Dan is a former NCAA DIII college swimmer with over 13 years of collegiate coaching experience at the DII and DIII levels. Dan is just one of many former college and professional athletes and coaches who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community has made it the largest and most successful collegiate athletic recruiting network in the country.
Men’s water polo is among the fastest growing sports in the United States. The NCAA saw a 12% increase in international water polo student-athletes between 2011 and 2016 at the Division I level, making for the largest growth that the NCAA has seen in any Division I level men’s sport. As the sport continues to grow, so will competition for roster spots on the NCAA’s 43 men’s water polo teams. This combined with the existing challenges that student-athletes face as they attempt to navigate the NCAA recruiting rules and calendar, search for the right college match and market themselves to college coaches, can make for a stressful and overwhelming recruiting process.
Luckily, NCSA recruiting experts have created a guide to the water polo recruiting process to help student-athletes through a stress-free recruiting journey.
NCAA Water Polo Recruiting Rules and Calendar
As a result of recent changes made to the NCAA recruiting rules, men’s water polo recruiting will likely begin earlier than it has in past years.
These changes are rooted in a 2017 NCAA study on the college recruiting experience that revealed a rapidly growing trend of early recruiting across the majority of NCAA-sponsored sports. Effective as of May 2019, communication between college coaches and student-athletes is prohibited until June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. The NCAA also changed the date that water polo recruits can start scheduling unofficial and official visits to after August 1 of their junior year.
To review a full list of the NCAA recruiting rules across each division level, visit our guide to the NCAA water polo recruiting rules and calendar.
Water Polo Recruiting Guidelines
Did you know that the college water polo course is 30 meters, while water polo courses at the high school level are only 25 meters? The two most important skills athletes must have to successfully adjust to the eight-meter difference are speed and swimming ability. While college water polo coaches do consider player stats, such as goals scored, ejections drawn and assists, it’s skills such as speed and swimming ability that coaches put the most emphasis on when evaluating recruits.
To see if you have what it takes to set yourself apart from the crowd of college-bound water polo athletes, check out our recruiting guidelines section, where we outline the experience level and skillset that college coaches look for at each division level.
The Recruiting Process
The water polo recruiting process starts long before college coaches can begin contacting recruits. Below is a look at steps you should be taking to prepare for the recruiting process as early as your freshman year:
- Research water polo programs: Start by identifying which of the 43 college water polo programs you feel are the best fit for you academically, athletically, financially and socially.
- Build a recruiting profile: College coaches search NCSA recruiting databases regularly to evaluate talent. Build a recruiting profile that college coaches can access to evaluate your stats and recruiting video. Create your free NCSA recruiting profile here,
- Create a recruiting video: College coaches typically start the evaluation process by reviewing recruiting video. To ensure that your recruiting video features the skills college coaches are looking for, visit our How to Get Recruited for Men’s Water Polo for a list of recruiting video tips by position.
- Attend water polo camps: What are the best water polo camps to attend? Find a list of 2019-20 water polo camps on the East and West Coast and in the Midwest here.
- Contact college coaches: College coaches cannot contact you until after June 15 after your sophomore year. In the meantime, show coaches that you are interested in their program by sending an introductory email. Learn how to write an introductory email.
If you play a position that is versatile and directly impacts scoring opportunities, like goalie or utility player, you are more likely to receive an athletic scholarship offer. But it takes more than just playing one of these positions to earn a scholarship. College coaches reserve their scholarship budget for elite-level all-star talent that can immediate impact the team’s growth and success in their first season.
College water polo programs have a small scholarship budget with the NCAA allowing just 4.5 full-ride equivalent scholarships per team each year at the Division I and Division II levels. This budget is even smaller when the program is not fully funded by the institution. As a result, coaches are more likely to divide their scholarship budget to award multiple athletes a partial scholarship, rather than full rides.
Read more: Men’s Water Polo Scholarships.
Top Ranked Men’s Water Polo Colleges
Where will you play collegiate water polo? Selecting a list of prospective schools to find your college match takes time, but with our Power Rankings, you can more easily find programs that meet your needs when it comes to size, location, cost and academics. View a complete list of colleges offering men’s water polo.