Swimming & Diving

College swimming programs
High School swimming athletes in college
Average scholarship ASM swimmers receive

College Swimming and Diving scholarships

Swimming scholarships in the USA represent one of the best options for high school students, wherever in the world they are currently studying and training. There are at present over 500 swimming programs in the USA, all of which offer an Olympic-sized pool and first-class training facilities for their student-athletes.  We have created a custom playlist on our Youtube channel explaining everything there is to know about the recruitment process for swimming in the USA.

The lifestyle of a college swimmer in the States is much like that of a professional athlete. You train daily in fantastic facilities (often more than once a day), and you’ll have fitness coaches, athletic trainers, and nutrition experts at your disposal; making sure you perform to the best of your ability. Many college teams fly to events, where you live at a hotel, and you get to compete against the best young swimmers in the United States.

College swimming is a unique opportunity for boys and girls to swim and compete at a high level, with a coaching staff who will help you develop, while you are getting “paid” in the form of a scholarship.

Swimming scholarships are available for many international athletes, but obviously your personal best times, the competitions you have participated in, and your potential for further improvement are all factors that a swimming coach will consider before he offers a scholarship. Scholarships can be awarded in several divisions, including NCAA division 1, division 2, NAIA, and NJCAA.

While many NCAA swimmers have won gold medals at Olympic Games or World Championships, there is one rather unusual NCAA swimming anecdote that illustrates the strict conditions which apply. The most decorated Olympic swimmer of all time, Michael Phelps, actually worked as an assistant coach under Coach Bob Bowden at the University of Michigan, while taking sports management classes at the university. Phelps, unfortunately, could not swim for the team as he had previously accepted endorsement contracts, which therefore violated NCAA amateur rules, but now as a student-athlete there is the NIL (Name Image Likeness) At ASM we can help you get endorsement deals and sponsorships.

Complete list of men’s swimming colleges

There are roughly 490 college swimming programs in the United States:

  • 143 NCAA D1
  • 58 NCAA D2
  • 200 NCAA D3
  • 22 NAIA
  • 67 Junior Colleges

There are many factors student-athletes should consider when evaluating which is the best fit for them. Aside from the swimming program, it’s important to consider other aspects of the campus life, including academic and social factors. A good way to think about it is to ask yourself, would I still be happy at this school if I wasn’t swimming?

This section consists of lists of all colleges with men’s swimming programs, broken down by various factors, including division level, conference and location. These lists present you with an opportunity to review the possibilities, while keeping in mind what your overall experience as a student-athlete at the school would be like to find the right fit – athletically, academically, culturally and financially.

Men’s swimming scholarships

To offset the overall cost of college, many student-athletes and their families look to athletic scholarships to ease the financial burden. However, it’s important to be realistic about the opportunities that are available.

Men’s swimming is an equivalency sport in NCAA Divisions 1 and 2. This means the total allotment of scholarships for the sport can be divided in any number of ways between the athletes on the roster – as long as the combined total of awards matches the total swimming scholarships allotment. For example, Division 1 swim teams are allotted the equivalent of 9.9 full scholarships with an average roster size of 28 swimmers. Each coach and program is going to divide that scholarship money up differently. NCAA D2 programs have up to 8.1 scholarships and NAIA programs have up to 8 scholarships. Full-ride scholarships are very rare in equivalency sports.

At the NCAA Division 3 level, there are no athletic scholarships, but other forms of financial awards, such as academic scholarships and other forms of grants and aid can help college swimming recruits to defray overall college costs.

In this section, we’ll provide the full breakdown of scholarships available by division level, as well as outline strategies for positioning yourself to land scholarship offers, such as finding schools where you can best score points for the team.

Complete list of women’ swimming colleges

There are 627 colleges, universities and junior colleges supporting women’s swimming programs throughout the United States. Here Is the divisional breakdown:

  • 200 NCAA D1
  • 77 NCAA D2
  • 242 NCAA D3
  • 31 NAIA
  • 77 Junior Colleges

Student-athletes with the desire to advance to women’s college swimming need to weigh all their options before making an enrollment decision – to find the right fit athletically, academically, culturally and financially. One way to evaluate fit is to ask yourself if you’d still be happy with a school selection even if you weren’t able to swim there.

The lists of colleges in this section are broken down by division level and provide more context around what these college experiences may be like. In reviewing these lists, student-athletes and their families will learn about the opportunities out there, as well as start thinking about the right fit overall – not just athletically.

Women’s swimming scholarships

Getting a scholarship is oftentimes the primary goal in a family’s college swimming recruiting process. The good news is that there are many opportunities to earn a women’s college swimming scholarship, but it’s important to understand how the scholarship process works and where to focus your energy in pursuing one.

Schools within the NCAA Division 1 and 2 levels follow the organization’s equivalency scholarship guidelines. The total allotment of scholarships for women’s swimming may be divided in any combination of ways among those athletes on the roster. The equivalency scholarship model is also used by NAIA schools. Division 1 swim teams are allotted the equivalent of 14 scholarships, and each program can use the money differently. Division 2 programs have up to 8.1 scholarships, and NAIA programs have up to 8 scholarships.  

At the NCAA Division 1 level, there are seldom any student-athletes that end up with full-ride swimming scholarships. However, at the NJCAA level there are several instances of college swimming recruits being offered full swimming scholarships.

At the NCAA Division 3 level, there are no swimming scholarships, but other forms of financial awards, such as academic grants, can help college swimming recruits to defray overall college costs. If a student has shown leadership skills in high school, there are grants and other scholarships where the student-athlete must maintain a certain minimum GPA.

The key to finding the best swimming scholarship opportunities, is identifying schools where swimmers can score points at the conference and national level.

The college swimming recruiting process is about identifying the right college athletically, academically, socially, and financially. What does a high school women’s swimmer have to do in order to start taking an active role in their college swimming recruiting process? The obvious advice of continually improving times is only one of the various things that must be done. Taking academics seriously can open a range of schools that otherwise would not have been available to a student with lesser grades or test scores.

How good do you have to be to get recruited for college diving?

Most athletes focus on dive difficulty and scoring, but this is not the priority when it comes to getting recruited for college diving. Coaches care more about how well the athlete has mastered the basics and whether the athlete is versatile enough to perform dives from 1-meter and 3-meter springboards, as well as the 10-meter platform.

When it comes to recruiting events, college coaches typically attend events like National Junior Olympic, Senior Nationals, and National Championship where they expect to evaluate talent that best matches that of a college athlete.

The four basic skills college coaches look for in recruits

When evaluating recruits, college coaches look for athletes that have mastered these basic skills, which indicates they are capable of competing at the next level.

  • Approach to the dive: The athlete’s progression forward to the edge of the board should be smooth, taking roughly three steps, with their body position straight, with arms straightforward, at their sides or over their head.
  • Take-off: This is one of the most important skills to ensure the diver safely clears the board as they jump from the edge to execute the dive. Recruits should spend time practicing one-foot take-offs and landing on two feet, followed by departing from the board.
  • Execution: While performing the dive, the athlete needs to be controlled, using proper technique as they prepare to enter the water. The dive should be held long enough for the judges to clearly evaluate their technique.
  • Entry: Athletes enter the water either feet-first or head-first, depending on the dive they are performing. Athletes should keep their body nearly vertically straight, with feet together and toes pointed as they enter the water to create the least amount of splashing.

Swimming Scholarship FAQ's

How to get a Swimming or Diving Scholarship

Athletes must show that they have the ability to make an immediate, positive impact at their position or they need to demonstrate that they have the potential to develop into a key player. This is why finding the right division level athletically is so important. A recruit might technically qualify to play at a D1 school, but they could be a more impactful athlete at a D2 or NAIA school. So, they would likely get more money—and more playing time—at the D2 or NAIA levels, as they will be able to make a bigger impact on those teams. Layered on top of athletic ability, recruits need to be academically eligible to compete at the school.

Am I eligible?

Having a high enough GPA or SAT/ACT score is the passport to obtaining a swimming scholarship. Achievements in the pool will count for nothing if you do not have the right academic grades. The ASM Scholarships team has the ability and the experience to steer you through the qualification process. It is an integral element of our approach to carefully evaluate and help fulfill your personal potential by working with you to select a college program that will allow you to improve your grades if necessary.

How the Swimming season works:

In College, you compete in numerous “swim meets” throughout the year. These meets can be, for example, a competition whereby 2-4 College teams come together to compete against each other. It can also be the “Conference Championships”, which is the place you and your team want to be towards the end of the season. During all competitions, schools compete against each other, and points are awarded to individuals for higher place finishes. The points are tallied for each school on a collective basis, so it is crucial that athletes adopt a “team-first” mentality when competing!

What is the difference between meter pools & yard pools?

There are three types of pools:

  • Short Course Yards: One length is 25 yards long (Popular in the USA)
  • Short Course Meters: One length is 25 meters.
  • Long Course Meters: One length equals 50 meters. (Olympic size)

No need to worry there is a way to convert your times to send to coaches

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