Jason Smith is a former NCAA DIII athlete and college coach at all three division levels. Jason is just one of many former college and professional athletes, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful collegiate athletic recruiting network in the country.
Men’s swimming is a sport where everything is centered on efficiency, focus, shedding seconds and posting the best possible time. However, the college recruiting process for men’s swimming doesn’t exactly work like that, and potential recruits will have to do more than just achieve fast times in the pool to earn a difficult-to-secure roster spot on a college team. To provide insight on the college recruiting process, we here at NCSA put together the Men’s College Swimming Recruiting Guide, which potential swimming recruits should read and reference. In this article, you’ll find some key takeaways from the guide.
Recruiting rules and calendar
Like several other college sports, Division I and Division II men’s swimming coaches can’t contact potential recruits until June 15th after their sophomore year of high school. Up until then, top programs will be scouting athletes by watching results, searching prospect databases and sending non-recruiting materials, such as questionnaires, camp information or non-athletic information. For NAIA and Division III coaches, there are no restrictions on communication. With that said, most coaches will wait until junior year to contact recruits and most verbal commitments will happen junior or senior year. Read more about the recruiting rules and calendar.
Unlike some other sports, men’s swimming has pretty simple recruiting guidelines based on times for different events. At the top level, most times are related to the Division 1 National Championship qualifying standards that the NCAA publishes annually. Futures Championship standards and Speedo Sectionals standards are also used across different division levels.
NCSA has compiled guidelines for college swimming times which potential recruits can reference in the men’s swimming recruiting guide. They are broken up by different competition tiers and events. Here is a sample:
- Tier 1 (elite Power 5 DI):
- 19 and under
- Tier 2 (Power 5 DI, Strong mid-major DI, elite DII/DIII):
- Tier 3 (elite NAIA, mid–strong DII/DIII, low to mid-major D1):
- Tier 4 (low–average DII/DIII, low–strong NAIA):
- Tier 1 (elite Power 5 DI):
Scholarships and financial aid
Athletes and families can potentially find athletic scholarships for men’s swimming at the NCAA Division I and Division II levels, as well as at the NAIA and junior college levels. At the Division III level, there are no athletic scholarships, but coaches can help recruits secure merit- and need-based aid. Men’s swimming is an equivalency sport, meaning that coaches can break up the allotted number of athletic scholarships and distribute them among the roster as they see fit. If a program is fully funded, there is a limit of 9.9 scholarships per Division I team, 8.1 scholarships per Division II team, 8 scholarships per NAIA team and 15 scholarships per junior college team. Read more about men’s swimming scholarships.
Men’s swimming camps
Attending swim camps is a great way to improve technique and potentially level up in your swimming skills. However, there is a wide range of swimming camps available and there are several factors athletes and families should consider before picking one. This includes what skill level the camp is meant for, how much your family can budget for camps, how far away the camp is, whether the camp is located at a school you’ve been in contact with and what the duration of the camp is. Read more about camps and see a full list of men’s swimming camps.
Colleges with men’s swimming
There are roughly 500 swimming colleges across all the major athletic divisions: NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III, as well as NAIA and junior colleges. Though that may seem like a lot, earning a roster spot on a college team is still difficult, with around 7 percent of high school swimmers earning a college roster spot. Additionally, recruits will want to find the college that offers them the best athletic, academic, financial and social fit so that they have the best chance at staying on the roster all four years and having a great college experience. Read more about swimming colleges and see a full list of teams.