Delta Aquatics takes pride in sending athletes on to the next level of swimming. This section of our site is designed to aid you in the eligibility and recruiting processes, as well as help you select the instutition that is best for you.

Recruiting FAQ

NCAA Clearinghouse

The NCAA now clears all potential college recruits before the recruiting process can begin.  All high school juniors should complete a clearinghouse form before they finish the school year.  This form is available through most high school guidance counselors or on-line through the NCAA.  You cannot go on an official visit or receive a scholarship without being cleared by the NCAA.

Scholarship Limits

Division I schools are limited by the NCAA to 9.9 men's and 14.0 women's swimming scholarships.   Division II schools are limited to 8.1 scholarships each for men and women.  Division III schools are not permitted to offer athletic scholarships.  Swimming is an "equivalency" sport meaning these scholarships may be divided among a number of individuals.*  "Fully-funded" institutions provide the maximum number of scholarships.  Not all schools are fully-funded. In addition, all Ivy-League schools are not permitted to give athletic scholarships.

*(In contrast, Division I football, a "counter" sport, is limited to 85 indivisible full scholarships.  Doesn't seem fair does it?)

Equivalency Scholarships

As mentioned above this means that schools may break scholarships into portions or units.  Depending on the institution this can be done in many ways.  Some schools go by a strict percentage.  (i.e. a scholarship is worth $10,000 so a 40% scholarship is $4,000)  Others break their scholarships into units.  One semester of tuition, housing, meals, and books are all units to be given out.  All of these have various values depending on the institution.


With the exception of an athletic questionnaire an camp brochure, Division I and II schools cannot provide recruiting materials to you until September 1st at the start of your junior year.  After that date, schools can send you general correspondence, attachments printed on white paper with black ink, business cards, wallet-size schedule card, and one media guide or recruiting brochure.   Division I and II schools cannot send you recruiting or highlight videos, or CD-ROM's, though they may show them to you on campus.  Division II has no such restrictions.

Phone Calls

Division I and II colleges and universities are prohibited from calling you prior to July 1st following the completion of a prospect's junior year.  If you received a call prior to July 1st, that school broke the law.  After that coaches may call you once per week.  Exceptions to this limit are made a) during the five days prior to your official visit; b) the day of an in-person, off-campus contact; and c) subsequent to your national letter of intent signing.   Calls may be made by most athletic staff, but not student-athletes.  Division III has no such limits.

Electronic Contacts

E-mail and faxes are considered mail, so they are permissible to juniors.  AOL's Instant Messenger and similar services are considered telephone calls and limited to seniors.

Contacts and Evaluations

Any face-to-face meeting between a college coach and you or your parents, during which any of you say more than "hello" is a contact.  If no contact is made between a coach and you or your parents, this is considered an evaluation.  For all divisions, a college coach cannot contact you off-campus and in person until July 1 prior to your senior year.  During the academic year Division I and II institutions are limited to seven permissible recruiting opportunities (contacts and evaluations) with you, not more than three of them may be in-person, off-campus contacts with you.

Contacts at a Meet

A coach may not speak with you at a meet until the conclusion of your final event and clearance from your high school or club coach.  If the meet takes place over a number of days, college coaches will have to wait until the final day to speak with you. 

Official Visits

You are limited to five official visits.  (this is why it is important to narrow your search early in the process)  On an official visit a school CAN pay for your transportation, lodging, and meals.  The school can also pay for your parent's meals, and lodging.  The school may also pay for their transportation provided you traveled by automobile.   Institutions may also provide a student host with $30 for entertainment ($20 in Division III) within a 30 mile radius of campus and may also provide you with and your parents with complimentary admissions to a campus athletics event.  Additional tickets may be reserved and purchased at face value by other family members accompanying you on a visit.  They cannot provide you with gifts of any kind including photos, t-shirts, etc.  

Unofficial Visits

A school may provide you with three complimentary admissions to a campus athletics event on an unofficial visit.  A school cannot pay for your meals, lodging, or entertainment on an unofficial visit, although you are permitted to stay in student housing with a student-athlete by paying the regular institutional rate (which is frequently nothing for short-term guests).

Athletic Scholarship

An athletic scholarship is a one-year contract between you and a Division I or Division II institution.  A school can reduce or cancel a scholarship of you become ineligible for competition, fraudulently misrepresent yourself, quit the team or engage in serious misconduct.  During the contract year, a coach cannot reduce or cancel your scholarship on the basis of your athletic ability, performance, or injury.  An institution may choose to not renew a scholarship at the end of the academic term provided they notify you in writing and provide you an opportunity for a hearing. This is why no coach can offer you a four-year scholarship.


National Letter of Intent


The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association (not the NCAA).  When you sign the National Letter of Intent you agree to attend the institution with which you signed for one academic year in exchange for the institution awarding financial aid, including athletics aid, for one academic year.  The signing dates for swimming are usually the 2nd week in November (Early) and Mid-April through August 1 (Late).

What Coaches Want



Traits most coaches look for in a swimmer... from USA Swimming

To improve chances as a college applicant, it is important to consider the recruiting process from a coach's perspective. In doing so, potential recruits are able to understand a coach's desires and make themselves more attractive candidates. While not all coaches seek the same swimmers, talents, and characteristics, they do share common needs. The following is a list of traits (in no particular order) that NCAA swimming coaches might find desirable. Assess yourself in each of these categories and attempt to improve in weaker areas to enhance your appeal and attractiveness.

Obviously, coaches pay close attention to a swimmer's past results. Certain coaches only recruit swimmers at the Senior National level; meanwhile, other programs seek swimmers of varied success. Past results are indicative of a recruit's talent and ability to compete and contribute in the NCAA atmosphere. In studying meet results, each coach attempts to fill the needs of his or her team and will certainly look to fill team weaknesses first. A team lacking a breaststroker might overlook a strong freestyler, hoping to build a strong and solid program overall.

Many coaches are attracted more to a swimmer's potential than his or her achievements. In addition to looking at a recruit's best times, coaches also track yearly progress in an attempt to assess a swimmer's development and potential. Coaches want to see that in the course of four collegiate years his or her recruits will improve and remain enthused and dedicated swimmers.

Swimmers capable competing and contributing in several events and strokes are more attractive than one or two event specialists. Versatility is highly rewarded in the NCAA dual meet format where athletes are allowed to swim numerous events and relays (depending upon the meet's format). Additionally, versatility is more highly prized by smaller teams that struggle to fill lanes during dual meets. Larger teams are able to be more selective and recruit stroke specialists with greater ease.

Coaches seek talented swimmers and leaders. Leaders are not necessarily the fastest swimmers; they are, however, important ingredients to a team's success. Team captains, for instance, are highly regarded for their leadership, dedication, and ability to motivate. Coaches recruit swimmers who exude such traits.

Work Ethic and Dedication
Similarly, coaches desire swimmers with strong, consistent work ethics. A dedicated swimmer is not only bound to improve and contribute, he or she will motivate others to train and compete with more intensity. Dedication and hard work are necessary ingredients for swimming success, particularly for distance and middle-distance swimmers.

Coaches seek recruits that are motivated both in the pool and in the classroom. Recruits must meet the academic requirements of a particular college or university. Furthermore, a coach wants to be sure that each recruit will remain academically eligible throughout his college-career. Thus, coaches desire recruits who can succeed both in and out of the pool.

Recruiting Trip Tips


Going from many potential colleges to just a few

Narrowing a field of hundreds of colleges and universities into a list of five to eight schools can be a tough process for swimmers. Student-athletes must consider each potential school from both academic and athletic perspectives. There are few colleges that perfectly meet all the necessary personal criteria of a college-bound swimmer. Student-athletes are concerned with more than just academics, as the college must also provide a compatible swimming and diving program.

Five to Eight School List
College-bound athletes should compile a list of five to eight schools by the end of their junior year. All of the schools on the list should be well researched and meet the athlete's necessary criteria both academically and athletically. Consider the size, location, reputation, and cost of each university. Colleges provide statistical profiles of current students and admissions criteria. Compare your GPA and SAT scores to assess compatibility with these profiles

Do Your Homework
Swimmers must also consider each program's coaching staff, history, size, and funding. Similarly, research each team's best swimmers and assess your ability to compete and contribute. Make note of those colleges that fulfill both your academic and athletic needs.

This preliminary list should then be carefully focused and narrowed. The goal is to develop a list of five to eight colleges placed into two distinct tiers: reaches and safeties. Those schools that will most likely admit you based upon academic and athletic quality and skill are considered safeties. Reaches, which may or may not be stronger academically and athletically, are schools that have lower acceptance rates. Your list should include three or four safeties and four or five reaches.

Get Help
Be sure to develop this list in conjunction with your parents and college or guidance counselor. Remember, while each school on your list might be markedly different, you should be content attending and swimming for each one. Developing such a list is difficult, and perhaps burdensome, but it is a necessary step towards finding your ideal match.



Tips for Choosing the Right College for YOU!

The process of selecting a college is both challenging and consequential. When forced to consider swimming as well, the task becomes even more daunting. While attempting to find the ideal fit academically and athletically, it is necessary to set certain criteria for potential colleges and swimming programs. Perhaps overwhelmed by the plethora of possibilities, high school swimmers must focus their college search by first assessing their abilities and desires. After reading this article, begin to formulate your very own college criteria and hopefully even find several matching colleges and/or universities.


The most important aspect of a college is its academic program and philosophy. Students must find a college or university that best matches their academic abilities and goals. For instance, potential architects should seek colleges that provide an architectural program or the opportunity to explore this discipline. Many schools only offer a liberal arts education; thus, those pursuing unique degrees (like engineering) must find schools that cater to such interests. Furthermore, colleges provide statistical profiles of current students and admissions criteria. Compare your GPA and SAT scores to assess compatibility with these profiles.

Size and Location
Size and location are integral components of a school’s character. State universities, for instance, tend to be rather large, while liberal arts colleges tend to be much smaller. Class sizes can range anywhere from a couple of hundred to several thousand students. Often, smaller colleges offer a more intimate classroom setting and a lower teacher-to-student ratio. Classes at larger universities are frequently taught in a lecture style.

A school’s location is as defining as its size. Many students attend in-state colleges while others travel across the country each semester. Decide where you are most comfortable geographically. Furthermore, the potential college student must choose either an urban, suburban, or rural setting.

Tuitions range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. Explore academic as well as outside, privately-sponsored scholarships. Furthermore, research the possibility of student employment, as many colleges offer work-study positions. Most importantly, though, many schools offer financial-aid through both grants and loans.


Much of a team’s success relies on its coaching staff. Because each staff is different, be sure that their philosophies are compatible with yours. Ask coaches to describe a typical practice and week. Meanwhile, try to assess each coach’s style and personality. Furthermore, some teams have the same head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams; others have completely separate staffs. Be sure that you are comfortable around and with each coach. After all, you are commencing a four-year relationship.

All collegiate swimming programs are markedly different. A program consists not only of swimming but also of weight and dry land training. Some teams work exclusively with weights, yet others use various tools such as medicine balls, power racks, and stretch cords. Moreover, some programs completely separate men and women. Also, pay careful attention to a school’s facilities. Are the pool and weight room adequate? Is there ample lane space? Is there a separate diving well? Be sure to comprehensively research each swimming program before assessing your compatibility.

There are collegiate swimming programs of varied ability. By comparing best times, develop a list of colleges with programs that suit your skill level. Many swimmers are content to compete on the Division III level; others desire Division I competition. Whatever your ability may be, there is certainly a matching program. Remember, however, that only Division I and II schools may offer athletic scholarships. If college appears a financial burden or impossibility, contact programs that provide scholarships.

Begin to formulate a list of schools and programs that are compatible with your academic and athletic abilities.


The Trip

Recruiting trips to universities are one of the best ways for you to find out where you will best fit in, and where you want to study. The rules regarding official visits differ from division to division. For Division I, II, and III official visits, the university can pay for your transportation and 48-hour stay. You are allowed to take official visits to five (5) different Division I and II universities or schools. There is no limit to the number of official visits you may take to a Division III school.

Plan Your Time Wisely
If you are going to apply early, make sure you plan your trips as early as possible, to leave yourself enough time to make an informed decision. You only have 48 hours to visit the campus, so make the best of every minute. Try to plan your trip so that your official visit starts on a Friday morning. This allows you to go to some classes and see what a typical weekend is like. If you plan your visit far enough in advance you should make sure you can sit in on some of the classes that interest you. Make sure to inform the coach which classes interest you.

Balance of School & Swimming
While attending classes, notice the size of the class. Notice the ability of the professor. Would you feel comfortable learning in this situation? Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. Ask about which classes are interesting or fun. Ask about how difficult it is to balance academics, swimming, and social life. Ask the swimmers about the practices and about dryland and weights. Ask them if they have improved while at this school and whether or not they have enjoyed themselves. Ask what other schools they applied to and why they ended up at that particular school. Keep your ears open... you may learn something important.

Swim Smarts?
Ask the coach what the average GPA and SAT is on the team and the university as a whole, and see if you could handle the academics of the school. Try to see if the coach's style is compatible with your personality and with your goals. Make sure you see the pool and try to meet as many people on the team as you can. Look into how your times would put you on the roster and in the conference championship. Be sure to talk to your fellow recruits.

Four Year Commitment
Most importantly make sure you are happy and you can see yourself living at the college for the next four years. Ask the coach what percentage of swimmers stay on the team all four years. Look around you and see if people are enjoying themselves. Some universities have completely separate men and women's swimming teams. See what the relationship is between the two and make sure it is appropriate to what you want.

Be Yourself
Don't fell pressured into to being someone you're not. Just be yourself and have fun!


Questions for Coaches and Swimmers on Recruiting trips

What to ask the College Coaches
Questions you can ask the coaches of the college you are visiting:

   1. What kind of swimmer are they looking for?  Ex sprint, back, distance, etc.
   2. How are practice run?  Ex together, specialized, what’s the training plan
   3. What kind of dryland, weights, etc do they do and is that specialized?
   4. What are  the team goals for the next 5 years?  Your senior year + 4 years?
   5. Can they take you where you want to go based on your goals?  Ex you want to make NCAA times, Senior and Olympic Trial times
   6. What are the expectations for the swimmer for training in the spring/summer?
   7. Do you have a Christmas Training Trip?  How is that funded? Team or family?
   8. Do you train as a coed team or separately?
   9. Would you be scholarship material?  If so, you need some idea to make your decision easier!

What to Ask College Swimmers
Questions you can ask the current swimmers to help you gain more insight into the program.

   1. How do they like the coaching staff?
   2.Do they feel their needs as an athlete are being met?
   3.Do they do things together to develop a sense of team?
   4.What is it that the athletes like about the school?
   5.Academically how is the school?
   6. Do they have fun?
   7.What kind of teammate are they looking for?  Who would fit in?
   8.Have they improved sense being there?

How to standout from the competition

College-bound student-athletes often struggle to effectively market themselves academically and athletically. Even supremely talented and attractive student-athletes encounter difficulties in promoting their abilities. Two student-athletes of the same academic and athletic caliber might be separated by a strong initiative for successful self-marketing. This article focuses on how to stand out from the other swimmers.

The first ingredient of successful marketing is an attractive product. Just as an automobile company spends years perfecting a new model, exert the necessary effort and time to better your swimming skills and results.

Do college research early and often and create a tentative list of probable colleges. Gather the email addresses of these colleges' swimming coaches and inform them of your interest and athletic and academic ability. Persistence pays off! If a coach does not respond, be sure to send a follow-up email. Many coaches will then send (via mail) an inquiry form; be sure to complete and return the form immediately. Start relationships with these coaches, but be careful to stay within the guidelines of NCAA regulations

Inform the coaches of more than just your best times. Alert them of any progress you have made either in the pool or in the classroom. Between two comparable swimmers, a coach will find the one demonstrating marked improvement most appealing. Remember to constantly update coaches of recent results. When talking to coaches, sound interested and remain honest.

Having your club coach contact collegiate coaches is an excellent way to convey your interest and provide him or her with another useful source of information.

Plan and take recruiting trips. They are an excellent opportunity for you to learn about a particular school and for that school and swimming program to learn about you. Be attentive, aware, and interested. Be sure to interact with the coach and to reiterate your interest in his school and his program. Ask the coach if he has any questions for you.

Register with With over 100 registered college and collegiate coaches from Divisions I, II, and III, does the marketing for you!

Colleges place great importance on and pay close attention to grades and standardized test scores. Prepare for standardized tests such as the SAT by hiring a tutor or taking a local course. You can also buy books and audiocassettes geared towards improving SAT scores. While training in the water, be careful not to neglect your academics.

Unfortunately, the SAT tends to overshadow the PSAT. The PSAT, however, is an excellent opportunity for students to market themselves academically. A high score on the PSAT not only generates interest and recognition from colleges and universities, it provides scholarship opportunities.

Many students overlook the importance of the college application. Take time and care when preparing applications; fill them out thoroughly. Write essays that admissions officers will find interesting and insightful. Get recommendations from those teachers who know you both (as a student and a person) personally and academically.