Recruiting Tips for Club Coaches (and swimmers)

Contributor Rick Paine is an expert on the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). 

Many of the rising Juniors and Seniors may have seen an uptick in communication from prospective colleges starting June 15 (beginning of the contact period for highschool Juniors) through the summer as area swimmers had the opportunity to compete and post times on a more regular basis than in the past 15 months.  We’re re-publishing this quick guideline to get you (the swimmers) to think about what to communicate with a college coach to highlight your capabilities and establish a dialogue.  Work with your current club coach to fill in the blanks below and ensure you and your coach are on the same page when responding to inquiries from the college recruiters.

By: Rick Paine

At American College Connection we try to engage the club coach in the recruiting process. After all, it is their coaching that has enabled their swimmer to be fast enough to have the opportunity to swim in college. And who knows the swimmer better than their coach? All we are trying to do is sell the college coaches on their swimmer.

Here are a few tips that coaches can help their swimmers with the college recruiting process:

  • encourage the kids and parents to start early
  • challenge the swimmer to start thinking about what they are looking for in a college for academics and swimming
  • challenge the swimmer to think about what they are looking for in a coach
  • provide the college coaches with a letter of assessment designed to show them the swimmer’s character and potential

Here is an assessment form that we ask the coaches to provide comments on so that we can send it to the college coaches.

  • Work ethic:
  • Character:
  • Coachability:
  • Competitiveness:
  • Potential:
  • Leadership:
  • How good of a kicker is he/she? What is the fastest possible interval he/she can hold on a set of 5 x 100’s kick (no fins)? designate yards, SCM or LC
  • Any intangibles you can think of that will help college coaches see his/her potential:

Most college coaches won’t read a generic rambling letter of recommendation about the kid never missing practice or that they would make a good babysitter. They want specifics.

It can really help to sell a swimmer’s potential if the coach will project times they think the swimmer is capable of attaining. This needs to be an honest assessment based on talent and work ethic. Many coaches don’t like to project times because they are afraid they will be held accountable if they are wrong. I have yet to see a college coach challenge a club coach if the swimmer doesn’t achieve their projections.

Here is how I ask a club coach for their projections.

“If you were to coach your swimmer in the perfect college setting- great facilities, academic and swimming schedules that mesh, great equipment, strength training, teammates to race, proper nutrition and no parental interference how fast do you think they would go in their freshman year with your coaching?

3 thoughts on “Recruiting Tips for Club Coaches (and swimmers)

  • Nov 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you….great info

  • Nov 7, 2017 at 12:53 am

    How often does RFTW update its content, weekly or monthly?

    • Nov 7, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Meet results are usually updated weekly, whereas posts (content) are added as we are able. As the high school season ramps up we may post a bit more frequently.


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