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Swim recruiting questions

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Replies to: Swim recruiting questions

  • iaparentiaparent Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    @roper1313 Definitely look at the times for the schools he is interested in as going off of individual state meet results does not give a full picture. For example a 1:00 100 breast in my state would not qualify for the state meet and just narrowly breaking 1:00 would place a boy in 30th place and the state champion is swimming sub :55. On the other hand in the state I grew up in a 1:00 would make the state final and be in the mix to win. I had a good friend that won 3 state championships over his junior and senior year and people could not understand why he didn't have college programs falling all over him but the reality was we were in a slow state and he was average at best and ultimately went to West Point and was a lower tier swimmer for them.
  • roper1313roper1313 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    @iaparent Any idea of the weight coaches put into time trend?? As I mentioned my son started only two seasons ago, so he's been cutting 10+ seconds over the last couple of years. I'm sure he will plateau at some point, but he's still a work in progress on turns and his start is terrible.

    Thanks for the perspective on times. We are well aware that our states swim times are slower than most.
  • AcersaccharumAcersaccharum Registered User Posts: 233 Junior Member
    @roper1313 I only know about women’s swimming but I guess that coaches may assume a general development trend for boys, however they are most excited to see a swimmer who has the times to score at conference. They are not looking for “projects”.

    You also asked about how much help a coach can give in admissions and that varies. In general, for D3, you need GPA/scores that are admissible without sports. If you are looking at very elite D3’s and you are a top recruit, many of those coaches can help, but it is different at every school. When you get to that point, ask questions here about the specific school or conference and you’ll get some great information.
  • kjs1992kjs1992 Registered User Posts: 98 Junior Member
    @ASKMother : I have a freshman swimming D3 at a top academic LAC. Happy to answer the last few questions:

    What would you have done differently during the recruiting/college selection process? -

    Honestly, nothing,really. I work in his HS and coach as well, so I'm lucky in that regard. We looked at one D1, a D2 and several D3's. We went in very realistic with our son's abilities both academically and athletically. We didn't overreach on either end. We also kept in mind that it's school before swimming. He's not going to this college to swim....he's getting a degree. If it all ended tomorrow, is this where he wanted to be???

    I let him tow the line after I initially threw the rope - he definitely needed a nudge at first and some help as far as what schools would fit what he was looking for academically and in a swim program. I agree with casting a wide net. Where he landed is not where we anticipated at all in the beginning. A LOT can change in just a matter of weeks with a high school junior! Keep an open mind.

    When the time comes, I would encourage (and insist) your child to do the emailing, calling, etc - not you. Sometimes it's necessary to set them up with a script to start, but the swimmer should really be doing the heavy work. We heard over and over again that just filling out the recruit form didn't really impress the coaches he talked to. They wanted to see continued communication on the part of the athlete - those are the kids they wanted to go after...the ones who really showed they were interested and invested in the process.

    And, if a school drops off your child's list, don't burn bridges - communicate and be kind. The coach at your school could leave and another you turned down could take that job. Happens all the time. Be respectful of the process.

    Also, keep in mind that while Collegeswimming.com is a great resource (I love it), you may need to delve even deeper than just the times. ie: how many of those kids are juniors/seniors and where will the need be (break out with the crystal ball haha..) when your child's class is up. I would ask your child's coach, too, for some insight. They can tell you where he/she should fit if they have the academic info. I've done that for many of my swimmers. It's a crazy game of musical chairs....

    Were your financial expectations realized for your recruit?

    Yes. We filled out the NPC on the school website, and they were spot on with what we received.

    What has been the biggest challenge for your collegiate swimmer once at school?

    He's adjusted well to the difference in training and coaching, but it is different. The biggest adjustment so far is this: at the top academic D3's (and college in general), managing the academics along with the athletic component is tough - I don't care if it's D1, 2 or 3. He has very little free time. And, kids get sick...without mom or dad around. We have had many, many text exchanges about that...and the stresses that come with that. As much as he'd been doubling, balancing HS, other extra stuff, it's still a HUGE adjustment when you're in college. But, the silver lining is....he loves school :)

    Best of luck!!!!
  • swimmom1922swimmom1922 Registered User Posts: 26 Junior Member
    DS19 is currently waiting on ED. He took ACTs in spring of Sophomore year.

    Academics was always a top priority and then finding the right fit. DS wanted a D3 LAC. We used collegeswimming.com and ran NPCs on college websites.

    We know a swimmer at a lower D1 who hardly has time to breathe. If she isn’t at practice in the pool or dryland, she’s at classes, labs, mandatory study sessions, or working the snack bar at sport events to pay for their winter training trip, while maintaining a certain GPA to keep her scholarship. Is that what your swimmer wants? Maybe yes, maybe no.

    Things we did right:

    DS went on 3 OVs at D3 schools by himself. He thought he didn’t care about how far away the school was located. On his first OV, there was a terror threat at one airport where they boarded the plane and left the gate early. On his second visit, his flight was delayed and he had to run to the light rail to transfer terminals to catch the bus that was taking him to campus. He applied to an LAC that doesn’t require a flight : )

    What we would do differently:

    What I would recommend is identifying colleges that would be a reach, match, and safety both academically AND athletically - which is easier said than done. But some D3 swim programs are getting faster, recruiting internationally, etc. and what looks like a match on paper might not be in reality.

    Try not to have a dream school.

    Think about whether DS would like to be a big fish in a small pond (maybe helping grow a program) or if he’s happy being a small fish in a big pond. Is your kid comfortable going from being both a star athlete and student to being neither at college?

    Fill out recruiting questionnaires and contacting assistant coaches as unless you are a top recruit, no-one is going to contact you.

    Make a new email account that you both can access. This isn’t necessary but I would have liked to know who was contacting DS and making sure DS was replying in a timely manner.

    It is really hard for a teenager to get an accurate read on a coaches interest even if they’ve been invited on an OV. If you are a top recruit, you will know it. But if you aren’t, the coach will string your kid along, in case his top recruits go elsewhere. Others have likened it to a game of musical chairs. But I have found that it is hard for teenagers to read the nuances in what a coach is saying. DS would get off the phone and be pretty positive but when he would relay what the coach actually said, I would find it not so positive. Who knows whether that is wishful thinking on DS’s part or my experience reading between what is and isn’t said.

    We are thrilled with where he has applied but it is definitely not where we started the process.

    Good luck! It’s a wild ride.
  • iaparentiaparent Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    I agree coaches are not really looking for projects but that said would not ignore time trends. Things have changed so much since I was at a top division 1 program. When I was in school our coaches would routinely take a few "projects" every year. Typically swimmers (or divers) that had all of the measurables but were coming from areas/schools without top quality coaching available, the coaches saw the potential.

    Today it looks like those days are gone and you need to be a proven commodity, especially on the men's side of the sport. Given financial and roster limitations there just is not space for the project any longer. I had an athlete that was incredibly fortunate to walk on to a top 5 program last year and he was very much a project. This was his dream school without athletics so to have the chance to walk on was the cherry on top. He loved the team, the training, etc. but when fall of this year (his soph year) rolled around he was cut. He was emerging from the "project" status and looked to be able to contribute this season but they received a last minute commitment from a recruit in his event and there was no longer the roster spot so he was cut. For him it works out as he is at his academic dream school but if I had gone simply for the sport aspect he would be miserable. Hence all of the discussion around making sure the academic fit is right because the team can all go away tomorrow.
  • makemesmartmakemesmart Registered User Posts: 1,040 Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    A good article that is pretty relavent to our discussions: https://swimswam.com/the-ever-changing-face-of-college-recruiting/
  • AcersaccharumAcersaccharum Registered User Posts: 233 Junior Member
    ^^ I just had a little panic attack reading that article! My D19 doesn’t even have all her EA acceptances yet and it seems we are already late to start the process with D21! I need a reality check. The article makes it sound like current sophomores and juniors may be getting the short end of the recruiting stick this year. D21 will not be a top recruit, but she is higher academically and athletically than her sister and I feel like I will be starting the learning curve all over again. I think the article is directed at the highest recruits, so hopefully her match schools will still have roster spots into fall of senior year.
  • jmtabbjmtabb Registered User Posts: 208 Junior Member
    wow, that article makes me feel like we were the last of an era.

    We’re seeing the trends in the SwimSwam article for the superstars on my daughter’s club team, but not so much for the kids one step below. But that might be because this is the transition year, might be because we’re looking at DIII teams, and might just be the teams that my daughter has ended up interested in.

    I will admit that I’m eagerly awaiting decision day in a couple of weeks and are hoping that we’re done with this process then. This has been a crazy year with all of this. Sure wish my kid could have fallen in love with a program and school that could commit more to her in the fall so this waiting period was less uncertain.
  • RW1RW1 Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    I truly do not believe the statement "Coaches are not looking for projects" D is 4.0 16 ap (all 5s) #1 in class 4.0 Act 1 time take 35.0 (36,36,35,33) NMF. She repetitively has gone to Us Sectionals and YMCA nationals with individual times in 50 and 100 free ( which are good for relays).......She has ZERO interest..... Yes she has filled out questionnaires .. Yes she contacted coaches....NO she is not an idiot on the phone( she won the state speech competition )....She is 5 feet 0" and all coaches state " Your technique is perfect, but there is no where to go"... The best she got is you can be on the team if you get into the school. She is obviously looking into NMF free schools. So sad that a 6ft lazy kid with time significantly worse time than D ( extreme grit determination and gifted) gets all the interest. In fact 3 schools told D they don't even look if your under 5 ' 10.
  • iaparentiaparent Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    @RW1 I think you are misinterpreting my opinion or we are seeing different sides of the same coin. I would agree that your daughter will have a tough time garnering interest based off of the "there is no where to go" statements. If her technique is flawless and she has had high quality coaching and her times are not already at the top of the college team's athletes her ceiling is limited when compared to someone, with the same times she has, that does not have the flawless technique. Technique changes can raise an swimmers ceiling. An athlete with good times but poor technique is not necessarily a project to a coach but a coachable athlete that can improve, there is a difference.

    Recruiting is tough for timed sports as the time is what jumps out but the bigger piece is where can the athlete go in the future. Time gives perspective and I look back on my college team. One swimmer started out at a small, midwest directional as his age group times were nothing great. After a year of better coaching and stroke improvement he transferred to my top 10 team and went on to be a multiple time NCAA All-American. On the other hand, the year he transferred in we also signed a world record holder coming off of a bronze medal in the Olympics (where he lost his world record). This swimmer never improved in any event but it didn't matter he was something like an 8 time NCAA Champion. He didn't need to have a higher ceiling but the transfer did.

    The added complexity, as I mentioned before, is the roster limitations men's programs are under due to Title IX. There is no room to take the swimmer with no/limited upside or one that needs to drop large amounts of time because there is always someone out there that can make an immediate impact.
  • RW1RW1 Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    Thank-you, I get your point. None-the-less, I think its sad that drive and motivation are underappreciated. I am sure D will go to a fantastic school, join a swim team and make NCAAs. We'll see.
  • AcersaccharumAcersaccharum Registered User Posts: 233 Junior Member
    @RW1 I think that drive and motivation are very important at some schools, and they will see the value your D brings. I know a young woman with similar stats who is a super star on her small D3 team at an elite college. In her own right she will have a tremendous future, but she is really just swimming for fun now. She is an inspiration to my D and the embodiment of “picking the right college”, but I don’t think she attracted much attention from college coaches except for the fact that she would do more than her part to keep up the team GPA.

    I am not quite sure about how much women progress in the sport in college, as they are mostly done growing at 18, but men still have lots of muscle to add. Even so, kids I know have been dropped from recruiting rosters for not being quite there yet. I don’t think coaches really want to take a risk on lazy kids either. If the coach doesn’t see the right attitude on a recruiting trip, that lazy kid will get dropped too.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,040 Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    Sometimes, size matters. When my daughter was swimming at about age 7, she got up on the box and then the kid next to her did - and was twice the size! Parents at the other end (including me) were laughing because it was such a comic picture. That kid was half way down the pool before mine hit the water. Missy Franklin was in that same age group that year. She was also twice the size of mine with enormous feet. Thankfully, she was in a different club group.

    My daughter played another sport in college, and size did matter. She played D2 but they sometimes played D1 teams in fall ball. Those D1 kids were big.
  • MomtothreegirlsMomtothreegirls Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    edited November 2018
    Just wanted to weigh in on the conversation on a couple of matters. First the background: my daughter swims for a top academic D3 LAC. She is a significant contributor to the team and has always made the championship team, but is not one of the absolute top stars, which is exactly where she wanted to be when looking at teams in high school. She loves her experience thus far on the team and is very happy with her choice, both academically and athletically. Her ED decision was based on academic and social "fit" first and foremost. I told her to choose a school where, if something happened and she couldn't swim there, she would be happy. I feel she chose wisely.

    She didn't start club swimming until 7th grade, and even then only swam for a fairly relaxed swim club. She played lax, tried out crew, but ultimately decided to concentrate on swimming in 10th grade. If you had asked her in 9th grade if she were going to swim in college, she would have laughed and told you she didn't have the times.

    Do coaches take chances on developing swimmers? Interestingly, her coach spoke with her about this at her preseason meeting with him this year. In her case, things worked out well for the coach: her times started dropping dramatically junior year of high school, and have continued to drop dramatically in college. And several other coaches told us during the recruiting process that she was an attractive recruit because she had decent times yet had never trained intensely - there was definitely room to improve. But for each recruit like my daughter, there's another recruit who never swam intensely in high school and then can't deal with the intensity of college-level swimming. So some coaches may take this chance and others understandably won't. In my daughter's case he didn't take a huge chance on her because her stats were so high she didn't need much assistance (if any) to get through admissions.
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