Selling Your Potential

By Rick Paine

College coaches base a lot of their recruiting on a swimmer’s potential. Any good coach wants to believe they are recruiting a swimmer who they can help get faster. They are all looking for swimmers who are “headed in the right direction.”


So how do you present your potential to college coaches? The first thing you need to do is go back and reread the ACC recruiting tips on how to talk with college coaches on the phone. The next step is for you and your coach to come up with some specific goals for the current season (let me know if you would like for us to send you some articles on goal setting). The next step is for you to let the college coaches know what your goals are. This is not as easy as just telling them. You have to be subtle and believable.

You need to determine what you need to do differently in practice in order to achieve your goals. What are you willing to commit to? You can’t realistically set a goal without having a plan of attack. Those are called “dreams.”


Sample conversation between a swimmer and a college coach:


Swimmer: Coach, it seems like you and the team reached most of the goals for the season.


Coach: Yes, we had a really good year. The kids trained well and we hit 82% of our goals.


Swimmer: Congratulations. My coach and I got together the other day and set my goals for the season. Would you like to hear them?


Coach: Of course


Swimmer: I will go a :59.9 or faster in my 100 free by August 5. I know I can at least swim that fast because I am doing dryland 3 days a week instead of 2 and I know I am getting stronger and that will really help me take my first 50 out in :28.5.

I will also be able to kick 5 x 100- free on a 1:30 interval by July 15. With my legs in better shape I will be able to bring it home in at least :31.7


What you just did is to make this coach look at you as a :59 100 freestyler instead of a 1:02.


That’s selling your potential.