Dual sport athlete

Just wondering how to approach recruiting with S25 who hasn’t decided what sport to pursue in college. His sports are swimming and track (he is a sprinter). Right now we are focusing on using athletics to buoy his admission chances at D3 schools since he had a mediocre freshman year, but is doing great now. Do coaches look down on kids that pursue recruiting for more than one sport, i.e. should he choose one and if he changes his mind, walk on in the other sport? Which sport is going to get him more of an admissions bump - track or swimming? And lastly, is it possible to do both at an academically rigorous school? He is looking at schools like RPI, Stevens, Case, Trinity U, Emory.

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Very time consuming! Not sure about the logistics. Which does he enjoy more? Is he invited to, or qualifying for regional meets in either sport? Part of relay teams?

He likes both equally. He placed 4th in two individual events at the state high school swim meet this year. He just shifted from middle distance to sprints in track and posted a 11.0 in his third attempt ever at the open 100m. I think this is a very good time for a brand new 16yo sprinter. So he’s still exploring and trying to figure out which sport he prefers. All he knows right now is that he wants to continue with something in college.

That’s marvelous. Continue on, and opportunties will reveal themselves. He may have choices then next year whether to continue off season with one or the other.
I would think he’d be reaching out to coaches in both sports at colleges of interest.

I would think some colleges will make it clear what is viable, since swimming and indoor track would overlap.

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Regarding balancing academics and DIII sports, one sport is very difficult, so no, I don’t see doing two.
An injury, or lack of competition opportunities, are other considerations.
Some athletes find club sports at their state universities offer enough challenge yet allows time for demanding academic schedules, internships, jobs.

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I myself was a 3-sport athlete for my senior year at a top-12 LAC. XC/swimming/track. I graduated with a 2.99, I’m sure my sports participation affected my GPA. I probably should have quit swimming because I had lost interest, but I was a captain. It seems like college multi-sport is not done much anymore unless it’s XC/track or football/track.

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I don’t know anything about track so can’t help you there.

I also don’t know how great a swimmer your son is, but Emory is the top D3 team in the country. The swimmers are D1 fast and the coach seems to run a program as close to a D1 program as he can, so I imagine the expectation would be some level of year round commitment.

While all are great schools, Emory also stands out in terms academics. A high SAT/ACT score along with high GPA will be necessary for consideration.


I do know kids who have played multiple sports in college, but they were the exception — and likely exceptional students.

I knew multiple football players at Carnegie Mellon who also ran track. One even did both, plus ROTC.

I know a current student at a DII school who plays volleyball, basketball, and graduated early. She is a star on both teams. Her major isn’t rigorous and this is a state school, but I still find what she has done to be remarkable.

So, it’s possible…but it doesn’t happen often and would require the cooperation of both coaches…which adds another layer of complexity to an already difficult recruiting process.

The one nice thing you have going for you is that he has two sports where the focus is on time, so his recruitability at specific schools is easier to discern.

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11 flat FAT is a really good start for a sophomore boy.

I’d let the season play out and see where things go. If he can get in a few 200s and maybe a 4, or at least a 4x4 split, you’ll have a good idea where he stands.

Two sport athlete is more common in the sports you mention, or with distance athletes in the combination you pursued yourself. It’s theoretically possible but I don’t think would be much advantage in track as you’d miss the indoor season.

More practically, most elite athletes these days really don’t want to be almost as good as they can be in their best sport, so they focus. Swimming would take away from sprint training so I think it’s unlikely that’d be the preference if track becomes the priority.

Good luck and enjoy the season!


In regard to your question as to which sport has more pull, if a coach wants to offer a slot to your son, it should be about equal. I suspect the academic standards for men’s swimming and men’s track will be about the same for most schools, but there might be a little more leeway for track sprinters.

It will probably be difficult to work recruiting for both sports at the same time. DIII swim season ends next week, which coincides pretty well with the end of indoor track season. If a track coach wants to use admissions pull for an athlete, they will want the athlete available for indoor season. A swim coach might be willing to let an athlete go in the spring to do track, however.

One thing that might not be obvious, but will be a problem, is when your athlete have a chance to rest, recover, and catch up on academics? Swimmers will have a few weeks completely off at the end of their season, and have more flexibility in the spring. Track sprinters have a build up in the fall, but will be going hard from now until finals. The distance runners are in-season fall, winter, and spring, but coaches account for this and build some downtime into their year long plans.


Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I guess we will see how things shake out over the coming months. You all brought up a lot of things I hadn’t considered yet.

There are many examples of girls playing multiple sports other than XC/track or football/track…

A friend’s daughter entered as a two sport athlete , field hockey in the fall, lax in the spring. She couldn’t keep it up and had to drop field hockey.

My daughter played lax and while they did have ‘fall ball’ it wasn’t nearly the amount of time needed for the real season. When possible, she tried to take the harder (for her) classes in the fall. That might have been a long lab or (again for her) a writing class with lots of papers due weekly.

I agree that sometimes the student just needs a few weeks to catch up on school work or sleep. My daugther worked out a lot but that was on her own time, not the coach’s schedule in the fall.