Sophomore swimmer — too early?

Kid is thinking about swimming in college. He has achieved one AAA time in USA Swimming “motivational times.” AA in another event. He does not swim club, only high school. Would it be silly to set up a quick hello with a coach at a D3 school we are visiting next month while we are there or would that be jumping the gun.

It would not be jumping the gun. Get out in front of recruiting as much as you can. Communicate early and often with coaches. I would send an email with times and perhaps gpa and request a meeting. Just be flexible and understanding if the coach is busy with the team when you visit.


D3 programs are permitted to speak to sophomores so it is definitely NOT too early to reach out via email. Make sure to include PRs, GPA, and HS grad year (2025, correct?). They may or may not be looking at your grad year yet as D3 schools may still be signing 23s and/or communicating more heavily with 24s. So don’t be put off if they can’t meet with you if it is a school you are really interested in. Keep updating via email occasionally with new PRs.

One more piece of advice since it sounds like you are early in the process- cast a wide net. Look at a lot of different schools in each division.

1 Like

It isn’t too early to reach out to D-III. A couple of things to keep in mind:

We’re entering conference and NCAA championship season so coaches will be very busy right now. If they’ve got time, many coaches would be happy to show you around on an unofficial visit. Don’t ask, don’t get.

USA motivational times aren’t terribly meaningful at the collegiate level. Check his times against those required to score in conference (top 16 in prelims at '22 champs) and against NCAA D-III cuts ( At many programs, it will be tough to generate much interest without these standards; although, team speed can vary wildly.


Here are the latest NCAA cut times. Note, those actually invited to NCAA’s are typically faster than the listed B-cut.

Thank you! These are all good considerations. I will have him get in touch with the coach. Looks like conference wraps up immediately before we arrive, so might be a good time to sneak in a visit!

I would also caution that it can be difficult for a high school-only swimmer to go up against club swimmers in vying for college spots. It does happen, and I believe there is a school for every swimmer to swim in college, but be realistic and strategic with the teams you are contacting.

Junior year will be the most important year to show time drops because that’s when the recruiting season will pick up full steam.

Swimcloud is a great resource to see if your times will attract any interest from teams.

1 Like