College Swimming Scholarships - What You Need to Know

by Pool Builders on 07-22-2009 in Articles

The competition for college swimming scholarships is extremely competitive. There are several factors that go into a coaches decision to award a swimmer athletic scholarship money. While everyone typically thinks only those swimmers with the fastest times in the pool will get scholarship money, that is just one factor that a coach uses.

  1. Colleges are looking for swimmers that still have potential to increase their times every year in college. There are high school swimmers who have already reached maximum potential and will not attract much attention from colleges even if they have times that are tops in their State.
  2. Academics are also very important. Swimming in college demands much more time than high school. Coaches want athletes who can handle the academic demands of college without it affecting athletic performance.
  3. Coaches want athletic diversity in their swimmers. If you can swim and compete in multiple events you are more attractive for scholarship money than a swimmer who is specialized. Be willing to compete in multiple strokes and let coaches know you want to compete and help the team however you can.
College swimming in the NCAA is an equivalency sport. Coaches can and usually do divide the scholarship money amongst multiple athletes.  Division I swimming programs have  9.9 scholarships for Men and 14 for Women. In DII there are 8.1 scholarships for Men and 8.1 for Women. This means if you are are offered a DI Women's swimming scholarship that is a .5 or 50% partial, the coach has 13.5 more scholarships to offer. Typically each program has only 20% to 30% of their total swimming scholarship money to offer to incoming freshmen each year.

There are over 190 colleges and 1,800 swimming scholarships for men available in NCAA DI and DII. For women in NCAA DI and DII there are over 240 colleges that offer over 3,100 scholarships. You can earn one if you know how to compete at the recruiting game.

If you have solid swim times in high school, good academics and the ability to improve and compete in multiple events than you can earn a college swimming scholarship. You must be willing to work as hard at your athletic recruiting as you do in the pool. Thousands of other high school swimmers are competing for the same scholarship money. You must start early in your recruiting, have a solid recruiting plan and be aggressive to separate yourself from the competition.

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