Men's College Swimming Class of 2022

Hi,

Just looking to connect with other future college swim parents, and get some information. I feel like recruiting has been pretty limited so far for us, and wondering if others are having a similar experience. He’s had a few phone calls/zooms from schools we’ve reached out to, and one in person meeting with a D2 coach while we were visiting campus. His top choice has not replied at all to two emails he sent (one before our visit to campus and one after) which worries me.

My son is hoping to swim D1 or D2 in Fall of '22. We are in the NY metro area, and while he wants to go away, he’s not looking too far (NY, NJ, CT). So far we are considering Manhattan, Monmouth, Iona, Pace, Southern CT, and Wagner. Maybe SUNY Binghamton, but I think that would be an academic reach for sure.

I want to make sure we’re being realistic. His GPA is a 3.7 unweighted, and so far his best SAT is an 1190, 660 Math, 530 Verbal (taking it one more time in June to hopefully get the 1200+). He is expected to have 30 college credits upon graduation, dual enrollment, not AP. Mostly classes in Business, Math and History. He plans on majoring in Business.

As far as swim, he’s qualified for sectionals as a Sophomore and Junior in 5 events, mostly distance free and fly. His power score is a 36 on swimcloud.

So I guess my questions are:

Is D1 realistic for him, or should we focus on more D2 schools?
If he can even get into D1, will he likely get any athletic scholarship?

Any and all input would be appreciated! Thanks!

D20 swam for several years and is attending a D1 school, but she is not swimming and did not go through the recruiting process. Any info I have, I have gotten from parents of her teammates or preliminary research of my own before we started the application process.

The one thing I will suggest is to start with researching his times along with times for various athletic conferences and current swimmers on teams. Just because he qualified for sectionals doesn’t mean he is competitive enough for spots on specific teams, or that the team has a need for his event for this recruiting cycle. Also, swimming usually offers very few scholarships, and for comparative little money. A D1 team can offer 9.9 scholarships according to NCAA rules and, often, schools divide that number evenly among all team members (average team size is 29 or so); D2 can offer 8.1 scholarships with a slightly smaller team.

Thanks so much. Yes, I have looked into the number of scholarships by Division and compared his times to the current roster. And I do realize that they slice them up quite a bit. I’m not expecting tens of thousands of dollars, but even 5 -10k on top of academic money would go a long way. We happen to be young parents (I’m 39), and even though both my husband and I have good jobs, which disqualifies us from need based aid, we certainly haven’t been able to save enough to afford 40k+ a year. I really don’t know how people do it!

In most cases, I found his times put in him in the top 4 for the team or better. However, one coach who wrote him back provided a list of times to be considered, that seemed out of line with the swimmers on the team currently. They did say they would consider him as a walk on, and he would get considerable academic money from this particular school more than likely.

I totally understand if his times simply aren’t good enough for some teams, but when they ask for times from recruits that no one on their team currently has, I find that odd. I’m curios if others have had the same experience.

The coach talking about your son being a walk on candidate is basically telling you he doesn’t have the ability to offer any financial support. Some schools do not have the money available to fund the NCAA scholarship number. A fully funded program CAN pay for up to 9.9 scholarships but a partially funded program may only be able to fund 1 or 2 and they divide the number up among upperclassmen. Every team will operate differently and just because they are allowed to offer a certain amount, doesn’t mean they have it to offer in the first place. Perhaps there is an option to get financial support with the more competitive times requested but again, that can vary by team and how the coach decides to manage his resources.

I know a family with 2 swimmers, one is going to be a first year at one of the schools you mentioned and the other will be a junior at a different school you mentioned. One gets nothing for swimming (power score of 45) and the other is gets a very tiny amount, well under $5K, with a power score of 39. Sadly, the money just isn’t there for the vast majority of programs.

My daughter has been contacted by mostly D3 coaches so the financial component is a bit different. The overarching theme regarding times I hear is to look at the finals times from the teams conference meet. If your son has that time he’s good.

I have a friend whose son swims at Pace and another at Monmouth and they’re both quite happy.

Typically at this point (class of 2022) the swim coaches are still trying to land the top guys. As the process goes on and they miss on their top targets they will look to fill the roster with guys that aren’t as fast. Unless you are a top target the recruiting process can go well into your senior year. A senior friend of my kid on his club team just committed DII in April of this year. If you look at the list of commits on swim cloud there are many seniors who commit late into their senior year. Also the top kids typically will get the most scholarship money offered. If your son is 4th fastest on the teams he is interested in he has a decent chance of getting a roster spot but he may not be a priority at this point. You also need to look at his events and where the coach may have a hole to fill with graduating seniors or weak spots on the team. As a generalization a 36 on swim cloud should get him a spot on a D2 or D3 team. D1 might be a stretch or a walkon opportunity. I would check on swim cloud at prior years and see where kids with his score ended up swimming and that will give you a good idea of the types of teams that might be interested. Also, D3 schools while they can’t offer athletic scholarships might be more generous with other academic scholarships if they really want him as a swimmer. Coaches also want to recruit swimmers with potential so hopefully his times are still improving. If he can get his score into the 20’s that would open up more d1 opportunities. Maybe he can swim some short course meets this summer? Long course times don’t seem to be as important to coaches. With all that being said, with covid you had a lot of kids redshirt and get an extra year of eligibility so there are going to be even fewer spots and less scholarship money for 2021 2022 and maybe 2023. My son usually sent 2 emails to his favorite schools and followed up if he went a best time or did something noteworthy in the pool. He ended up committing to a mid major D1 in state school and did receive a partial scholarship so that made it affordable for us.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into it from that perspective. Glad to hear of they are happy at both of those schools. We very much liked the coach and facilities at Pace when we visited. While I realize there is a certain allure and perks to swimming D1, sometimes D2 gives more opportunity in terms of finances and ability to contribute in competition.

Thanks for the insight. I think you are right in that he’s sort of on the cusp of D1/D2, so we’ll just have to see what happens I guess. I just thought he would get some more responses, even if they’re not all positive. But the ghosting just drives me crazy.

Naturally, he’s hoping to improve his times, but its so hard with all the Covid restrictions. Besides his Varsity Championship meets, Sectionals was the only Club meet he’s had since the pandemic started. There have been team time trials, but we all know it’s not the same and when you only have a few minutes rest between events, you’re not going to do as well as you would in a typically structured meet. I know a lot of kids are in the same bot though, so fair is fair.
Hopefully real meets this summer. Fingers crossed.

And Congrats you your son on the D1 commitment & scholarship!

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Yea. The ghosting is annoying. Especially from coaches after you’ve had an initial discussion. A quick email to the kid about why they are not being recruited anymore would be great especially so that they can move on. I feel that it sends the message to the kid that ghosting is acceptable when they are contacted by a coach from a school they are not interested in. One tip. If he is not getting a response from a coach at a school he really wants to go to it is worth emailing a different coach on the team. Most teams have an assistant coach who is a designated recruiting coordinator. Sometimes they are more likely to respond. Another thing my son did was apply and get accepted to the schools he wanted to swim at even before being offered a spot on the team. He was surprised by some of the academic offers that were made to him and the coaches were more likely to have a conversation after he was admitted. It shows he is really interested and not wasting their time. Good luck!

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S21 just went through this process. Persistence pays off, keep emailing the coaches even if they don’t respond. Have you involved his swim coach yet? Often they’ll call the college coach also.
It’s important to compare championship times and not dual/tri meet times. Often they aren’t tapered so yes, the season times will look slower to what the coaches want.
Swim Coaches are looking for 2-3 good races, that they can score at regional/champion meets at. Start focusing on what they can be. A good 200 fly in invaluable! Sectional cuts are good, but aim for a higher cut (National/Futures) this summer and that will grab a coaches attention.
It’s a long and non linear process, but a fun one none the less. Doors we thought were closed open back up and vise versa. Cast a wide net!
In the end S21 didn’t take any offers because he had his heart set on a school he could only get a walk on spot for. (He wasn’t fast enough for a recruiting spot) I had a lot of trouble supporting his crazy decision, but by some insane miracle it did work for him in the end and he’ll swim there in the fall.
Good luck!

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Thanks! It’s just good to hear from other people who have recently gone through this. 200 Fly is one of his favorites, and he just dropped 2 seconds at sectionals, so that’s good to hear! But, National/Future is a stretch. Maybe not impossible, but we’ll have to see. He had a very slow start to this season in the fall coming off the pandemic, and then lost his pool again this winter bc Covid- and finally just got to the point we’re he’s finally starting to drop time again in the last couple of months. I’m hoping consistent practice and finally attending meets will help a lot this summer. But I worry because now it’s all long course times. Hopefully he starts to really drop time in the coming months.

We can certainly ask his coach to reach out too. Wasn’t sure if it was too early for that. I don’t want to annoy them either.

Unfortunatly, his favorite school so far has the most competitive team we’re looking at. He’s certainly got the grades for it and should get a good academic package, but I’m thinking more and more it’s a walk on scenario.

So I think he really has to decide if he wants to be on the better team, and walk on, or if he wants to swim for a less competitive team and make a real impact.

The other issue is distance from our home. He wants to be under 3 hours, and not anywhere too urban. When you’re 30 minutes outside of NYC that doesn’t leave a ton of options.

I have a feeling this will be a rollercoaster much like you said…

Within 3 hours of NYC: Bard, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, Marist, Skidmore (maybe pushing it), Williams, SUNY schools. Fordham, Hofstra.

Perhaps just a bit further: Connecticut College, Yale, Trinity, Wesleyan, Amherst, U Mass Amherst, the Boston schools, Pennsylvania/New Jersey schools.

I actually think there are a lot of schools within 3 hours of NYC. I am sure he has other criteria; if you share them perhaps people can make suggestions (if you would like, of course).

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I think the big questions to think about are whether or not to chase swimming scholarship money or whether or not to look for academic merit money at schools where there may be a walk on opportunity.

The hardest part is going to be finding swim scholarships for a “good” swimmer, or academic merit for a 3.7 UW/1200 SAT, with a business major, within the radius from home. I think you need to prioritize his wish list/financial aid needs and go from there. If you decide the finances aren’t a priority, that opens up other options. Ditto if the radius gets bigger.

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Thanks so much! We actually considered a few of these like Marist (heard from several people that they HATED the coach), but crossed them off for one reason or another. And Hofstra is women only as far as I know, unless that has changed.

Unfortunately, we live on Long Island, so Boston takes closer to 4/5 hours for us as does some parts of PA. Getting through the city pretty much takes an hour, so think more like 2 hours outside of NYC max, but not urban…Ugh my kid isn’t easy.

I’m totally open to suggestions.

At this point he’s kind of hung up on D1 and D2 only. Swim is really a big thing for him, but not so much that he has to be on the “best” team, but I think he just really wants it to be a big part of his experience. He wants to get along well with his teammates, coaches, have that family feel. I know that’s sort of intangible, but that’s what he’s in search of. He also wants to compete, and contribute to the team and not just be on a team to say he swam for them.

He’s gotten some real good vibes from 2 coaches so far, so that’s great, but no visits with the team yet since both of them weren’t doing in person until after graduation. He has been offered official visits for the fall though…both D2 schools.

He’s also looking at mostly small/medium size schools. Likes the idea of smaller ratio, and none or few lecture classes. He’s a good student, but has to work for it. It doesn’t come easy.

And honestly price is a factor for sure. So, if I don’t think he can get a half decent academic scholarship, I really don’t want to look and have him fall in love, only to say we can’t do it.

Thanks again helpingmom40. And for sure, I know it’s like a needle in a haystack to find that perfect fit. Based on some of the feedback here, I think we should focus more on the Northeast Conference, if we go D1. His times do align with top swimmers in that conference, more than the MAAC. Division 2 seems to be a better fit for the most part, but within our radius and not urban, there’s not a lot of choices. I may have to convince him to consider Brooklyn. Both LIU and St. Francis would be a good fit for him time wise.

What about Fairfield University? You can maybe cut the drive down if you take the ferry?

We thought about Fairfield. It’s been on/off the list a few times, but the price is high (67k!), and at least according to their net calculator, he wouldn’t get a lot of money academically. Pace has a similar, although still 5k less, cost but he already qualifies for a lot more academic scholarship there.

We have been through this process twice now, daughter swam mid major D1, her power index was in the low 30’s, see received about 3000/yr in athletic money and large merit money, but woman’s college swimming is a totally different ball game than men, they have more roster spots and more $, the roster spots are important in men’s swimming if you are looking to for a walk on spot, those are not unlimited. You have to make sure you are clarifying with the coach you are a preferred walk on with assured spot, not just show up in fall and hope they still have room on team. My son, 2021 will be swimming this fall D1 on one of the power 5 conferences, his power index is around 13, and he has summer junior times. He has large merit and athletic money which was needed with out of state tuition costs. But his experience, whether simply due to covid affects on athletics, or just being a guy, was brutal compared to his sister, limits in roster spots are going to be an issue due to the extra year of eligibility granted by NCAA so make sure you know what kind of commitment you are or are not getting from a coach. And yes it is very typical for a coach to have recruiting minimum standards that is seems few on the current team meet… Hard to explain or understand. It also depends on what type of stroke you swimmer specializes in, swimmers who can contribute to relays are a bigger draw for coaches than those who are distance or 200 strokes other than free style. NLI signing period for swimming opens in late November but continues throughout the year after that, my son was expelled to sign on opening day but which is typical for the competitive conferences, but most mid major D1 and D2 programs usually have later in senior year recruit signing. Preferred walk on’s will not generally sign a NLI as you must be offered athletic money for a NLI to come into play, but some schools will offer a small amount, like just book money for preferred walk on’s so they are able to have a signing. Remember though, without a signed letter of intent, both the coach/school and your son only have a verbal agreement, which can be broken by either side. This happens more when you have a coaching change at a school, but also sometimes happens when a school makes contact and moves forward with late committing international swimming athletes whose process is different than your typical US high school athlete. D2 swimming is full of international swimmers. Remember also that there are some NAIA schools out there as well that can also offer $ and allow a swimmer to progress and then transfer to D1/D2.

Thanks @leennp for all the information. It does seem like there is a big difference between the mens/womens process. Our hope is not to walk on, not so much because of scholarship money, but more because I think he wants to be on a team where he can score and contribute. Although, money always helps too! I will keep the idea of an “assured spot” if we end up going that route though.

We switched gears a bit and reached out to a few schools based on his ability to score in that conference based on the most recent Conference meet and his times. We got an immediate response from 2 of the 3 schools, so that’s promising.

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