Recruiting Tips for Club Coaches

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?