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Which women’s college swimming program is right for you? With a total of 627 women’s swimming programs across the three NCAA divisions, the NAIA and the NJCAA and CCCAA, this isn’t an easy question to answer. It’s also just one of many questions you’ll find yourself asking during the college recruiting process.
While only you can decide what swimming program is right for you, NCSA can help you through the decision-making process with our guide to women’s college swimming recruiting.
NCAA Swimming Recruiting Rules and Calendar
The NCAA established a new set of recruiting rules for the 2019-2020 season that may change a decade-long trend of later recruiting in college swimming. Rather than waiting until senior year, college coaches believe that student-athletes will begin committing to programs as juniors, now that communication between coaches and athletes is permitted beginning June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. Earlier commitments mean that student-athletes and their families need to prepare for recruiting, as scholarship money will diminish earlier in the process.
Swimming Recruiting Times
Do you have what it takes to swim for an NCAA women’s swimming program? NCSA’s team of swimming experts created a guide to college swimming recruiting times based on qualifying times for major swim meets and a strong understanding of college coaches’ expectations at each division levels. For example, most elite Division I women’s swimming recruits can swim the 100 Freestyle in 47.3 seconds, compared to swimmers at the Division II and Division III levels who clock in between 49.9 and 50.9 seconds.
Visit NCSA’s guide to college swimming recruiting times to see what division level you are best suited for based on your current swim times.
The Recruiting Process
June 15 after your sophomore year may be when college coaches can begin contacting you, but your college recruiting process starts long before this date. Below is a list of steps all student-athletes and their families should take leading up to June 15:
- Researching swimming programs: Women’s college swimming programs are offered at more than 550 four-year colleges and universities. Your first step in the recruiting process is to research these programs to build a list of prospective schools. Here is a comprehensive list of colleges with women’s swimming.
- Build a recruiting profile: To increase your visibility and exposure to college coaches, create a strong recruiting profile that coaches can reference to evaluate your swim times and academic stats. Create a free NCSA recruiting profile.
- Create a highlight video: College coaches aren’t there to evaluate your technique at swim practice and they won’t always be at competitions where you swim a best time. Luckily, you can capture your technique and performance at swim meets in a highlight video for college coaches to review. Learn how to make a highlight video.
- Attend swim camps: Competitive swim camps are a great way for you to improve your reaction time off the block, stroke technique, transitions and race finish. When hosted by a college swim program, these camps also serve as an opportunity for you to explore campus and the facilities. Find a swim camp near you.
- Contacting college coaches: You won’t hear from college coaches interested in recruiting you until after June 15 of your sophomore year, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out to express interest in a college swimming program. This is your guide to writing a recruiting letter.
How to Get a Swimming Scholarship
Women’s college swimming is extremely competitive, so you’ll need to be proactive when pursuing an athletic scholarship. While the NCAA sets a limit on how many full-ride equivalent scholarships each team can award, not every college swimming program has a fully funded scholarship budget. Whether a college coach is awarding a full ride or partial scholarship funding, they prioritize student-athletes who have the potential to score the team the most points during dual meets and the end-of-season conference meet. Do your research and talk to college coaches to determine what scholarship opportunities are available at your prospective schools.
If you’re not ready for a four-year college just yet, the NJCAA and CCCAA institutions offer women’s swimming programs and scholarships. After two years, you can transfer to an NCAA or NAIA school and try for a scholarship package.
Read more: Women’s College Swimming Scholarships
Top Ranked Women’s Swimming Colleges
Each year, NCSA releases Power Rankings that list the top NCAA and NAIA schools that offer women’s swimming. This report analyzes various factors that student-athletes and their families consider when selecting the right college fit, including cost, size, location and academics. View a fill list of colleges offering women’s swim teams