Coach's Corner

Swimming and College Admissions

Those of you thinking about where your son or daughter may be going to school and striving for a top of the line school may find this article interesting.

There are two salient points that I would like to draw your attention to:

  1. At Yale, all the entry requirements get whittled down to a number and added up using their special algorithms. The resulting number is going to be a 1, 2, 3, or a 4. 1’s get in. 2’s are maybes. 3’s & 4’s are out – unless:

a) their parents are very important donors

b) the child is nationally ranked in a sport-- which also implies that if you are a 2, being a nationally ranked athlete would have a strong influence on your “maybe status.” (presently DOLF has 1 nationally ranked athlete and another who has been ranked multiple through the season, but not quite at the end of the season.)

2. Sometimes the requirements you think you need for schools necessitate so much time going from one thing to another, you do not ever get to actually think about what you are doing and learning. This means you do not fully process what you are learning and stifles your creativity. Thinking about reducing your number of activities and doing a few really well might be something meaningful to consider. See

Along these lines, I would like to share an excerpt from a friend of mine who is the Head of Admissions of a Top Florida School:

“.....Likewise, every admissions officer that I have ever met values deeper participation in one area versus superficial participation in many.

However, a student’s academic record is the most important factor in an admissions decision. Extracurricular involvement can help in close situations, but they will not make up for serious deficiencies in the classroom. In other words, if a student says his/her grades could have been much higher if he/she had not been swimming so much, my response would be that he/she should have spent less time in the water and more in the library.

Now at this point I am only talking about students with average talent. If a swimmer has the talent to be a recruited student athlete, their talent can make up for a multitude of sins. I have known of many marginally qualified swimming athletes who have been admitted to prestigious schools based upon their swimming ability.

I do believe that most admissions people understand the commitment made by swimmers. The long hours, early and late, is a sign of commitment that is real and appreciated by most. How much appreciation will depend upon the school. I will say that I cannot think of another activity that is better than swimming.”

The Only Six Words Parents Need to Say to Their Kids About Sports

From an article by student leadership development expert Tim Elmore

In it he discusses research on what parents say before and after the game (meet/prctice) to encourage their kids. Elmore suggests: "Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as [kids] perform are:

Before the Competition:

  • Have fun.
  • Play hard.
  • I love you.

After the competition:

  • Did you have fun?
  • I’m proud of you.
  • I love you."

It gets even better. Researchers Bruce Brown and Rob Millerasked college athletes what their parents said that made them feel great and brought them joy when they played sports..... the six words they most wanted to hear their parents say: “I love to watch you play (swim).

Useful Articles