There are pools everywhere

McKinley Becraft, Copy Editor

(The italicized portion of this is more of my personal thoughts and experiences.)

There are pools everywhere.

25 yards, 50 meters, blocked pools, shallow pools, deep pools, any combination, any size, and most importantly, they are everywhere.

And with the pool, the lane space comes teams. Teams of all levels. Like college. There’s a collegiate level team everywhere.

So when the goal is to be a college level athlete. How are you supposed to choose a team and a pool when you’ve got an entire world of possibilities?

That’s where panicking comes in.

And after you’ve had enough stress over the options it’s time to narrow that search down!

The first thing you should do is sign up for a college recruitment website.

For swimming, this wonder is called BeRecruited or CollegeSwimming. Pay that $70 and set that account up! It’ll be the easiest way to find specific college teams with certain traits (i.e. the size, location, program)

It’s important to keep all of your statistics up to date and answer the personal questions as detailed as you possible can! This will be the first glimpse into who you are as an athlete and will ascertain whether youre worth it to recruit. The second you’re on you can not only see who views you but also who tags you as a potential recruit.

But you can ignore 90% of the ones that follow you, they follow everybody and are probably not what you’re looking for. But they are awesome for the self esteem.

Use that profile and create a broad search of colleges that have your major, add colleges to your list and start emailing.

When I first emailed coaches at the beginning of the swim season I think that I had about 14 coaches emails. I think I got responses from 10 and followed through with 4… but options are always the best.

The coaches might email you back, they might be completely unresponsive but add you to their newsletters. Either way, persistance is the key. Keep emailing until you get a response, even if it’s not the one you’re looking for.

The Pepperdine coach hasn’t emailed me or called me back, so keep trying but note that there are a select few colleges who don’t follow the traditional process and won’t respond until you’ve been accepted. Traditionally these are the more prestigious colleges, the ones that don’t have to go looking for athletes.

An important thing to note is the difference in divisions and the changes that come with what one you choose. For starters, there is a whole other process for NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II schools. If that’s the way you want go, you have to fill out (and pay) on the NCAA Eligibility to website. If you want to go NAIA or Division III you don’t have to do it. This is because they don’t give you scholarship money so they don’t have to follow the same rules.

And funny story… Guess who forgot to do that? Me! Then I tried to talk to a couple of upper division schools and uhhhh yeah. Do that if you think there’s even a chance that you want to go DI or DII. And if you have no idea what this is, find you NCAA liaison and ask them for help! They know what they’re doing!

Anyway, back to those emails you sent out. Strike up a conversation with the coach, learn things about the school, and figure out if you have enough interest in the school to apply there. When college applications come out, get those in as fast as you can! If you are strongly considering a college, apply Early Action (it’s not binding and will give you a decision faster).

Some people commit, or sign, really early in the year. I don’t recommend signing until you’ve met the team, coach, and seen the campus a couple of times. Sometimes schools can be deceiving but I’ll get to that later.

Most of this is going to be based on you. The only way to narrow colleges down (or even find them) is up to you. But remember, unless you’re trying to go pro you have to choose a school for academics. Academics first, sports second.

The next step is critical. Go to the school and learn everything and everything. While this can happen at any time, knowing whether or not you can get into a school should be important. Most schools offer a recruiting trip where you can do and see the campus, meet, and possibly attend a practice (only can practice with DI and DII).

Recruiting trips are hands down the best part about the college recruitment process. You wave goodbye to your parents, board a plane, and head off in the directions of your dreams. There is paperwork to fill out, for DI and DII, but the process is almost suspiciously easy.

It’s important to note that while this will probably be some of the best weekends of your life, you might find yourself in situations that aren’t quite your speed. I, accidentally, went on a recruiting trip to a party school and returned traumatized. That trip wasn’t bad, just slightly uncomfortable. Another trip I went on was amazing. Within an hour I felt like I knew where I belonged.This is why recruiting trips are so important, it’s an immediate immersion into the school and you’ll quickly find if it is a place you’d be interested in attending.

College recruitment can be scary, there can be a lot of hoops to jump through. All in all, if you’re passionate about a sport you can find a place where you can do it all. At any level, at any place, and most importantly, anywhere.