Contributor, Rick Paine, is a friend and an expert on the college recruiting process.
So, you want to swim in College? We intend to put together a series of articles to educate you on the frightening and mysterious world of college swimming and college recruiting. We hope to explode myths about the recruiting process and college swimming in general.
We are American College Connection, a group of former college coaches helping swimmers and their parents through the college recruiting process. I am Rick Paine, President and Director of Swimming, Jessica Berkowitz-Minier is our Assistant Director of Swimming and our other Assistant Director is Paul Stearns. Between the three of us we have nearly 50 years of college coaching and recruiting experience.
Enough about us. Let’s get started blowing things up.
The Division I myth:
Myth: If I don’t swim at the D-I level I am a loser.
Fact: There are no distinct levels in college swimming. The divisions are determined by size of the school, number of athletic teams and in many cases, the seating capacity of the football stadium. Swimming has very little to do with it.
There are approximately 500 four year schools that offer men’s swimming and 600 schools that offer women’s swimming.
If you looked at the top 50 to 60 swimming programs in the U.S. nearly 20 of them would be D-II, D-III and a few NAIA teams.
Myth: The best coaches are at the D-I level.
Fact: some of the best coaches in the U.S. coach at the D-II, D-III and NAIA level. Quite a few Olympians are developed at this level. And yes, there are many great coaches at the Division I level.
Myth: Scholarships are only available at the D-I level.
Fact: A little more than half of the D-I programs are full funded (have the full compliment of scholarships- 14 for women and 9.9 for men). Many have just a handful of scholarships to work with and there are quite a few who don’t have any swimming scholarships to work with at all.
D-II and NAIA schools are allowed to offer swimming scholarships.
Myth: D-III schools don’t offer swimming scholarships so I can’t afford to swim for a D-III.
Fact: Although D-III schools don’t offer athletic aid they have many ways to make school affordable for students. Many of them offer academic, merit and need based aid. Do you really think that everyone who attends a D-III school shells out $50,000 a year?
Myth: If I am not at least at the junior national level I am not fast enough to swim in college.
Fact: Only the top 50 to 60 D-I schools are able to fill their teams with Junior National level swimmers or faster.
The other 500 plus schools have to focus on swimmers with the potential to develop.
The least fastest girl we have been able to help at American College Connection was :29 and 1:04 in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle. She is currently in her sophomore year swimming at a D-II school.
The least fastest boy we have been able to help was 2:02 in the 200 yard free. He is the team captain at a D-III school in his second year.
Stay tuned for the second article exploding the myth: ”If I’m good enough, they will come?”