Once every four years, the sport of swimming takes center stage as one of the summer Olympics’ hottest sports. And so we figured we’d focus today on how high school swimmers (and frankly anyone who competes in sports that are based on times) can be very strategic in the college recruiting process. We’ll focus in the coming weeks on how student-athletes who don’t compete in sports that are based on times (like basketball, lacrosse, hockey, etc.) can also be very strategic in the athletic recruiting process. But since it’s all about swimming this week, we’ll focus on swimming.
Football players may get more weight in admissions. But swimmers have one advantage. They can see how their times stack up against current swimmers at the school. Their success is easier to objectively gauge.
For starters, if a male high school junior is a 100 breaststroke specialist, he should take a look at the 100 breaststroke times at the colleges he wishes to attend. If he goes a :59 in the 100 yard breaststroke, he’s going to have some interest from Ivy League colleges, although the interest will likely be tepid at some of the faster Ivies. He’s certainly not going to be drawing the attention of the Stanford swim coach. No way. But our point is, the student-athlete should go through the heat sheets of each of these schools. See how fast current and former swimmers at these schools swim. Go through the All-Time Top 10 lists. See if you crack the Top 10. With a :59 100 yard breaststroke, that’s not going to happen but at :56, it’s certainly a possibility!
These student-athletes should also go through the rosters and see if the breaststrokers who score points for the school are freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors. If they’re generally all seniors, that tells you that the swim coach is going to be looking for breaststrokers in particular in the recruiting class. If the breaststrokers are freshmen, the coach might be focusing on backstrokers, freestylers, butterflyers, or IMers.
This, of course, is just a start. Swimmers take your mark. Beep.