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Being A College Swimmer: A Guided Tour

college swimmerWhat Are College Coaches Looking for in a Swimmer?

As a competitive swimmer you fall into a weird grey area category of an individual sport with a team feel. On the surface you know that how you do affects you. If you have a bad swim in a meet or you don’t meet that time standard you were shooting for at the end of the day it was you spending the hours in the pool, waking up at 5 a.m. or always showing up places smelling like chlorine.

Maybe it wasn’t your day or you need to train harder but it is your time that was effected–until you reach the world of collegiate swimming. Up to this point the team aspect has been limited to relays and card games on the pool deck during meets. But college swimming is scored on team points. What does that mean for you?

Can You Swim More Than One Event?

Obviously having an event you are good at is important, but coaches are going to look at your ability to swim multiple events and add some depth to the team. College swimming is made up of several types of meets: dual meets, invitationals and conference championships. Teams can’t win meets by having one fast swimmer or by just taking first in a couple of events, they need to gain enough team points to win meets. How do they do this?

Adding Depth to the Team

You will notice that most teams don’t have just one strong swimmer in each event, they have several. You earn more points taking second, third and fourth place than you would just taking first, so coaches make sure that they have the depth to earn several points in each event.

Be a Multi-Event Swimmer

Conference championships are 3 to 4 days long, and each swimmer is allowed to swim 3 individual events. To be your best at every event your coach will want you to space out the events so they land on different days.

Take a look at a conference championship schedule, find out what events you do best that land on different days and make sure coaches know your times in each of those events. If your best events land on the same day a coach will have you pick one of those and try to become better in something that lands on a different day.

Scoring Points in Relays

If you are good at an event that translates to a spot on a relay team this can help your recruitablity. Being on a relay team does not count against the 3 events you can swim at a meet, but it does mean that you can help your team score more points. Coaches will normally place multiple teams in each relay event, so if you can land a spot on one of those teams it gives you another opportunity to score points and bring value to your team.

Show How Valuable You Can Be

Of course we all have that one event we excel in but make sure you understand that you need to be well rounded to truly add value to the team. College swimming is as much about team points as it is about individual times so you need to show how valuable you can be.

NCAA and US Swimming Partner with competitor.

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