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US College Swimming Scholarships: Here’s What You Need to Know

Have you dreamed of going to university in the United States? Has your secondary school swim career been motivated by a swimming scholarship to a top college in the US? Leaving home for university is one of the most momentous occasions in a teen’s life, but can also be overwhelming, especially when discussing international schools and the expense. If you want to make this time less stressful, there are a few things you should know about US college swimming scholarships.

Eligibility for US Swimming Scholarships

Swimming has produced more Olympic medalists than any other sport for the United States, and college swimmers, current and former, make up the majority of the Olympic Team. It’s no surprise that you want to go to university in the United States and compete at the college level and beyond; however, there is more to earning an athletic scholarship than just being a great swimmer and loving the sport.

United States swimming scholarships are competitive for international students, which is why colleges require their top international athletes also to have outstanding academic records. Requirements will vary between schools, and you should be sure to check with each school you are interested in before applying.

When you are applying for US swimming scholarships, you’ll also need to know your swim record, including personal best times, records, competitions you have competed in, rank in your nation or school’s history, and any other noteworthy athletic achievements. You’ll also want to speak to any professional swimming experience you may have, including coaching.

NCAA Division 1 and 2 colleges are limited to the number of athletic scholarships they are allowed to offer. D1 teams can offer ten men’s and 14 women’s scholarships, while D2 teams can offer eight scholarships each to men and women. With students applying from all around the world, these athletic scholarships are some of the most competitive in the world.

Before you start applying for scholarships, you need to work with your coaches to get college recruiters and coaches to notice you. College scouts usually only attend the largest meets internationally. However, the swimming recruitment process also requires a lot of direct outreach, including emailing colleges and coaches with invitations to watch you swim that outline your achievements and expected results. You can also send videos of your competitions if coaches from the United States cannot watch you swim in person.

Why You Should Swim in the United States

Not only does the United States produce many NCAA champions and Olympic athletes, but it also offers some of the best swimming programs in the world. There are currently more than 500 swimming programs available in the United States with fantastic training facilities and Olympic sized pools for student-athletes.

The goal of US swimming programs is not centered around the Olympics or world championships, though the atmosphere is always competitive. Athletes can compete regionally and nationally with many travel opportunities for the top members of the team. Many of the top college swimmers have gone on to compete at the Olympics and become some of the most well-known athletes in the world, including Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Allison Schmitt, and Mark Spitz.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can qualify for a US college swimming scholarship, start the process with Study and Play USA.

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An Aussie's Transformative
US College Journey

By Study & Play Director, Chris Bates