College Swimming Scholarship
How to Attain an NAIA or NCAA Swimming Scholarships
Some of the world's best swimmers come from NCAA DI colleges. In order to properly assess your chances at a swimming scholarship opportunity it is important to understand how the recruiting process works and consider closely the time swim by other successful swimmers already attending NAIA or NCAA colleges. One must feel confident in the fact that they can come in as a freshman swimmer able to contribute points at conference as well as at national level swimming competitions to be considered a viable candidate for swimming scholarships.
The Swimming Scholarship Breakdown
There are more than 460 men's college swimming programs. Plus, there are 134 NCAA DI programs, 54 NCAA DII programs, 198 NCAA DIII programs, 20 NAIA programs, and 56 NJCAA swimming programs throughout the entire country. Not to mention, there are over 580 women's level programs including 192 NCAA DI programs, 73 NCAA DII programs, 233 NCAA DIII programs, 24 NAIA DII programs, and 59 NJCAA swimming programs at schools across the nation.
14 scholarships are available per women's team at the NCAA DI level, 8.1 scholarships per women's NCAA DII team, 8 scholarships per NAIA schools, and 15 scholarships are up for grabs at the NJCAA level. Men's program scholarships are a little more scarce as only 9.9 scholarships are available at the NCAA DI level, 8.1 scholarships at the NCAA DII level, 8 scholarships for NAIA programs, and 15 scholarships are divided per team at the NJCAA level.
It is a good idea to research the nation's top swim colleges and make a collective list of colleges that best fit your athletic and academic profile. The sooner you get on top of the college swim recruiting process, the better. It is imperative to understand that every swimming program has more swimmers than scholarships. Scholarships are only awarded to swimmers that can score high for their program during conference and nationals. While each team and coach utilizes their money slightly differently, there are general rules that each program must abide by when handing out swim scholarships. Know your strongest stroke to get into your college of choice.
If you are a dominate 50, 100, and 200 freestyle swimmer than you have a fighting chance at a college scholarship. Outside of the points you bring in during open events, you will also need to have the ability to score points during relays as well. Distance specialists will thrive at the college level in the 500 and 1650. If these are the only events you will be participating in then it is vital that you finish close to first at every conference level competition to score a scholarship.
#2 Breaststroke, Backstroke & Butterfly
Scholarship opportunities are extremely limited to breast, back, and fly specialists. In order to be considered you must be able to score points at both 100 and 200 open conferences and national levels. Plus, swimming swiftly for relay teams almost immediately will also give you a stronger advantage to receive a scholarship.
Coaches do not typically recruit swimmers who solely swim medleys. Medley swimmers tend to be very strong in only one or two strokes and less developed in the remaining areas. These swimmers will be expected to compete in open events debuting their strongest strokes at their fastest times. It can not be stressed enough that the most important factor - is that you swim within a level you can score high and stand out as one of the best swimmers in the program.
*BONUS* The NCAA DIII Swimming Level Secret
The NCAA DIII banner sees the most college level swimming competitions. However, most swimmers almost immediately dismiss the thought of swimming for a DIII school as it is seen as a lesser opportunity. It is essential for young aspiring swimmers to understand that although DIII schools may not offer full ride scholarships, they do offer amazing financial aid packages to their swimmers. DIII financial aid packages are highly competitive and actually rival partial athletic scholarships available at other schools.
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