How to Win a Swimming Scholarship to a USA University

December 10, 2020

Collegiate Swimming

The recruitment process for college swimming can be a complicated maze of websites, phone calls, emails, recruitment questionnaires, and visits. With countless rules (written and unwritten), it is easy to become confused or frustrated. At Aspire Atlantic, we have had some amazing success with procuring scholarships for swimmers, and all of them have received phenomenal opportunities in the past few years. Read on for our guide on how to win a swimming scholarship to a USA University - we would love for you to be the next swimming star!

If you want to give yourself the best chance of getting a scholarship to compete at the college level, you have to meet certain distance and time requirements. These conditions can be found on our Athletics page right here

High school student-athletes will need to focus on the recruitment process, as well as improving their swim times, if they wish to win a spot on a college team. The competition for a roster spot in a university team is intense, so the scholarship process raises many questions for student-athletes and their families.

Calvin Coetzee

Aspire Atlantic alumnus Calvin Coetzee is one of the most successful swimmers to come out of the scholarship programme.

Calvin Coetzee swimming for the Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders

Calvin had amazing swimming times in high school, and joined Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky. He began his college career competing in the NAIA, based on subject and academic criteria. Within 6 weeks of starting his college career, Calvin started to break University records. His high performance levels put him in good standing to succeed at the NAIA National Championships that March. By winning races and being on the podium in his events there, Calvin put himself on the radar of many top flight swimming programmes in the USA.

The University of Cincinnati in Ohio, an NCAA Division 1 programme, reached out to Calvin to join their elite programme on a full scholarship. To meet the NCAA D1 requirements, Calvin just had to complete his first semester at Lindsey Wilson. Subsequently, Calvin has started his classes at Cincinnati, and will start representing the Cincinnati Bearcats in January of 2021.

Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Swimming Scholarship

  • Get a formal coach.
  • Working with a dedicated coach can make you stand out from the competition. This can also help you improve results and Personal Bests on a regular basis.
  • Be mindful of your presence on social media.
  • We live in a world where our personal lives are spread over vast social networks. Pay attention to what people find when they google your name or search for you on  a social media platform. Having a profile picture that shows how funny and awesome you are is great, but remember the programs don't want to recruit partygoers. Mostly, they are looking for smart, intelligent, and responsible young people.
  • Focus on Academics.
  • High school marks are essential to the scholarship process, because students who do not meet requirements will be ineligible to compete in the NCAA. Maths Literacy is also discouraged as it is not recognised by the NCAA; however, there are 2 other sports associations available for students who take maths literacy.
  • Record your competitions and training sessions.
  • Coaches like to see how you compete under pressure, how you train and how you continuously improve your abilities. Therefore, the more video footage you have, the better!
  • Support Circle
  • Surround yourself with family and friends who have a positive impact on you and your dreams of studying abroad.

Remember, it's always the perfect time to begin your journey towards studying at the university of your dreams. Sign up here for a free consultation with one of our recruitment experts. You could join over 300 student-athletes already placed in the USA, competing at the highest level and earning a world-class degree!


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