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Thread: More Swim Parenting: college edition

  1. #1
    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Greetings all! Yes, I found the other swim parenting thread, but it's two years old, so thought I'd start a different one.

    Our daughter is currently a junior with decent swim times. We've started getting letters from D3 schools interested in her swimming for them. Thus, questions abound.

    a) Is there such a thing as D2 schools? Our DD has great times (as a junior!) to place and in some instances win D3 meets right now, but she is nowhere near D1 times. Where is D2?
    b) So far, the two states we want her to look at (Texas and Virginia) have many D3 schools, but only one total (in VA) state school. If you have a child going to a D3 private school, how much financial aid (percentage of total cost is fine) did you get from the school? (Yes, I know that D3 schools don't give athletic scholarships, but I'm learning, at least for other sports, they will find money to get your kid there.)
    c) Does the financial support come with a guarantee to 4 years of support? What if my child gets injured?
    d) Is there such a thing as financial support for College Club swimming? (I only just learned of CCS in another thread.)
    e) Anything I'm not thinking of with respect to a child competing in a varsity sport in college? Holidays ruined? Required living arrangements? Practices taking precedence over studies? I don't even know where to begin.

    I thank you all in advance. This'll be our first of four we're self-supporting. (Previous one used my GI Bill and the other two both joined the military.) Our current college kid knew exactly where he wanted to go and (thankfully) got accepted there. Our daughter isn't sure where she wants to go or exactly what she wants to study. (We've recommended a gap year and she is not for that at all!)

    Cheers all and stay healthy!
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    As to question number a, yes there are D2 schools. In fact D2 Nationals begin on Wednesday:http://results.spireinstitute.org/2020_NCAA_D2Swim/


    just some other observations:

    1) if practice is taking precedent over studies, then the student athlete is doing it wrong (hence the student part comes first. That is, unless they plan to go pro in swimming, in which case the aforementioned practice might be more acceptable!

    2) holidays arent necessarily ruined. I went to a D1 mid-major school (Davidson College) and for Fall Break, freshmen could go home but upper class men had to stay the four day weekend and train. We were released from workouts Tuesday morning of thanksgiving week, but if you had arrangements to be home earlier (because maybe you didnt have tuesday classes) then they werent going to say no, but you were going to be required to train with your local club team. For Christmas break, we did training trip both ways: freshman/sophomore year it was after Christmas (reported back to school on like 12/27, with trip running like 12/29-1/6). Junior and senior year we had training trip before Christmas, from about 12/15-12/24. Honestly liked knocking it out before Christmas, but didnt like traveling on Christmas Eve. Made getting flights home expensive. But then I could avoid spending my birthday on training trip (1/5). Funny story though my junior year I had to be on deck at 8:00 am 1/6 for practice and so it was my 21st birthday the night before. I was walking up the stairs returning from the bars as my mom came out of her room to wake me to catch my flight and she was like oh good you are already up, and I was like, I never went to sleep. Made the red-eye and practice. But it was rough

  3. #3
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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Hi Mike,

    Glad you are asking the questions. Your profile says Boston. If you are there, the Northeast has tons of D-3 schools with a wide range of ability levels. Will try to succinctly answer your questions:

    a) These are the national levels: D-1, D-2, D-3, NAIA, Junior College, and CCS. The major ones are the first 5. D-2 is more like D-1 in that they offer athletic scholarships. If you go to www.collegeswimming.com, you can sort all collegiate times by division to see where your daughter best fits - swimmingwise. All of the divisions are anywhere in the country, but D-3 seems to be much more prevalent in the Northeast through the mid-west.
    b) The amount of money that D-3 schools might have is entirely by academic or special ability definition and cannot be athletically determined. Where I coached, their academic scholarships were up to almost 50% of the total cost. BUT, each school is different.
    c) Regardless of the division, it is rare for a college to guarantee 4 years of support. Even at the D-1 level, most swimmers are going year to year. As the saying goes, what have you done for me lately? The same is true of academic scholarships - you have to get the grades in college to keep the scholarship.
    d) CCS is coming on pretty fast and I do not know this division very well.
    e) Calvin offered good info here. The college season runs from late September through February. The serious programs will ask for 20 hr/wk of swimming and dryland. Studies should come first. Attrition can be high - up to 50% - at the college level for alot of different reasons. It is really important for your daughter to go someplace that she likes even if she is not swimming. Unfortunately, partying and drinking are part of pretty much every college - some more than others though.

    Other things to consider: does your daughter want to be #1 on the team or is ok with being #2 or #3 in her events. Does she want to get to Nationals? If she want to do internships, they can compromise the swim season. Chances are the schools she finally considered will be quite similar in academics, atmosphere, etc.. Therefore, her relationship with the coach could be crucial to helping her when she has a rough patch.

    I have coached at all levels and, in my opinion, college has the most amount of drama. Visiting the schools is really important. Luckily, D-3 does not have a restriction regarding the number of official visits, so go to alot of them and ask all of these questions to coaches and admissions people (either in person or over the phone). It is ok to call the coaches any time. Also, she should consider how far away she wants to be in case coming home is important.

    Be aware her thinking might change alot in the next 6-12 months. Having to make a decision is alot tougher than window-shopping. And, senior year tends to bring clarity to what she will want. What I am saying - is be prepared for a roller-coaster of where she wants to attend.

    Finally, from personal experience, most college kids do better if they find a place where they are in the upper 25% of their class and sport. So, it is unlikely she is going to make huge time drops that will leap-frog the competition. Not getting faster is high on the list of not finishing 4 years of college.

    Hope this helps...

  4. #4
    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Thanks Calvin and Windrath, both very helpful.

    As to the Northeast, our daughter expressly does NOT want to stay up here. We're a military family (I'm retired, but still DoD), so we're sked to move from Boston the summer after she graduates anyway, so there'd be no benefit to her going to a state school up here as we'd lose residency the minute she starts, plus she hates winter, which won't help with her studies.

    She wants Texas A&M, mostly because she loves the state, campus, city and we have family there. She knows she won't be able to swim there, except we just learned about CSS, so that excites her. She'd be out of state unless I can pull an assignment there, but as I recently learned, Texas law requires 3 years of residency before granting residency rates. Sigh... But! A&M does have a policy that if the student brings in $4000/year of outside support, they're considered state residents for tuition purposes, so there's that.

    We are also making her look at VA schools, mostly because we own a home there, that's technically our home state (although Uncle Sam doesn't see it that way, except when I have to pay state taxes every year b/c of the house), so I can make an argument for state residency AND that's probably next assignment location. We'll see.

    Our DD loves swimming, especially competing, so I think her impetus is to continue swimming and not hoping swimming will get her college money. She's competitive, and our recent looking at meet results for some D3 schools where she would have placed 1st in some of her events has intrigued her. She's pretty open on a major, so most of the schools we look at she's happy with, academics-wise.

    Thanks for the insight from an athlete and coach. Very helpful. Looking at the college swimming site now. Thanks also for that.
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

  5. #5
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Forgot to mention that pesky 20 hour rule. Yeah depending on how serious the program is that your child goes to will determine how strictly they adhere to it. At Davidson we were swimming or lifting 19.45 to 19.55 of the 20.00 (if we didnt just hit 20.00 on the dot). Two of my siblings went to a smaller D3 school where they used about 17-18 hours of the 20 hour week. I dont know any other sport that devotes so much of their 20 hours to actual physical activity. Had a football roommate freshman year and he had video sessions T/H mornings, but that counted towards his 20 hours, as did offensive meetings on M/F mornings.

    time spent at the trainer or such doesnt count towards that 20 hours and while I definitely regret not making better use of the training staff, Id be willing to bet I spent closer to 24 hours a week on my sport.

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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Mike,

    Thanks for the added info. No disagreement with the weather in Boston. In Virginia, Washington and Lee (D-3) is an outstanding school for academics and swimming. And, at one point 10 or so years ago, the swim team was prohibited from morning practices so the kids could stay focused on academics. They still were placing Top 10 at Nationals. Also, William and Mary has good women's swimming. You can do a google search "Virginia schools with D-III womens swimming" which brings up alot of info.

    And, if your daughter really likes Texas A&M, talk to the coach. Some teams allow and encourage walk-ons. The lousy part of that is whether or not she would be on the Conference team at the end of the season. As a competitive athlete, I would hate to train with the team only to be left home for the best part of the season.

    A good D-2 school down in the southern region is Delta State (in Mississippi). It is a bit of a hike from where you are looking though. Just know they are pretty good D-2 swimming school.

    Good luck - sounds like you are on the right track and just need to talk with alot of coaches.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    My daughter is rising senior at Washington and Lee. It is a fantastic school and program. I can't say enough great things about the school, coaches, and overall experience. It's hard core and they practice in the mornings now. If your daughter likes A and M, that's a whole different game. That's a big time D1 program.

    My other daughter is a hs junior and just committed D1, Richmond. We are very excited. It is similar in look and feel to Davidson. She looked at William and Mary. There may be some uncertainty about their pool situation, but I can't confirm any of that. It is D1.

    There is zero athletic money in D3, as it should be. I am a huge fan of the sport/academic balance in D3.

    No matter where she goes, college swimming is a job and takes a lot of time. They all work hard (and play hard).

    Good luck. Send me a pm if you want to know more about VA schools or any schools, as we literally just wrapped up a frantic 8 months of recruiting.

  8. #8
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Let me throw another idea out there since it appears you're in the northeastern USA - consider Canadian universities. If you're contemplating paying out-of-state tuition or private school tuition in the USA, you'll likely find it more economical to pay international rates in Canada (especially given the exchange rate). The USports (https://usports.ca/en) program offers a great academic vs athletic balance. At the top end - University of British Columbia, University of Toronto - swimmers train and perform like D1 athletes in the USA, but there are a wide range of schools and swimming programs. The other nice thing about Canadian university sports is that athletes get 5 years of eligibility. Not everyone needs to take that, but it does give an option to space out coursework and make some demanding faculties like engineering more feasible to balance with swimming. My oldest daughter (who is a dual USA/Canadian citizen) swam at UBC and it was a fantastic experience.

  9. #9
    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Thanks aquageek and pwb. pwb, you'll see in my response to others up above that our daughter hates it up here because of winter, so Canada would be out!
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Ugh, I thought I had replied! Sorry I'm late to. Anyway, we're a year behind, but one of mine is pretty solidly in the D1 category. The other one is potentially where yours is. At any rate, there are two paths to consider - solo or using a recruiting service. We've been going solo, but have had a couple of discussions with a recruiting service, and are probably going to use it. In my case, I'll be using it because they told my daughter (the D1 one) EXACTLY what I have been telling her, but she won't listen to me. But for the other one, I think it will be very helpful in teaching us more about exposure since she isn't going to national level meets. We have been talking to NCSA. If you would like to offline about that, shoot me a message.

    Before getting into your questions, a wee bit more background. Kids have had three coaches over the years who have been involved in high level D1 swimming. One was a scholarship swimmer for a couple of years, one was a walk on for a year, and one finished his eligibility. So some of my anecdotes are based on feedback from them, and not first hand knowledge, but it comes into play for my family, so I consider it. This is in addition to fellow swim parents who are friends who ahve been through this, or are going through it, now.

    On the solo thing, I have spent a fair amount of time on www.collegeswimming.com. You can go iin there and do a search for colleges, putting in all kinds of criteria, and find out where you fit, and all of that. You can filter by state, division level, etc. For example, in your case, there are no D2 schools in VA, but there is one in TX - https://www.collegeswimming.com/team/529/

    Injuries/guarantees. That I don't know. I know that in major sports like football, some of them do, and some don't. Many by conference. My alma mater left the SEC in 1964 because the SEC refused to adopt a measure that would guarantee the scholarships for four years. Coach Dodd's stance was that if a kid wasn't cutting it, it was the fault of teh coaches for not properly evaluating him. COnversely, one of my girls' early coaches had been a scholarship swimmer here at UT (TN), but had her scholarship taken away when she ended up injured (shoulder - repetitive use, it was swimming related). That is how UT and many other schools just roll, and that is going to be one criterion we will use to eliminate schools.

    Probably some support for club swimming, but not a lot. I played club baseball in college. We got a few hundred bucks, maybe. We got the baseball team's old jerseys. But we had to fend for ourselves for most things like practice fields, game fees, etc. We paid fees every year to participate, but they weren't bad. I would imagine that the biggest thing would be access to the pool. If the school can give you access to its pool, then you should be golden. I'd be surprised if you had to pay for access, as some sort of access is usually part of general fees. As for a coach, I don't know, my club team was self coached.

    The above paragraph about 4 year/injury will probably align pretty much with the swim/study question. Some programs will tell you if you are are scholarship that you are there to swim, period. I get the impression that D2 schools are not nearly as intense with that. But part of what you need to ask yourself is if swimming is to be done around all of the leisure activities, or are the leisure activities to be planned around swimming. Holidays, spring break, vacations, etc. Same thing as club level, the high performers on the team (at least ours) will work the other stuff around swimming. The families who swim around their other activities have kids who are not making the championship level meets.

  11. #11
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: More Swim Parenting: college edition

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtyson View Post
    pwb, you'll see in my response to others up above that our daughter hates it up here because of winter, so Canada would be out!
    I get it, but consider UBC in Vancouver or University of Victoria ... it barely ever snows in either place, plus Canadian swim teams often do awesome winter training camps in the sun.

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