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Swim recruiting questions


Replies to: Swim recruiting questions

  • makemesmartmakemesmart Registered User Posts: 1,040 Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    I would set up a non-varsity account (free) at collegeswimming website, so that you could track and see the times of your DS with those of his classes nationally and state-wide. (Caveats: These data will not be available till he becomes a freshman).
    Good luck!
  • jmtabbjmtabb Registered User Posts: 206 Junior Member
    We’re in the thick of all this still, eagerly awaiting EA decisions in a few weeks.

    I totally agree with casting a wide net. You not only have to meet the regular college challenges of finding schools with the program of study your kid wants where they meet the academic expectations for admission, with the right culture, location, “vibe” and all, you also have to find a place where your kid is comfortable with the swim team and the coaches and who want him on their team as much as he wants to be there. I have a girl, with more teams available to consider and still this was a challenge for us.

    As for some of your questions - if the school pays for anything it counts as an “official visit”. At the D1 level you only get 3 of those, and they can’t happen before the beginning of your junior year. So you’ve got a ways to go before official visits are on the table. What we’re seeing right now is kids who are potential superstars getting lots of interest early. Kids just slightly slower than that are still working thenprocess well into Junior and Senior years.

    A pre-read is when you submit your transcripts and test scores to the school at their request in advance for them to look over and confirm that you’ll meet their requirements for admission. We were asked to submit ASAP after the end of Junior year, though we had been sending the information to the coaches all along. Some schools will also do a financial pre-read where you send them your FASFA/CSS and they’ll give you a general idea of what kind of financial aid you can expect. We didn’t get that as we know we won’t get any financial aid, and my kid has been looking at D3 schools so we know there is no athletic money.

    One of the best tips we got was to ask lots of questions about the program - what’s expected as far as time commitment in and out of the pool, what’s included and paid for by the school and what isn’t (gear? Tech suit? Towel service? Travel costs? What about that winter training trip?). Are kids expected to room together? Are there mandatory study halls? How accommodating are professors for missing classes and exams? Are there certain majors that are more difficult to manage as a swimmer (Nursing and engineering are two I’ve heard are sometimes harder or not allowed. Lab science classes could be a challenge too). How many kids swim all 4 years? Do they continue getting faster?

    As you are narrowing down your choices in a few years, try to get some clear answers to how many kids a coach will be supporting for admissions, and how much influence the coaches support gives. At the D1 level the NLI paperwork is what gets you in, and there is a limit to how many a coach can offer each year. Where are you on his list? Do you need to wait to see if other athletes turn him down before you’ll get an offer? Difficult things to ask.

    At the D3 level you are waiting for admissions decisions in December or spring and the coach support for admissions could be significant or could be virtually non existent.

    And now a friendly warning. We’ve watched some teammates go through this process. One was a top recruit, fantastic student and fantastic athlete. Got recruited to a top 5 school with a top 5 swim program. But he’s not one of the top swimmers on the team and he got no athletic money. He’s exactly where he wants to be. Another male swimmer going through the process this year is just slightly lower swim level (but still fast -he is swimming at Sr. Nationals right now), had a write up in the local newspaper for his 36 ACT score. Needs merit aid/athletic money for school. Has had a hard time getting D1 interest. He just committed to a top D3 team with significant merit aid (but no athletic money). If you need to follow the money you need to be prepared to go where you can find it.
  • ASKMotherASKMother Registered User Posts: 156 Junior Member
    @Acersaccharum and @makemesmart and @jmtabb thank you for your insight! Very helpful! My take away ... definitely not looking to be a professional swimmer; thanks for insight that merit/need scholarship may be possible but should have low expectations on athletic scholarship in swim; have recently set up an account with NCSA but will look into the other website; sophomore year is the time to start reaching out to programs; cast a wide net yet only specific to your athlete as a student (pick college for education first then find team fit) and be open to any division.

    I'll reiterate a few questions in case anyone cares to throw their experience out there (regardless of size of program):
    What would you have done differently during the recruiting/college selection process?
    Were your financial expectations realized for your recruit?
    What has been the biggest challenge for your collegiate swimmer once at school?
  • makemesmartmakemesmart Registered User Posts: 1,040 Senior Member
    DS20 is a junior, so we are just learning this process as we speak, and academic is our priority, but he likes swimming and would love to swim in college. With the new NCAA rule change, official visits could start in Junior year (9/1/of junior year), the sophomore year swim times become really crucial (more so than before), as many coaches will start contacting swimmers at the beginning of junior years. DS’ friends who had phenomenal sophomore year swimming had already done some of their OVs.
    Which means, you want to start prepare standardized testing earlier than your regular classmates too, as the coaches who showed interests in you generally already saw your swim times, they would ask for your GPAs and test scores immediately.
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 1,259 Senior Member
    Which means, you want to start prepare standardized testing earlier than your regular classmates too, as the coaches who showed interests in you generally already saw your swim times, they would ask for your GPAs and test scores immediately.

    Yes, and can't take an OV unless have an SAT or ACT score.
  • jmtabbjmtabb Registered User Posts: 206 Junior Member
    Honestly, you don’t need NCSA. Swimming is one of those sports where it’s all about the numbers. Go to collegeswimming.com, pay for a full membership (it’s a one time fee and not that expensive) and start looking for schools where your kid would be the top 2-3 for their fastest events. Fill out the recruiting forms on the school’s website, send the coaches an e-mail to get the conversation started (sophomore year) and you’ll start seeing interest from schools.
  • makemesmartmakemesmart Registered User Posts: 1,040 Senior Member
    As a swim parent, I really appreciate what swimming has done to my DS, even though the time commitment is huge, you don’t really have summers (no options for doing six-week camps, lol) and getting up at 4 am has to be your swimmer’s and your routine!
    Don’t focus on just swimming yet, he still has time to develop other interests, and he should, both athletically and hobby-wise, as a 13-14 year-old middle schooler, the coaches would often want you to focus on swimming, but that is not a good idea.
  • Darcy123Darcy123 Registered User Posts: 156 Junior Member
    Does anyone have any sense of the ACT or SAT score they're looking for from sophomore testing? My son is planning on taking the SAT in the spring, but it's doubtful he'll have much time to prep. I would expect his score to improve if/when he takes it again his junior year. I've heard 30/1400 is safe for even the top schools. I'm just wondering if they'll expect that number from sophomore year testing or they will continue to pursue a recruit who needs to bump that up a bit.
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 1,259 Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    Does anyone have any sense of the ACT or SAT score they're looking for from sophomore testing?

    I think this will vary by school, and even coaches within a given school. 30/1400 in your example would be good for many, many schools. But, maybe not enough for Ivies and high academic D3s (depending on GPA, band allocation/constraints a given coach has, etc.) I expect many coaches will continue to recruit a student that is relatively strong in the sport and within striking distance of the minimum score needed for the school and/or program as there is time to get the score up.
  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase Registered User Posts: 483 Member
    I would argue that there is no such thing as a "sophomore score." Your score is your score. A score will likely improve after sophomore year, and if it does, the new improved score becomes your score. I never had a conversation with a coach during which a coach assumed that an early score would improve, but coaches have recommended that students retake tests for the purpose of improving scores. In other words, if an ACT score of 27 is not enough to get a coach's attention, I don't think a score of 27 as a sophomore will get that coach's attention.

    That said, it is always a comfort to a student to know that he or she will have the opportunity to improve with later testing, so I think testing early and often is the way to go.
  • AcersaccharumAcersaccharum Registered User Posts: 233 Junior Member
    I have a D19 who is committing to a mid-level D3 school with academic merit aid. She is absolutely making her choice for the college itself as it is the slower of 2 teams she has been focusing on, but she did an overnight and will be plenty happy there. We are very excited for her, but now have to gear up for her sister who has an entirely different set of criteria. So here is what we’ve learned that will help this next go around:
    1. D21 will get her standardized tests done sooner. With the NCAA change to allow recruiting in junior year, we will aim for tests in the fall next year.
    2. I will try to get her to think deeply about what she wants in a college/major (so, so hard for a 15 y/o!), and start unofficial visits this spring and summer.
    3. Use college NPC’s to see what we can afford without athletic aid.
    4. She already has an account on collegeswimming so she will need to fill out recruiting forms and send emails to coaches in early junior year. I will stay on top of her to make sure she checks her email!

    Swim times for sophomore year are very important, as are grades since this is where the conversation starts with coaches. I will also add that there are great schools and swim programs at all levels and merit aid is much more secure than athletic aid.

    It was actually quite hard to find schools that were great academic AND athletic fit. We tried casting a wide net and only ended up with applications to 4 schools, but all of them would have been happy to have her, and she liked them too.

    My girls started club swimming in 5th and 7th grade and we didn’t start talking seriously about college swimming until 9th/10th grade. The focus before that should be on having fun in the sport and being a good student. It’s all been worth it.
  • roper1313roper1313 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thank you to all who have posted on this thread. My S20 started swimming his freshman year in HS after playing hockey for since he was 4. I understand that he is very late to the game, but he and his swim coaches have discovered that he is a natural breast stroker and actually qualified for state his sophomore season. Heading into his JR season the coached have him pinned as a low to mid 1:00s in the 100 with sights on breaking a minute his senior season (perhaps a state championship). He's an endurance athlete and runs XC and T&F, so we are the rare exception to the usual swim club participant.

    Entering this season he has started to get an interest in swimming D3. His academics are very strong along with his ECs and we will be taking his first run at the ACT in December.

    How much influence will a coach have on the admission process? I'm a little concerned about his ACT score, as he's never excelled at standardized tests. Currently he has a 4.00 UW GPA, taking multiple APs (HS doesn't have a ton). As I mentioned his ECs are strong. He's been named captain for the 2019 XC season, student council, student class president (soph and jr), board member for one of the countries largest youth led food drives, DECA officer, DECA state champ, and 3rd place finisher, National participant, Key Club, teaches Sunday school, done mission work. His teacher recommendations will be 10/10s. I don't think he will be a STEM student, more B School or Public Policy/PoliSci with law school as the ultimate goal.

    I really just wanted to thank everyone for the great information and will monitor and post as the season progresses!!
  • ASKMotherASKMother Registered User Posts: 156 Junior Member
    @Acersaccharum and @makemesmart great info! S23 certainly has other interests - band/percussion (might pursue in HS), was on County Champs Soccer Team last year and intends to tryout again (but those try-outs are this week and we leave for HS State swim meet noon tomorrow!) ... and honestly he would be just as happy finding a career where he gets to try-out/critique new video games (so typical 13yo). He has been swimming rec league since 6 yo and club team since 8 yo, but also has played soccer, baseball and basketball through the years. Swimming is just what he excelled at with very little effort on his part. I so appreciate you all sharing your 'how we did it' - great for planning; we learned learned from my D18's college application season it CAN sneak up on you and the recruiting aspect will be foreign territory.
  • makemesmartmakemesmart Registered User Posts: 1,040 Senior Member
    As I stated that we are just getting into this process so am learning as I “write”. DS’ friend went to OV to a very strong D1 swim program (T30 college) without SAT/ACT scores, tho the test date was set at a few weeks later. That being said, having the test scores in hand is definitely a plus!

    If you have the collegeswimming website (the paying version), then you can select colleges that you are interested in learning more about, there are test score ranges for each school (break down by Math/EBRW), it also contains each school’s rooster, coaches contact info, etc. Lots of great info.

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,022 Senior Member
    You have to have a NCAA clearinghouse account to go on the D1 or D2 OV. The account doesn't have to be complete (and in fact can't be since the student won't have a final hs transcript), so I don't think test scores are required before the visit but a coach may require them.
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