For many, the college recruiting process can seem like a daunting one. To be fair, making this kind of pivotal life decision is extremely intimidating when you are 16 or 17 years old and struggling to condense your list of potential dinner plans. Nerve-racking or not, the journey is navigable, especially when equipped with advice from those who have been in your shoes. The following 5 D1-commits and Florida natives have offered to share their experiences throughout and knowledge of the NCAA recruiting process in an effort to help aspiring student-athletes to come.

Julian Hill, ASU Class of 2023:

Well first. As you probably know and can see everything is happening earlier and earlier in the recruiting process. There’s nothing we as swimmers can really do about this. Coaches will tell you: the money goes away. It’s basically first come first serve.

Yet, at the same time this is a huge decision and will determine where you’re spending 4 or more years of your life, not a decision to be rushing. Take your time and really think about all aspects of life at the different schools you’re looking at. Visualize your daily routine. Visualize yourself wearing the colors. Visualize yourself getting your degree from that school. It’s not easy to make this decision. With all that being said, use all the resources you can (online, parents, swimmers).

Another really important thing is being able to not only meet the coaches, but meet the swimmers and talk to them.  Make sure you get to know the swimmers. Especially underclassmen. These are who you’ll be spending 2-3 years with.

For me, it came down to two schools. I realized either place I went is going to be a great experience and there’s really not a bad school in the picture.

Try not to let the decision be too stressful and once you make it don’t look back!

Talia Bates, UF Class is 2023:

So I thought the neatest part of the whole process was getting to know some amazing coaches with all of these different philosophies and programs. I think it’s important to really enjoy the coaches that you get to talk to and learn from them!

I was actually two days away from taking 5 unofficial visits when I made my decision. I told my parents that I already knew Florida was the best fit for me. It was pretty crazy! I think it’s important to follow your heart when making such a big decision! I hope that helps!

Caitlin Brooks, UK Class of 2023:

Ok! I would say that swimmers should take a lot of unofficial visits. That’s what I did and it really helps you get a feel for the campus and see everything. Also, unofficials let you get to hang out with the team. I think that is really important because when people are looking to commit somewhere they need to know if they connect with the group. That was huge for me because the girls at Kentucky are all absolutely so nice and I felt like I got a long with them great! The other thing I can say is that don’t let others pressure you into deciding. People (like me) get scare that they will feel like they won’t find the perfect school for them but eventually they will. It’s this feeling that just clicks instantly when you know that that school is where you want to be.

Kensey McMahon, UA Class of 2022:

The recruiting process can be both fun and stressful. It can also be a lot of work added to a schedule that is already overloaded with early mornings, late nights, intensive training, and high rigor academics. Keep your snail mail, e mail, and text correspondence organized. Use a notebook to record your scheduled appointments, prepare the questions you want to ask, and journal the highlights of your conversations so that you can later reflect on things.

Invest in yourself by spending the necessary time working on your future and communicating regularly with the coaches. Coaches can look up times on USA Swimming. Be more than just times. Let them get to know you as a person. Building relationships is extremely important and regardless of whether or not you end up attending their university, you will have made connections with some wonderful people who you will most likely cross paths with again.

Alexis Durlacher, FSU Class of 2022:

Some advice I would give sophomores and juniors is to never shoot down a school l, especially early in the process.  I knew that I NEVER wanted to go up north for school but if a coach emailed me or wanted to talk on the phone I would respond and have several conversations with them simply because it’s nice to always have options.  Also, if schools you know you don’t want to go to give you offers, you can use them as leverage for schools you do want to go to. For example, if you wanted to swim at Georgia tech, you could talk to the Another school in the same conference.  Also, I think it’s really important to always build bridges with schools because the swimming community is VERY connected. I remember talking on the phone with a recruiting coordinator from a school in New York that told me he worked for a big college in Florida last year!  Also, remember that this is a big decision you’re making and you want to make sure it’s a good fit for you.  You have to look at the school aspect, the team, the coaches, the overall feel.  A little tip I would give is to make sure you have a nice, clear voicemail greeting set up, so when a coach does call you (when allowed of course) they know who they are calling and can leave you a message.  I guess a warning I would give is to have fun every step of the way because it happens so fast.  Also, do what’s best for you don’t feel pressured into going anywhere 🙂

Written by Payton Titus