal to play professional sports?
  • Involve your parents, coaches and other supportive adults in your plans to attend college as a student athlete. Ask them to assist you with planning college visits, role playing before meetings and interviews, and reviewing the letters and applications you prepare.
  • Challenge yourself to exceed the minimal standards for high school graduation. Minimal efforts equal minimum results in competition and in the classroom.
  • Keep college coaches updated throughout your recruitment process. Send a brief email or text message when you have new information to share.
  • Visit college web sites to conveniently access information for prospective athletes. Learn about available academic and sports programs and what makes each college program unique.
  • Be realistic about your athletic ability and level of commitment. Ask your high school coaches and counselors to provide assessments and recommend colleges matching both your academic and athletic needs.
  • Arrange to have your final high school transcript sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse if you expect to compete as a D-I or D-II college student athlete.
  • Be self-confident, realistic and persistent in presenting your student athlete profile to coaches.
  • Ask former and current college athletes to share their experiences and offer advice.
  • Your online student athlete profile is your most valuable tool for organizing the details of your academic and athletic performance and communicating them to coaches. Frequently update your online student athlete profile to reflect competition results; participation in tournament, camps and showcases; video highlights, current G.P.A. and other information coaches need to evaluate prospects.
  • Be honest with college coaches and counselors about your athletic abilities, academic standing, accomplishments and personal goals.
  • Know college and conference calendars and schedules. Be aware of all application deadlines and recruiting periods for your sport.
  • Know and follow all college and conference student athlete recruitment and eligibility regulations.
  • Make official campus visits to your 'Top 5' colleges and athletic programs prior to your Senior year sport season. This scheduling will allow you to enjoy a productive but relaxed 48 hours on each college campus while visiting with team members and coaches.
  • The amount of athletic scholarship money that may be offered to a student athlete does not necessarily reflect how much a coach wants the player on the team. For example, the current team may have a large number of upperclassmen with few athletic scholarships available to incoming freshmen. Or, a limited number of scholarships in a given sport may restrict athletic scholarships offered to incoming freshman.
  • Take the SAT and ACT college entrance tests during your Junior year and retest should your scores be lower than expected. Take both exams because some colleges emphasize one score over the other. Satisfactory completion of standard college entrance testing by Fall of your Senior year can help coaches more quickly decide you are a valuable recruit.
  • Confirm you have the correct coach name, title, and address before you attempt to contact a coach. Coaches change jobs; however, you can take steps to ensure your message reaches the intended individual.
  • Tell your high school coach which colleges interest you. (S)He can provide initial introductions to college coaches in addition to valuable advice and contacts.
  • Participate in a physical conditioning program to prepare yourself for college competition and minimize the possibility of sports-related injuries.
  • Respond promptly and courteously to all inquiries and continue to visit colleges until you have a signed contract from the college of your choice. Avoid rejecting any interested school too early in the athletic recruiting process.
  • Remain flexible in choosing a college. Identify available athletic and academic opportunities and carefully compare them to your individual strengths and personal goals.
  • Participate in quality summer camp, clinic, tournament, showcase and travel team experiences. They provide you with opportunities to improve your skills and display them to college representatives.
  • Extend invitations to coaches to watch you compete in scheduled games, tournaments, camps and showcases. In addition to providing your event date, location and time you should include details that help coaches identify you during competition: your team name, uniform color and number.
  • A well-made video showcases your talent and skill in competition. Be sure your video includes your name and year in school, the name of your high school, your uniform color(s) and number(s) as shown in the video, and other information you think would be useful to college coaches viewing your video.
  • In competition and in the classroom, always conduct yourself in a positive manner. Coaches are reluctant to recruit student athletes that can bring negative attention to themselves, their team and their school.
  • If a coach advises you that you are not a good match, accept the news and quickly move on to identify and contact colleges that can be both an academic and athletic fit.
  • Ask a lot of questions throughout your recruiting process. Before visiting colleges, prepare a list of questions to ask coaches and counselors about your athletic career, the coaching staff and team, academics, and finances.
  • It is never too early to visit colleges with athletic programs that interest you. However, if you are interested in early signing (November of your Senior year), your college visits should begin no later than Fall of your Junior year.
  • Review the team rosters for college sports programs that interest you. Current players' hometowns and states can suggest where a coach focuses his or her recruiting efforts. Reviewing the athletes in your position and their year in college can indicate a team's recruiting needs. Current team member profiles can reveal the physical and competitive qualifications expected of team members.
  • When meeting a coach face-to-face, be well-groomed and neat in your appearance. Your appearance provides a first impression that is long-remembered.
  • Develop your plan to let college coaches know who you are and what you can offer their program. Persistently follow your plan to make your goal of a college sport scholarship happen!
  • A well-made video that showcases your athletic talents and skills should be 5 to 10 minutes in length regardless of your sport and position. Include video of your drills or fundamental skills, in addition to competition highlights, only when requested by a coach.
  • Respond to requests from coaches immediately. Carefully review your responses to eliminate errors in spelling and grammar.
  • Send thank you notes to every college coach during your recruiting process. Your courteous follow-up communication with the coach could open the door for you in the event another student declines their scholarship offer. Whether a coach replies (s)he is not recruiting your athletic talents or you decide not to attend the college, thank all coaches involved for their time and interest. Thank you notes following unpaid, as well as paid, college visits present a positive image of you both as a player and a person
  • Show your initiative and leadership by contacting coaches to express your interest in attending college as a student athlete. Colleges are more likely to recruit student athletes who demonstrate interest.
  • Keep all scheduled appointments for recruitment phone calls and visits. If for any reason you are unable to complete a scheduled appointment, contact the individual as soon as possible to request a re-scheduled appointment.
  • Promote yourself to multiple colleges. This approach allows you to benefit from the widest possible range of academic and athletic opportunities and increases your leverage when discussing scholarships.
  • Register with the NAIA Eligibility Center for initial eligibility certification prior to participating in athletics at a NAIA college or university.
  • Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse by the end of your Junior year to confirm your eligibility prior to receiving an athletic scholarship, practicing and competing at a NCAA Division I or II school. You can register online.
  • Be knowledgeable about all levels of U.S. college sports competition and related opportunities. Athletic scholarships are primarily awarded by three national athletic organizations: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The NCAA is the largest of the three organizations. Smaller colleges and universities are part of the NAIA and the NJCAA is the association for junior colleges and community colleges.


From the NCSA Athletic Recruiting site:

4 Powerful Tools a Parent has Learned in Recruiting

September 13th, 2011 - by Charlie Adams

In this article, you will learn the 4 Things one father has learned as he goes through the recruiting process with his son, and gain insights on how to find the right fit for your daughter on son to play the sport they love at the next level.

Mike O’Neill and his wife Laura came to hear me deliver NCSA’s “College Recruiting Simplified” in January of 2010. Elkhart Central Athletic Director Brian “Buck” Buckley set up the recruiting education so that Blue Blazer families would know more about the recruiting process.

“Sean’s freshman and sophomore seasons,” said Mike, “were good. We knew he was a decent swimmer but it wasn’t like he could swim in College, or so we thought. We went to your Talk thinking we had nothing to lose. We left going, ‘Okay, that was helpful’ and then were set up with College Scout Jim Sak. He walked us through what Colleges were looking for and where Sean would fit in. That opened up to us that he CAN swim in College. He is our oldest child. We had no idea. We took a couple of days and then got into the NCSA Network. That was almost two years ago. The other day my wife and I were on a walk and I told her that other than a highly recruited volleyball star at Elkhart Central, Sean (photo below) is one of the most recruited athletes in the school. He has over 20 Official Visit invitations.”

“Back in the winter of 2010,” said Mike, “we started Distributions with NCSA and that was powerful. We saw that College Coaches absolutely do use NCSA to find recruits. Michigan State looked at his profile and they were nice but his times were not a fit. We liked that kind of honest feedback.”

Sean, now a senior, has times of 55.27 in the 100 backstroke and 2:01 in the 200 back. He is 54:20 in the 100 Fly and 2:03 in the 200 Fly.

“We were down in Bloomington with friends,” said Mike, “and they asked why Sean wouldn’t swim for Indiana University. I told them, ‘Mark Spitz swam for IU! The top four swimmers in the state might be good enough for IU. If we tried to contact them they would say drop about five seconds off times and then we’ll talk.”

D1’s, 2’s and 3’s have looked at Sean through NCSA. Through the process he determined he wanted to go to a College with a highly rated chemistry program so he could be a research chemist one day, and that had a competitive swim program.

“At last count he had over 20 official visit invitations,” said Mike. “It is a good problem to have, and my wife and I will tell you besides his very good grades the main reason for all this attention is NCSA. We have done very good communication with all of these schools after they saw him through NCSA, but it all started with at least 90% of them finding Sean on NCSA.”
”Right now along with Oberlin he has accepted invitations from Washington and Lee University, Allegheny College, Ohio Northern University and Carthage College. Other colleges who have officially invited him for a recruit weekend include Case Western, Reserve, NYU, Brandeis University, Marist College, Iona College, Centre College and Lake Forest College”

It is so important for families to start taking Visits as underclassmen. The O’Neill’s took several Unofficial Visits during his junior year.

“We went to Ohio Northern during the day,” said Mike, the Dad. “We met with the coach. We did a trip down to Berry College in Georgia, up to Centre College in Kentucky and then Case Western in Cleveland.”

Being senior year, the Official Visits have started. This past week, on Thursday, they went to Oberlin College in Ohio, which is 3 ½ hours from their home in Elkhart, IN. “They matched him up with a swimmer as host. He spent two nights at Oberlin. He met with a Chemistry Professor who gave him a campus tour. He went to Chemistry classes. There were six other recruits there. At the end we met with the Coach. It was all very positive. Sean will take Official Visits to Alleghany the first week of October, to Ohio Northern the second week. He will visit Washington and Lee in November and Carthage as well.”

“As his times have become better,” added Mike, “it has expanded his choices. As a senior a few D1’s like Marist have looked at him and we are going to try to visit but the key is do they have a highly rated Chemistry program like some of these other schools?”

“One thing that has been very helpful,” said Mike, “is the recruiting education through NCSA. They have College Coaches come on Conference Calls and we dial in and ask questions and listen. The Coach tells it like it is and what they look for and what they don’t in recruits. They tell you what not to waste your time with.”

Sean is a bright young swimmer with outstanding work ethic. Top Colleges want students like him, and when they are a hard working athlete, that makes them more attractive.

“Sean is ranked 14th out of 357 students at Elkhart Central,” said Mike. “He has a weighted GPA of 4.11 and unweighted GPA of 3.66. On the SAT he got a 680 on Math and 600 on Verbal. He is not the strongest test taker which is why I liked that article you put on your Facebook page, Charlie, about Universities like DePaul deciding to make ACT and SAT scores optional. Like their counselor said, grades and the quality of the High School courses are more of an indicator of how one will do in College than Test results.”

Heck, he seems like a pretty good SAT Test taker to me!

“What we have found,” added Mike, “is that if we had just applied to some of these top ranked Colleges as a student, Sean probably would not get in. As an athlete, it helps a lot especially since he has worked so hard on academics. We have found grades are everything. You are so much more attractive because of your grades and being a combo package of a true student and an athlete. We are telling our 9th grade son to nail his academics because we are seeing how it is helping his older brother. We have also learned that if have an attractive package of grades and other things, the top rated private Universities will work with you on scholarships. At first you see they are $40,000 or $50,000 a year and you go there’s no way we are going there, but then the Merit based Scholarships kick in and the other ones. Sean just got something from Alleghany that he had already qualified for $23,000 a year. With many of these Colleges you would end up paying less than at a State University and the degree has a lot more clout.”

The O’Neill’s are putting in a lot of work and say at times it gets overwhelming, but they realize a lot is as stake with Sean’s future.

“What’s sad,” said Mike, “is that there are people out there still waiting for the College Coaches to recruit them. It’s tough to watch. They still go with the Old School line of thinking of the word will get out about them. For some, like Azariah Stahl (5’11” Elkhart Central sophomore volleyball outside hitter with 30” vertical leap) they will get chased. She is amazing and could be volleyball’s version of Skylar Diggins. The College Coaches will be all over her, but there are so many good athletes here not getting much of anything, and most of that is very local.”

“I am in marketing for a profession (Senior Marketing Manager for CIBER, Inc.) said Mike,” so I know how important it is to do it right. Doing NCSA and really working it is so worth the investment. NCSA markets you to the right levels. The education alone from NCSA has been priceless.”

In summary, Mike said there were four things they had learned over the past two years:

“One,” he said, “It is obvious that College Coaches turn to NCSA as a trusted source to find qualified student’athletes. Two, don’t wait for a Coach to reach out to you. Reach out to them and you will know from their reply or lack of reply if they have interest in you. Three, everything – no matter how good – needs to be marketed and NCSA markets Sean better that we can. Fourth, the package of ‘good times combined with good grades’ are what EVERY College Coach is looking for.”

Charlie Adams, NCSA Athletic Recruiting Network Senior Speaker

NCSA Recruiting Expert Charlie Adams

[email protected]