The coaching staff of the Walnut Creek Aquanuts could not be more proud of the academic achievements of our athletes. Our swimmers have not only committed themselves to academics at the highest level, but they have achieved this while remaining dedicated and successful athletes.
While at WCA, your daughter has developed many skills that are greatly appreciated in colleges: the drive to practice rigorously, to set and achieve goals, to work well with coaches and teams. How can you help her direct these skills in helping her getting admitted to the college of her dreams?
WCA staff created this page to help your daughter and your family prepare for college admissions and utilize her synchro experience to the maximum. Consider these resources and never hesitate to come to the coaches for guidance.
Resources and Special Discounts for the Aquanut families and friends
Collegiate synchronized swimming
Information about collegiate Varsity and Club teams, as well as the coaches' contact information, is available here.
Words of wisdom from current collegiate swimmers
From Aquanut Natalie Fletcher (Stanford Synchronized Swimming ‘21)
- Don’t be shy about reaching out to collegiate coaches! There are certain rules about how and when they can respond, but you can always shoot them an email to express your interest, update them on test scores/meet results, etc.
- If you have any financial concerns, don’t be afraid to ask directly about the school’s scholarship/financial aid programs.
- Spend some time thinking about how much of a commitment you want synchro to be in your life moving forward. Schools with varsity teams will likely expect a full 20 hours per week (that’s the max NCAA allows), whereas club programs are probably closer to 8-12 hours per week.
- If you do choose to swim in college, balancing athletics and academics will be challenging. Never be afraid to reach out for help! Your teammates, coaches, and medical staff (including psychologists and nutritionists) will be some of the best resources for support… use them!!
- There are many factors that get taken into account by admissions. A strong personal essay and great recommendation letters are just as important as your GPA and test scores.
- Remember that synchro talent alone definitely won’t be all it takes to get in. Collegiate synchro is all about the student-athlete balance, so it’s important to be focused on both!
- If you’re hoping to be recruited (as opposed to walking-on to a team), start prepping for the SAT/ACT early (probably end of sophomore year/beginning of junior year). Since recruitment happens before regular admissions, it’s important to have your test scores ready to go before the start of senior year.
- Collegiate synchro feels different from club synchro in a lot of ways. Some are more trivial differences like more strength training and early morning practices. But there are also a few more significant differences. As a freshman, I was pleasantly surprised by the mentoring/support that upperclassmen teammates provide. I also remember feeling like, more than ever before, the coaches were there to help us reach whatever goals WE set as a team. And finally, Collegiate Nationals feels way different from any other meet. Because of the way the point system works, every individual contributes so much to the overall success of the team, which really gets the team spirit going.
From Grace Alwan (Stanford Synchronized Swimming ‘22)
- Don't underestimate swimming in college! It seems like a lot of people reach national team, etc., and feel like they've done everything they can do in synchro already. But that is not the case! College synchro is definitely less of a time commitment than something like national team, but it is still very challenging and you will be able to stay athletic and working hard, especially in one of the varsity programs. It'll also be super helpful to go into college already set with a way to stay athletic, because it's a huge life change and a lot of people find it difficult to find a new routine that keeps them healthy.
- On the other hand, don't be afraid of college synchro either! Yes, it is challenging to be a student-athlete, but I think it is really beneficial overall. College sports are limited to 20 hours of practice per week, so you will still have all the time you need for academics or any other hobbies/interests you have. You will still be able to have friends outside of synchro, join clubs, etc., even with being a college athlete. Also, being part of a team in college is amazing, because you always have someone to spend time with and your upperclassmen teammates will always help you with whatever you're struggling with. While most college freshmen are scared about the prospects of making new friends, you will be going to school with 10+ best friends already!
- Once you decide you want to pursue college synchro, you can contact coaches, but don't overload them with calls and emails. They are very busy, but they are definitely excited that you're interested in their team, so give them time!
- I remember feeling stressed during the application process because you hear so much about needing to have lots of extracurriculars, hours of community service, job experience, etc. But in our case, synchro is such a massive commitment that it's okay that it might be our only extracurricular activity! Instead of struggling to fit lots of small activities into your application, talk about how many hours per week you spend doing synchro, because that shows more commitment and dedication than anything else you could write about.
From Aquanut Gillian Brassil (Stanford Synchronized Swimming ‘19)
- Do what makes you happy, first and foremost. If you're not happy at what you're doing, you will never be successful. Life is too short to do things you don't like, and college is a great place to figure out what things you do and do not like to do. It's super important to stay true to who you are, so don't lose that along the way. Don't be afraid to try new things and discern what you want to continue doing versus what you want to drop.
- College is all about the perfect fit. The school is designed to support you so that you can become your best you. The college application process can be daunting but don't fear, because you will end up at a good school which will be designed to help you. Everyone has different needs. Remember to be fully honest in your applications so that you and your potential schools can decide if you will be able to thrive there.
- All of these years of swimming, traveling, and competing have prepared you for anything. Take that diligence, confidence, and perseverance and apply it to everything that you do. The most important life lessons I've received have come from synchro; use those same skills in all that you do and you will be great.