What High School Coaches Need to Know About College Recruiting by David Marsh, SwimMAC Carolina (2013)



I would like to welcome Dave Marsh to the NISCA track.  There is probably nobody better to give this talk than Dave.  He started out as a young club coach and became one of the successful college coaches of all time; where he ran one of the most-efficient, comprehensive, best-prepared recruiting machines in Swimming.  He did just a brilliant job with kids and their families, getting them interested and getting them to Auburn.  And now he has come back as an older coach with different perspective at the club level, who is preparing kids for all levels of collegiate Swimming: I, II, III, NAIA.  And he is doing what all of us do: trying to help our kids find the right match.  And we know that… you know match is one of the vaporous terms, but it is absolutely real.  Kids know when they have a match and we know when they have a match, and when they do it worked perfectly.  And that is what he is starting to do with his kids.  So Dave, thank you for being here.

[Marsh begins]

Thanks George; thank you.  I was up late last night and it was interesting because I was trying to collect my thoughts for the first talk because that was in the big room and that is always intimidating.  And so I was quite intimidated, but trying to deliver something that had some meaning to it.  So it was my goal to do something like that.


But I ended up… for some reason I could not find a pen, but I kind of worked on what in my mind the sport looks like right now.  And you cannot read this, obviously, because it is pink.  But what it has to do with here is the… you know it starts with: recruiting athletes, signing them up, learn-to-swim, junior team.  Goes through: ignition, learn strokes, learn to practice, learn to race.  And then you get 11-14, and 11-14 you kind of lean toward maybe a little bit more of a high-performance track or you are going to kind of go the way of a participation swimmer.  You know, I have a daughter that is high performer and I have one that is a participation.  And so they just kind of find themselves doing that, or a coach inspires them, or they have some moment where they flipped the switch.


And then at 15-17 age, that window of time after that, the high school swimming kind of pulls them then.  You do not have to worry about them stopping then; they get to be connected with the high school team, they feel like they are valued.  They feel like they are generally at least appreciated on their high school campus; they get some recognition, normally, for being an athlete rather than just a floppy swimmer.  And so we have a good thing.  Then it is time for that deep-practice stuff I talked about in the other talk.  That is when, if they want to be good, they need to get into it; they need to get into real intentional and deep, deep practice.  And then obviously learn advanced strategies.


And how it pertains to this is: the college experience is really the centerpiece.  It used to be college was the top of the rung.  This was the biggest thing you did was you swam in college, like when I swam.


Quick background on me: I did not start swimming until I was 15 years-old, when I got cut from the baseball team.  And my first high school swim meet, I was a 1:23 in the 100-yard freestyle in 10th grade, not 9th grade.  So that was my background.  From Miami, Florida.  By my senior year, I won consolation finals in the 500 freestyle in the Florida State meet with a 4:50; so I got better at that.  I was 58 in 100 back.  In the next four years, I went to Indian River for two years and then to Auburn.


And I do not like overlooking junior college Swimming because it was really good for me.  One, I was not a good student.  Two, I thought I was a good swimmer and Indian River was that intermediary step where I still did not realize I was not a good swimmer.  Like I became the best high school swimmer on my team; at Indian River I became one of the best swimmers during that time.  So I kind of never knew I was not really good.  I thought I was really good because I was the best swimmer at my high school and I got my picture in the paper.


Although my picture in the paper is kind of funny.  In high school, they had this great shot of me doing butterfly.  And understand I am in high school.  I am 6’2”-6’3”, about 135 pounds.  I have a big afro, because those were cool—you know Linc [Hayes] had an afro, I had to have an afro, with a pick on it.  I had chipped teeth, because they said, you know, your chipped teeth at part of your character.  I had big, old chipped teeth.  And I had braces on my teeth.  That was me in my senior year.  And I got in the newspaper and I am like doing a butterfly stroke.  I have got a little muscle right here; you know, that one muscle I had, it was showing in the picture.  But underneath it said: Swim outlook poor.  So even then, I did not get it.


But I think the college experience, my pathway, my personal experience of college was a complete and utter personal changer for me.  It was where… through Swimming, but in the window of time especially of junior college and colleges, where I became really the person I am today in so many ways.  So this is a near-and-dear topic.


At the other end of it, you know I coach professional swimmers now.  And the… well I coach a lot of swimmers, but the ones I coach day-in/day-out are older, normally more professional; I have a couple of high school swimmers that are high level that swim with me regularly.  But it is really clear when it comes to that level: it is medal intentions.  Other than that you do not really need to swim; or if you are going to swim, do it for recreational purposes, you do not really need to swim with the group we are forming because it is a very small group.


So college….  And this past year I coached a group for the first time in about 23 years, since I coached Las Vegas Gold back in the late 90s.  It was the first time I worked with high school kids the whole year and walked them through the whole season.  I kind of wanted to build that in at the end of the talk, but I knew I was going to run out of time.  But I just kind of discovered a lot of stuff.


One is that high school kids do not listen very well.  Like you have got to say it over and over and over again; like, it took five or six times.  Say, wait a minute, you think what I told you yesterday wasn’t the truth?  Like you need to do that same thing I told you yesterday; why am I having to say it again today?  The pros are a little bit better at doing that, or they blow you off and then you just do not bother with the pros.  You know if they are not going to listen, you just kind of go, Okay, well I’ll bring it up some other time, not going to….  But high school kids: no, you know you have to change this.  This is what we are doing, and change it.


And the other thing is that we did not do very much.  My intention, my plan, was to do about 55,000 a week.  Most weeks we got 25,000-30,000 in because I just could not watch them doing so many bad things.  I could not watch them… we started sets over again; I would adjust sets to make them smaller so that they did not lose their strokes after a short distance.  And so it was interesting.


And what pertains this was helping seven people with the college process.  I had not done that kind of walk-them-all-the-way-through with their parents until this year.  And part of why, when I was asked what I wanted to talk about, I said, “You know what I think a lot of club coaches do not really know the…” (what word do I use, I am being taped right now) “the sham sometimes college recruiting is.”


So college recruiting is sales, right?  So college recruiting is: I am going to try to get you to come to my school for as little money as I have to pay for the most quality I can get.  That is it.  That is a good formula, and if you are going a good college coach you operate that way—that is how you do it and you will have a chance of doing great things.  No doubt, the formula at Auburn that really worked well was if I could get a really-good swimmer to come on a smaller scholarship, it was gold.  If I could get a really-good one to walk on or, like Bill, come for books and go from a coming in from books to be in a world champion, it worked out really well.  And so we built our program on guys like Bill that came in and made massive improvement during their window of time it at Auburn those days.


But I will go through some of thinking I had when I was going through it with these guys, the college recruiting process.  And I am not telling you anything about SAT scores or that kind of stuff; I am just kind of relearning that right now because I have a senior son in high school.  But he is not looking… maybe he will run Cross Country in college, but he is not a swimmer for sure.  He is actually getting more college mail than I have ever seen anybody get.  You know he has a good ACT, so he is just getting flooded.  Right now, especially small liberal-art schools are dying for students.  And he is getting several academic scholarship offer and he has, you know, 29 ACT.  It is good, but it is not like crazy-good.  But then again they know if you go and you pay that much, you will pay the other half and you will still be a student, and ideally a good student.


But how do I want to start this?  So you heard me in the previous talk—if you were there—that at [Swim]MAC, college is an end.  So it is one of our distinct ends, which is pretty significant considering all the things we could write down.  But what I have concluded is that every kid should swim in college.  It is such a huge deal to go and just be on a swim team when you get to college.  I do not care: Division II, Division III, whatever level, swim.  Go that first year and swim in college.  Work to where your high school kids are encouraged to go do that.


They will meet the best human beings in the world.  They will make the best transition.  They will be watched by… you know, they will have that peer influences, mostly for the good—not all for the good, but mostly for the good.  Maybe, most important, they will have an adult, a staff of adults, monitoring them.  And if they get too far off the boundaries, they are going to get smacked back in or you are going to get called at home going, Do you know your kid is doing this?  You are not going to get that otherwise in college.  And then you have a ton of resources.  And especially in Division I, there are a lot of resources available to a… above and beyond what the normal student body has, including unlimited tutoring and early selection on classes, things like that.  It is a big benefit to have in most college situations.  And in swimming in college, it is an opportunity to come back as a role model at the club.  So the club kind of benefits in a 360-way from that.


There is obviously Division I.  And I had a good swimmer, 52 100 freestyler the last year, go to the University of Georgia.  She was not fast enough to swim on the team, but she swam on a club team there and she has had the best experience on the club.  There is actually a national club championship—it was at Georgia Tech this year—and they said there was, I do not know how many, 500 swimmers maybe at the meet from all of the colleges across the country.  They score points, they wear their Georgia gear, and they get on the blocks and race like other people.  And I was kind of surprised, pleasantly surprised, at that, because I was like Why are you going to Georgia? Why don’t you take a half-scholarship to this place or go to here?” because she was good enough to get scholarship places.  She says, “I love Georgia; I want to go there.”  And so it was really nice to hear she has had a great experience.  And so there is even that, which I did not know that… I knew it existed, but I did not know it could be that good of experience.


D-2 [Division II] is changing a lot.  There are D-2 programs springing-up everywhere right now.  Colleges have figured out that if they will support, with some scholarships, they will attract students.  Queens is the best example for me, because I know there situation.  Queens University of Charlotte started at team two years ago; 6.5 scholarships, men and women.  And if they can give a half-scholarship to somebody, then they are going to pay the other half: that is a good student.  Their profile of their campus is 70% women; they want men.  So there is no… they do not care how many women are on the team, what they want is a full squad on the men’s side to help with the ratio.


The other thing is the swimmers are the absolute greatest profile on campus as far as academics, extracurricular activities and giving back to the university.  And so that is part of why there is even more and more D-2 programs, D-3 programs starting Swimming.  They do not have to have great facilities, although you know Queens built a new pool.  But you can have just an okay facility and have a good team and a good experience.


NAIA is another one that is blowing-up.  Bill Pilczuk just took the assistant job at Savannah College of Art and Design, so that has all of a sudden become a great option.  If I have got a good swimmer, I would send them to Bill, you know; a really good swimmer, actually really fast, especially a sprinter, I would trust with Bill.  Sam Freas out in Oklahoma, somewhere, and he is obviously a world-class coach.  Brooks Teal is at St. Andrews, he is an outstanding coach and he has got more money than he knows what to do with—he has got a ton of scholarships out there.  So NAIA is, again, blowing-up in a little bit the same way.  They are trying to attract students using the swimming, and the profile of the typical swimmer is the advantage there.


NJCAA: I have to say that because that was…—I do not know if it is called that, NJCAA, anymore.  But junior college.  I went to Indian River, but there are some good options out there; certainly Indian River is still a really-good option.  It does not have to be for people just with bad grades like me; it can be for people who kind of do not know what they want to do and they want to go there for a little while first.


Money.  Let us do the money.  There is need-base, academic and athletic, really that are the big pots.  One of the things club coaches should understand and high school coaches understand is there is really more money available in the academic and need-based world than there is in the athletic.  So you want to… when they move in to 9th/10th grade, you want to make sure that they understand that.


In fact we just started this year at MAC where we had an orientation for our 8th graders turning 9th grade to tell them that exact thing; to say, You know what, as much as your parents have been telling you that it starts counting now, it starts counting in a lot of ways.  And so getting a little bit more serious approach going in to that 9th grade year, I would recommend you guys do that with your rising 9th graders, maybe during the summer before.  Have the parents in the room, and just try to get them to not go see, see, see because then that loses the effect.  So, do not do that.  But that is something we just started this year.


But there is… at the end of this, those who know where to correct me, correct me if I am going down somewhere wrong here—because we have enough college folks in here that we can get some give feedback on that.  Generally, you can combine need-base money with athletic money.  Some case, it depends on the institution.  Academic, generally you can combine too; to some degree it depends on the kind of academic.  But, overall, if it is institutional (Am I right, TJ?  Yeah) it can be combined with athletic.


So the deal is this, and men’s is the best example.  You have 9.9 scholarships [maximum allowed for a Division I men’s Swimming & Diving team].  If you had got 30% academic based, 20% athletic based, you are only using 20% of the 9.9 scholarships.  Those 9.9 scholarships are allowed to be used if they are a fully-funded team, which I am talking about kind of the big schools right now.  If they are a fully-funded team, that is that a four year window.  The post grads do not count anymore: they can give whatever money they want to the post-grads or whatever the institution situation is.  So 9.9 for that four-year window.  At Auburn a lot of times I would have guys be on peanuts and then in the fifth year they would be on a full ride.  And I said take your time, take three semesters; and back then there was not the pressure to try to get them out for saving money.


[audience member]:  9.9 is the ongoing number, it is not every year?


[Marsh]:  Okay, great question.  So 9.9 is the ongoing number, right.  So it is not a new 9.9 every year; it is 9.9 you have to fit everybody in there.  So if you graduate say 1.3 worth of scholarships, one kid quits—there are always one or two kids who quit—so maybe you get another 20% or 30% that way; then you have 1.5 scholarships to recruit with the next year.  So you probably, most college teams are going to try to get four or five kids on 1.3 scholarships and kind of put together a package.  Or they will have the philosophy of: I am going to get one biggie with a full-ride and then we will spread-out a bunch of book scholarships, or little amounts, so people can sign scholarships.


[audience]:  To exempt their aid, they have a 105 on an ACT sum score, they have to have 3.4 or 3.5 grade point average, or a sum score in SAT Math and Verbal of 1250.


[Marsh]:  Great, that is stuff I did not know.  And that is an NCAA rule? (Yes.)  That is new.  There is definitely ways to learn more about this; I am kind of trying to give you the backroom a little bit of what… at least what thinking is.


Women’s is 14.0. [A Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving team can have a maximum of 14.0 scholarships.]  You can have a pretty darn good team on 14.0.  Like you can make some… as far as trying to compete for higher levels, you can make some mistakes with 14.0; you cannot make too many.  If you are giving a kid a full-ride and you have 9.9; that is a killer.  Because, generally, most schools will not let you cut the scholarship off after the first year.  But that is a question—and you probably are going to want to write this one down.  But that was a question a student once asked: What’s your policy on increasing and reducing scholarships?  In some cases, if it is an institution policy, actually the student-athlete is kind of protected better; the bad news is the coach does not have the flexibility to do that and it is kind of a shame for the team.  Because sometimes people should be cut, because they are not doing the deal right.  But that is what is what it is.


In Division II, 8.1 as the maximum, but I think a lot of Division IIs have a limitation there.  And then Division III is non-scholarships, but a lot of those schools have nice aid packages.  Academically, leadership scholarships; they get really creative with the ways they can get people on campus, so there are actually pretty-good money available at Division IIIs.  And then there are also a lot of schools where… like I live two blocks from Davidson College and if you get in there academically on your own, they kind of fill all the need.  So if there is a need, if the family income is not able to pay for it, they will pay the rest of it.  But the swim teams only has like one scholarship to split-up amongst a bunch of people.  So there are a lot of situations like that where there are very unique to the school.


Anything else about the aid part; the athletic, academic or need-based aid?  I will give you an example: at Duke, I asked Dan [Duke’s Head Swimming coach] one time, “So what’s the number?” He said, Well if your family makes under $150,000, they are considered need.  So if you are 150 or less, you are probably going to get some academic aide.  By the way, Duke is starting to give athletics scholarships, I hear, this coming year; so that actually will be nice to have them.  On the women’s side only, but there are starting to add scholarships.  And Dan is a great coach, so that is a good option for people.


Fifth-year money.  Again fifth year money is a question you need to ask at the front side of the whole recruiting process.  “Do you give fifth year scholarships?” and “Do I have to work my fifth year for those scholarships?” and “Do you consider giving more than you might have given during the course of the four years?”  The time to ask that question is before you sign with the school, not after.  Because a lot of coaches have this as an individual kind of policy; it is not necessarily a university policy.  If it comes out of their budget, then obviously they are going to tend not to want to do that.


And I think in reality, if you can take five years and get little bit better grades; or we had a lot of guys at Auburn that would actually work toward a Masters degree during the window of the five years.  And start you know to get some academics done toward your Masters, to take advantage of every bit you can.  You [an audience member] even did the exemption during your time where he took a like a semester off based on an Olympic waiver and then we could apply a full-ride beyond his eligibility to that semester too; so we actually got four full-ride semesters.  So we tried to get him back for how much he did for us


[audience member]:  On your scholarships, did it make any difference if they were resident, non-resident, or whether it was full?


[Marsh]:  No.  That is a good great question, thank you—I did not think to tell you.  So the scholarship is just the percentage of the total.  So if you are in-state, the reality is everybody thinks if I am in-state, I should get more because in-state.  It is the opposite: you are likely to get a smaller offer, percentage-wise, because your cost is less; so it is your mathematical formula for that in-state or the out-of-state.


So out-of-state is $30,000 to go… I was going to use $20,000, what am I thinking now?  When I was coaching, most of my career was at $20-something thousand was a full ride, I mean, it was incredible; it is $40,000 almost everywhere.  So if you have got $40K out-of-state, $20K in-state, and you are given a half-scholarship, the dollar value of it is $20 and $10 and the percentage of that is the same.  So out-of-state, actually, you are able to give more money than to the in-state.


There are some schools that have in-state waivers; it is kind of unusual.  I had it for a couple of years at Auburn, but they cut me off in 1999 with that, which really stunk because it was a great thing to get somebody in-state after one year.  Like Missouri has that.  Their deal is that in the summer-time you have to work and earn at least $2,000.  If you do that, you can go apply for in-state.


Who did I just talk to?  Oh Monty [Hopkins] at Cincinnati just told me earlier that that is kind of… at Cincinnati the scholarship have come back on the table, they are mostly in the form right now of waivers to get in-state for out-of-state kids.  So that is kind of cool.  So they are moving in a good direction too and he said they are planning on getting into the scholarship business beyond that down the road.  So it is nice to see one get reinstated.  Does that answer your question?  Okay; all right.


Let me get on the list here.  This is something that I have learned that did not know.  In Charlotte, especially south Charlotte, it seems like every student has to take five AP classes per semester.  And they stay up all night to study, they get tired, they cannot come to morning practice, they cannot have fun on weekends.  They get lockdown, you know: they have got to get into Stanford or an Ivy League school or whatever.


I think there are several schools that you would assume AP would be a bit positive, and it is not: it is literary no big deal.  So I think it is worth them not assuming that more APs is better.  In fact Rich DeSelm told me that UNC [University of North Carolina] is actually backing-off of their priority of how many AP class you have, being a great indicator help you get in.  It is like: they want to see you taking some, but actually too many, there is no advantage that.  They actually want to see a little bit more well-rounded student.  So in my state, so like an NC State, it is all grades; it is grades and test scores.  It is not essay and not that kind of stuff.  It is not what activities you are in, it is just grades and test scores.  So when you are advising the students, they need to look at that level too: what is involved in that.


Certainly I would say most schools, being on an athletic scholarship or in some cases being invited to walk-on is an advantage to getting admitted to the school.  Brian Barnes says the girl he has that just made the National Team, she actually got in on her own, but most of his girls get in because they are swimmers.  The academic requirements there are very high, but he can help get people in if they are on athletic aid.  But he said it is a big problem right now because football is starting to take all the waivers, so he is actually having a kind of battle with football a little bit on the waiver front.


Anything else on the pure academics side?  Because I will go down the recruiting a little bit.


So I have already said recruiting is kind of a show, it is kind of a sales thing.  And it is good because it is something that there is a lot to be learned from.  The recruiting process starts in 9th grade: you become a recruit when you start 9th grade.  You can call colleges anytime.  So the thing about getting called your junior year, July 1, the student-athletes can call the universities anytime.  They can text.  I do not know all the text rules….


[audience member]:  You cannot text back.


[Marsh]: Right, that is what I am talking about: you cannot text back, but they can text you.  Or they can email you or email text.


[audience member]:  You cannot e-mail back until September 1 of their junior year.


[Marsh]:  Okay you got that: September 1, junior year. (We need to have this be a dual presentation here with all the rules and the stuff.)


How recruiting kind of works is… at a lot of the bigger schools there is really… like at Auburn we had no budget for recruiting, so I could bring-in 100 people if I wanted to on recruiting trip and spend all kinds of money—if I had no discipline.  At Division II schools, or even some off the smaller schools, it is money coming out of their budgets.


So I would say in advising the student-athletes, first of all, five visits in the Fall is too many.  But they all want to take five.  My big advice on recruiting trips is: do not ever take three weekends in a row.  Two weekends in a row, then you need a weekend off because they are exhausting.  You stay up too late, you eat too much food, and you get behind academically and in swimming.  So the preference would be… I have not been tough-enough, like Dick Shoulberg to just limit people to three visit in the Fall, but the reality is three visit in the Fall is probably a good number.  Throw-in some unofficial visits, and you are probably okay.


Things to consider, some big picture things.  To me: the head coach; the head coach to me, in terms of the Swimming piece of it, is the big thing.  It is not the pool, it is not the lane lines, it is not the pretty girls or the pretty boys; it is the head coach.  Because the head coach is going to be the biggest difference-maker in the deal.


After that is the staff.  Because there is the staff chemistry and especially in some schools where the staff might coach all of one group, so that is going to be your coach probably all the time.  Some places, they spread out; at other places, like Arizona for example, they coach certain groups and that is their coach for the year.  At Auburn, we tended to kind of spread it out a little bit more, so that people get coach by kind of like the whole staff and in certain days they be with one.  (How do you do it, TJ? [by group])  So Wyoming does it group by group.  So I think the staff is the second thing.


And I think the team culture is the third thing.  There are clear team cultures at different schools, and your youngster will be affected by that team culture.  There is no doubt it will change them for the better or for the worse; they probably will not stay the same, though.  It is the peer factor, the peer influences: they are walking-in as freshmen, they have got seniors on the team, they have juniors on the team.  The context of that to me: my fear is locker-room talk.  My excitement is on the other side of it, where they can open-up their thinking to whole other levels of thoughts they did not have.


You know when I got to Auburn, Rowdy Gaines was on the team.  And I just did not even know people did what he did.  Like I did not know they could go that fast in practice; I thought those were only meet times.  So it opened-up a whole other thought for me that Oh my gosh, I guess you can go meet times in practice; that’s pretty cool.


I would say school culture would be next.  Every school has its own kind of culture, the way it is.  There are party schools, there are academic schools, there are…. Well, first of all, there is partying going-on at every school; you know, Christian schools, whatever, there is partying going-on in every school.  So do not think there is not.


School culture is easier to understand; it is probably the easiest thing to really know, it school culture.  If you go on an official visit and not tell the coach you are coming into town, and you just walk-around campus for about three or four hours, you will get the feel for the school culture.  And, you know, everybody knows Saturday night and Friday nights is kind of, you know, what it is.  But you will get a good feel for it.


In fact I always challenged recruits… because I knew Auburn had a real friendly atmosphere so I was never really worried about sending people out.  I would always say “Go walk around by yourself for an hour around campus.  Just go, nobody is going to watch you.”  And we might plant one or two people to kind of happen by them, you know, or something.  But for the most part, it was like they would run into people and go wow, these people are really nice down here.  Especially if they were from the North or from California or something, they would be surprised because people would say hi to them for no apparent reason and that was always impressive to people.


The support piece is becoming more and more important.  So kind of everybody has a strength coach; that is kind of the main one.  I think the trainer and the doctor, and those kind of things, generally they are the people who are employed by whatever medical group covers the athletic department.  Just understand, generally Swimming is not a priority to the support services.  They kind of have to be academically; they are pretty good there because academic people like swimmers because they are generally a little bit more academically oriented.


But I would say the general rule at most schools would be that they are not going to get high-level, specific attention in the dryland world; they are going to get general guidelines.  They are probably not going to learn how to do a proper squat one-on-one for, you know, six sessions, like they would have if they went to personal training gym in your home town.  So we have actually implemented in Charlotte as they get to that senior year before they get to college, you want them to learn basic things about how to jump properly, how to squat properly.  How to even do… you know not all the way up over the shoulders, but a clean at least with the proper technique.  Because you just know there are just a lot of people on a college team, and there are a lot of people that the strength coaches are in charge of.  And I am sure am not saying that is correct for every school; and you will not hear that on recruiting trip that Yeah, we do not teach the stuff very well, they are going to point out all the best stuff.


The [athletics] medical staff at the college normally is a secondary not a primary.  So normally when your child needs medical services, if it is something pretty serious, your insurance will get dinged first.  (I am talking like a parent right now.)  But your insurance gets dinged first, and then the secondary is college.  And there are a lot of services that are, you know, trainers and things like that that they are no charge.


But again, my opinion is that at a lot of places the best trainer, the best orthopedic is not the one that is the campus orthopedic or campus doctor [for athletics].  A lot of them, they know football needs, but they may not know swimmer shoulders.  So I would say, if you have swimmers at colleges that generally have issues during their time, I would get second opinions outside of the institutions before… do not let them just cut on them or do that kind of thing.  Because, again, a lot of times they are also part of a medical system who when they send them to a doctor, they make money on cutting them.  I am not saying they would do that necessarily, but the reality is: get a second opinion—is what I would say, along those lines.


Assisting coaches.  You know, unless there are the Florida guys, Harvey, you know, career assistants that have shown they staying somewhere for a long time, it is not a good idea to make a decision based on an assisting coach.  Because really, most places if you are doing a really good job as an assistant, you probably ought to be getting another job or a head job or the next level in your pathway to some point.  So there are a lot of changes that happen like that, and you hate to think this is the coach I loved and wanted to swim for and then they end up leaving.  It ends up being a disappointing thing because that was a reason you made the decision.


Improve your chances.  It is strange, but for a lot of colleges, to improve your chances, fill-out a questionnaire.  Because there are certain colleges that… and I want to say Rich told me that: he said something about I did not get a questionnaire for somebody.  That is the prompt to show they are interested and then they begin the recruiting process.  So fill out a questionnaire.  Or return an email, yeah.  So be engaged, you know.  But the questionnaire is good.


My daughter was filling-out a questionnaire the other day and she was like Dad, why are they asking me like my 100 breast time and that kind of stuff.  The reality is they do not really care, but it is probably good to put down anyway.  You know, you will get better at it, but, you know, she is what, 1:15, in a 100 yard breaststroke.  So just put it down, it is fine.  It is always interesting, like she has never done a mile in her whole life, so she has to put “no time”.  I said, “There’s a reason you’ve got to do the mile, see?  You have got to swim that some time; you have got to make it on that sheet.”


Improve your chances: go faster.  I mean, the reality is, get faster times.  At the end of the day, a .99 time versus a .01 time sounds better, and it probably is a little bit better.  And I do not mean to insult the college coaches in here, but, you know, a 45.99 versus a 56.12 is a lot more attractive—it just feels better.  So go faster.


And I really kind of hate to say this, but this is the reality.  In reality, most places—not everywhere, but most—go faster short course.  While long course times are nice, short course times get their attention a lot faster because they are in the business of short course.  Long courses, you know it is a good thing.  There are schools where I would say that they have developed for long course culture; there are not many.  I would say there are a lot less of those than there are a lot of those.  But I do think they kind of range everything between major schools; and I would say there are some major schools that do not emphasize.


And if I could turn this thing off now and not have any college coaches listen to me, I would be able to tell you, you know, a couple… I would say in reality if you look at the results….  If you do an intense study of the amount somebody improves long courses, which is really what we ought to have the ammunition of since the database can almost press a button and get that right now, that is an impressive number there.  And if you are interested in becoming a world-class swimmer, you are interested in long course as a priority over short course.  But the reality is, for most schools, getting faster short course times is where the deal is.


We now have, at the end of our summer, our juniors in high school and our seniors, can have the option at the end of the summer to be go to a short course meet to shave at the end of the summer session, just because of that.  And it kind of ticks me off, but the reality is, like I said and looking at this thing, that college experience and the ability to get to a college-of-choice is rather than a college-by-default is maybe the best service we club coaches and high school coaches can give a student-athlete.  It is an amazing difference getting to your #1 school versus your safety school or your #3 school.  If you can go where you wanted to go or get admitted somewhere because of the swimming piece of it, that is… you did an amazing service, you changed that person’s life.  And our sports changed a life.  That is way cool.


I am sorry: there is a question at the back.


[inaudible audience question]


[Marsh]:  They know short course meters; I mean, that is not a problem.  But yeah, short course meters will be the same thing; they will do a 10% conversion probably in short course meters.  But they understand in Canada you are going to be doing more long course than the Americans.  But most of the Canadians you are fast enough to get the attention of a lot of colleges, so that should not be a problem.


Another way to improve your chances is be tall, have big feet, big hands, great technique; so it is basically have a lot of potential.  Have potential.  Most college coaches that are good prefer an underdeveloped kid over a developed kid.  A developed kid can generally go faster times, but if you are a little underdeveloped then most college coaches that are the people, the places the better kids probably want to swim, they are going to want to… they are kind of excited to see a lanky kind of you know fumbly kind of person.  I think that is probably a generally good thing, probably more so in the men.  I think in the women side, you want to see a little bit more of an athletic, connected; you know, somebody who can move with a decent gait that look like they are an athlete and they can transition the athletics over.  Maybe a late transition from another sport, that is always real attractive to college coaches.  Usually it means some significant money if you can sell that piece of it.


Underwater kicking.  I mean NCAAs is an underwater event, that is short course yards.  It is probably a really good idea to do a lot underwater work for a high school swimmer because you can go a lot faster that way.  The likelihood that you will fall-off because of bad technique in college or something else… if you are really good underwater in high school, you are going to be really good in college underwater because you are going to do more of it.  So it is all good underwater.


Other ways to improve your chances: pursue the college coach.  So pursue the recruiting process.  Way too many student-athletes in high school, they just think I am getting recruited, I am laying back and that is it.  No.  If you really want to go to two or three different places—you you’re your kind of idea—then pursue them.  Send them updates; you know, do the bump at meets, say hi, that kind of stuff.  Let it be known that that is the place you are interested in.

Grades.  It only helps to have better grades.  There is not any college team in America that does not want to boast about their team GPA.  They want to be Academic All Americans.  Before your kids go to school emphasize that.  One of the biggest ways they can contribute to a team is be above the norm of the rest of the team.  Even if they are not a fast swimmer, that is a way they can keep their roster spot, that is a way they can add to the team, that is a way they can make the team look better.


Weights and dryland.  I think like the junior year… we have kind of let our seniors begin to touch some weights and do a little bit more dryland to try to create a little more power for just at the end.  I am probably going to do that with the juniors coming up, because I have a bunch of skinny, underdeveloped swimmers because we do not really do any weights before that time.  So we are probably going to begin to do more, adding a little power to the program in that 11th grade, maybe some introduction to it in 10th they will learn kind of how to make the movements; that is a good thing.  I am generally against… you know, if I have a world-class-rising swimmer, I do not hurry that process at all.  To me the best way to put-on strength is to do with nature.  And you want to get that tips-of-your-toes kind of strength that happens just when God wants it to happen; you do not need to try to force that a whole lot.


More events is generally good, but excess events not necessarily.  If you look at the NCAA order, if you can figure out that you can go two events the middle day and one of them the last day at a pretty-high level, you are probably pretty-good; if you can spread it out between three days, that is okay.  The 50 Free in college—you need to tell your high school students—has lots of really good swimmers in it; so they do not need to be a 50 freestyler going into college.  It will help with their retention, because a good 50 time indicates some good things for the future.  But do not get their hearts set on being a 50 freestyler, because the best thing they can do for their career development too is to swim up a little bit early and then come down.  As Tyler McGill tells me when I made him do the 500 free first…. He said, “You made me do the 500 free the first couple of years.”  I am like, I didn’t know you were like a 51 flyer/50-point flyer long course; I’m sorry, you were skinny.  So yeah, I think more events.


Or be related or be the best friend of a five-star-plus recruit, that might help you be recruited too.  I am not joking: I have actually signed some people because their little sibling coming-up was a superstar, so we: yeah a little bit more money for this person to make sure they are coming.  But yeah.


So when a college coach visits a club, this is kind of cool.  When a college coach visits a club, it is a great thing for your club.  It does not matter where they are from, literally.  It is nice if they are from a fancy-pants school, but the reality is a college coach on the deck is a good thing.  You ought to be playing it up with your club and your high school swimmers.  It is good for all of your folks to know.  A lot of college coaches are doing kind of spring club visits, where they go out and….  They cannot really talk to anybody yet, but they are just going to kind of peruse the team and see what is going on, on the deck and see if they can pick out some folks that might fit in to that profile.  Plus just letting you know that they are present.  And those are terrific things.  Usually they will be targeting on you know one or two- one or two kids and want to know about them.


They can talk to your group, but not about their school.  So they can talk about… being a successful college student, can be a topic.  You can give them a topic that is… but they cannot say well being a swimmer at—let’s use Florida as an example—being a swimmer at Florida is this, this and this.  You cannot recruit like that.  But they can say, you know, they can give a 15-minute talk to the actual group of high school kids in a generic sense.


With 8th graders and below, I have actually had them come in and do stroke work every now and then, which is kind of fun.  And generally college coaches like doing that because they do not get to work with little kids normally, and of course it just lights-up any little kid.  Most college coaches are pretty cool with that.  I mean if you just ask them, say, “Would you mind kind of just inspiring these kids for ten minutes by giving them your favorite Wyoming freestyle drill.”  And it is awesome.  But you have got to make sure there are no 9th graders in that group; if you are going to give any instruction, that will get them in trouble.


By the way, a lot of times the institution will have a policy against that.  So do not be offended if they say, Well, wait he did it, that school did it, but this school does not do it.  Sometimes institutions, especially at schools that might be in trouble or have been in trouble, they are going to tighten the screws down more in every area, even any image of doing something a little beyond they are going to shut that down.  So just understand there is an individual piece that to: the NCAA rules allows it, but the institution might not.


And if you can find two compliance people in the country that agree on more than about five things, it will be a miracle.  At every school… you would think the NCAA rules would be checked out by the compliance people in a very similar way: they are not—they are not.  It is amazing.  And it is even amazing that the rules are… there are even schools that can kind of get a lot more because they have worked hard at the relationship with the NCAA, so they can get waivers in quicker and easier.  There is a lot of that kind of stuff.  So it is a political process when it comes to compliance.  And you do not want to… you hate compliance, so you do not want to raise the flag of compliance either.


We have had a couple of the coaches run clinics.  You have got a pre… it has got to be advertised, it has got to be open to everybody, it has got to have no restrictions on it, and then they can run a little clinic when they are there.  So that is kind of fun too, if they are willing to do it.  And then they can speak with your coaching staff, and then they can also speak with parents.  But, again, with parents they cannot be recruiting for their school; if there are parents of 9th graders in there.


(Is that all that?  Is that correct?  Any of the other college coaches?  Okay.)  I think that is all correct.  Anything else on that front that you can do on a trip?  We are trying to wear you guys out; so when you come, wear out those college coaches.  Put them to work, because they can inspire those kids in one day so much more than you are going to inspire the kids in the next month just by talking to the kid.  And again, it does not matter where they are from: a college coach wearing their college logo is something we need to impact our sport a lot more.  Go out there…. But ask, do not wait for them to offer, just ask.  Do you mind working on this group for a little bit? or Does your school allow you to talk to my group at the end of practice for a few minutes? And they generally love doing it as it is another way to kind of reach out to a lot more people for them


[audience member]:  We [college coaches] are not allowed to ask to do specific sets.  We cannot ask like the coach, say like hey, would you run through some underwater kicking?  But it is amazing how well kids will swim when a college coach is visiting.


[Marsh]:  Oh yes, absolutely: save your good sets for those nights.


All right… so I did not realize I am kind of lollygagging though this; let me give you a little bit more so we have time for questions.


On a home visit.  So when a college coach goes into a home, you need to tell if they do that, that is a big deal.  If they are going into a kid’s home, they want him: they want them to come to school there.  They are not going to go into their home unless they want them.  And the swimmers need to understand, and Jimmy Tierney put it really well when he came through one time and he said, “I look at everything; we are watching everything they do.”  Like literally.  When they are on a recruiting trip, we listen to everything they are saying; we are watching what they are doing, what they look like, how they are interacting with our athletes.  On a home visit, same thing.


I have had young people and you just want to say to them, You are losing thousands of dollars as you are talking back to your mom right now in front of me.  Do you understand that?  Your poor manners are costing you and your family thousands of dollars right now.  Because I am not going to take a chance on a wisecrack like that.  I may still offer you some money, but, guess what, it was going to be a half, now it is a quarter, you know.  And if you want to come, it is fine, I will put up with you.  And if I do not like you, I will, you know, have to deal with you in a different way, but I kind of know what I am getting.  So… first of all, they need to respect their parents, anyway, and you too, you know.  I think that is something that you know… how is their interaction with you.  That is not the day to say yo, wassup; you know treat you like a coach that day—we are going to do our respect thing.


If a coach comes into your home, please make sure you check what they do not like to eat.  I had to eat a bowl of mushrooms once.  This lady, “Do you like chili?”  Yeah, I love chili; that is great.  And so I got there and it was mushroom chili.  Oh my gosh.  And when you are recruiting her, you have got to eat everything on that plate; and I cannot stand mushrooms.  [laughing]  So have the folks find out what the coach likes to have.


Write a handwritten note after a coach comes to visit you.  Not an email; I recommend a handwritten note, every college coach is impressed with that. Because they get it so infrequently, a handwritten note is a big deal.


Early or late signing.  Most colleges will kind of say they are not getting much money left at early signing; usually seems to be some money left during late signing.  But early signing is a pretty normal thing.  Underdeveloped boys, sometimes it is crazy to sign early.  I have had several sign-up the last couple of years in the early window—I had a couple had a couple this year—and they blew-up during the year, and it is like Sorry it is the same scholarship, you are not getting any more money.  And I told them all that too.  I said, “You might wanna wait.”  I said, “You should wait ‘till late signing ‘cause you will get a lot more money when you blow up, and you’re gonna blow up.”  But it is like there is this pressure at the school, and pressure to put that hat on and do the little high-school thing.  It is nuts.  I even think for boys a gap year should be considered for a lot of them, the ones that are really underdeveloped and skinny.


Again, if they have the times, they are going to get the offer; if they do not have time and they have potential, they might get a little bit.  But the proof is in the pudding: if you have done the times, it could be worth a hundred thousand dollars to drop a few seconds an event.  South Carolina has their high school State meet in October; I had a kid a couple years ago dropped from 1:54 to 1:49 200 IM.  He was not even getting any attention from this one school that he wanted to go to—a good school—and he ended-up with like a half-scholarship because of that drop right there in the Fall.  So that development is a big deal.


[audience member]:  How late in the Spring do they go?


[Marsh]:  It is the second week in April.  So the late signing is the second weekend in April.


[audience]:  If your like Sectional championships are in May….


[Marsh]:  I mean if they have money left over, but by May they are probably tight.  Florida, you probably be done with money by then.  Do you ever have money in May?


[inaudible comments from audience]


[Marsh]:  Yeah.  So the theme there is do your research, on that academic front especially.


Let me go quickly: representation during the summer.  It has been kind of interesting to see the different versions of that that are available.  At the selection meets, and I think at Nationals too, athletes are allowed to dual-represent or they can swim for their home team and train with their college team.  Florida does a lot of that, which is awesome.  They can represent their college team and stay and train at home.  The dual representation though, I would say with the colleges get them to agree to… you know ask that question on the visit or in the process: Will you dual represent my swimmer if they are not coming home?  And then the reciprocal should be for you: you should dual-represent them, if they are at that school.  So at the big meets, put your club team.


We do that every one of us our swimmers, including our pros, we just ask them who they want to do dual represent.  And I just think the more recognition like that, the better for all of us in the sport.  But, you know, a lot of colleges do not do it.  And a lot of times, it is not because of mal-intent; it is just they get busy: they are filling out the thing, they are doing online meet entry, boom, boom, done.  You know, they do not really think a lot of it; but if you ask, that will bring up the radar and most will do that.


You know, we have had some swimmers from like Duke and NC State that train with us and represent us; but it was a selection meet, so they actually paid the swimmers’ way even though they were representing and training with us.  So some schools, that is allowed, which is pretty cool.  Like Faith Johnson trained with us this summer, and represented us because she is from North Carolina, so she got the money from the LSC.  But I think she… we let wear some Tennessee clothing, so that was kind of how we did that.  Then Cammile Adams, she represented Aggie, so Steve could pay for her—because she would not get the money from us—but she wore a MAC cap.  So there are things like that you can do with different people, and cool guys like Steve Bultman usually work that kind of stuff out for people.


We have gone to, in the summertime, a college group.  We actually have a broke-out, college group.  I do not know if… for a lot of people I do not know if you can you can afford it or have pool space to do it, but it has been really successful.  We have a group of… this year we had 25 that trained in the summer.  They went 6:00-8:00 in the morning and that was it; they just went one good session.  And most of them swam in one shave meet at the end of the summer.  That is mostly what most colleges expect in the summer: if you just will stay in-shape and get a good workout in, that is great.  The higher-level swimmers just swam in the groups with the Senior 1 group or a couple of them with Team Elite.  So that might be something you want to do.


And we also had our senioritis seniors that are going to college, they went in that group, too.  So like, yeah, you go ahead and go with that group since you are emotionally already there.  And that gets them away from some of the little kids and they do not have the bad influence.  Because they get restless when they get close to that senior year, a lot of them have a foot out the door and they are not much help at that point.  But you do not want to throw them out, and like have them join a different team.  You do not want them leave your program angry when they are going to college.  You want them to have finished a good experience and go away happy, but you will be like: just go away.


Generally, I do not know if you can expect a ton of communication.  In the recruiting process is generally the most attention that your good swimmer will ever get from that coach.  I should not say that, not ever.  But like they will never come back to your house and eat dinner, eat mushrooms, again; like they are not going to come back.  Like they are going to do one home visit and that is it.  They are not going to come see you every season, and sit down and review the season with you and layout how much progress they have made.  So just understand.


And a lot of times, you know, attention is currency, right.  So in some cases, and certainly I did this at Auburn, you try to give somebody a lot of attention because you know you are not going to give them lot of money.  So you want to make them really want to come, and then Well, we can only give you 20%.  And then maybe you are expecting more or whatever, but maybe that relationship carried-through a little bit.


On the money part, I would say that the most leverage you will ever have is your high school senior year when you are down to two or three schools—that is the most leverage you will ever have.  After you are in school, you may get a little increase; you probably are not going to get a decrease unless you do something really stupid like break team rules and stuff.  You may get bumped-up a little bit, but not near what you would in that going in to freshman year.  So just understand that it is a negotiation from your side.  And, again, most college coaches will not like that I am saying that, but it is the truth.  I generally, lately, have found myself recommending that the parents take-on that hardcore piece of it a little bit, and just be… allow the relationship between the swimmer and the coach to kind of be protected a little bit, so the swimmer is not having to do it.


I remember when Auburn added on books to my scholarship, it was kind of like a little nudge over to get me to go there.  Because otherwise I would have been at South Carolina; my world would have been different right now.  So I think just be aware of that: there is a window of time and that little window is it.


Advice before they go on a trip.  (This is good. I am going to fire through this.)  One, it is a show.  When they go on a trip, it is not a typical weekend.  There are only like five or six Fall football weekends all year at universities; other weekends are different.  Monday through Thursday is different on all college campuses.  So what the experiencing on most recruiting trips is not really what they are going to live, you know, day-in and day-out.


Ask for a practice time.  Every college coach is impressed by swimmers that will go-in and practice; not just go-in and jump off the diving boards but actually go-in and workout.  And somehow—miraculously—they will know if you did it or not, too.  So ask for practice time before the trip.  And realize you are not going to get much… you are going to get 3,000-4,000 thousand probably; if they are really hardcore, they might do the whole workout you gave one of two days.  But they are busy and they are tired on recruiting trips.  But as a technique of impressing the coach, they should workout.


Do not commit on a visit.  You know, the emotional thing, I love Lucy and so I’m gonna go to school there.  A lot of kids fall in love on their recruiting trips, and not with the school.  But show genuine interest, if there is genuine interest.  One of the best things you can do for a college team is, if you are not interested, tell them it is not happening because they can move-on to the next thing.  Better to do that before you ever make your visit, so they do not spend money on you, but you know if that is the case, you can be honest on that front.  But do not commit.  And there are techniques to try to get kids to commit, which most of the time has to do with the kids on the team.


A new thing that has kind of happened which really kind of upsetting—used to be taboo, but now is to happen a lot more—and it is fair, because the money runs out, but putting pressure to cancel other teams’ visits.  So, it used to be, you want to be the last visit; that is not the case anymore for the most part.  There are a lot of schools that will say I only have money to this date and once it gets taken by someone else, it is gone.  So generally earlier visits are probably uh wiser at this point.


If your swimmer knows they are for sure going to make all the visits, and they are going to, then that is probably a good thing, an honorable thing, to tell the coach.  But you never know.  When you get into it, you have been to three schools, now you are exhausted and you are like Oh gosh, I got two more schools, really I’m not sure I want to do this; and then this school comes-in and says here’s your offer and it is a nice offer, it is like you are like That is where I want to go anyway and they had the amount of the offer.  So you are not going to make the other two visits.  But college coaches know that too: if they have got late visits, they know they have got to keep recruiting you hard to get you to want to come on that visit.  So, they know that game too.


Dress sharp; do not look like a slob.  You want to look a little bit better than the average student body, and probably a lot better than the swim team girl that is wearing sweats and t-shirts 24-hours-a-day, all-day, during the visit.  Look sharp: it makes an impression not only on the coach, but university administrators and that kind of stuff which then that is good thing for the coaches too.


Have your experience, not the other recruits on the trip experience.  Okay.  A lot of times they end-up spending their time with the other recruits, and their experiences and what their relationships were with the other recruits.  But those other recruits are not at that school; they are going to go a variety of places, more than likely.  So they need to understand that their experiences need to be with the other people.


Be on time.  Even if it is not your nature.  It will look bad if you are late to places, and dragging in and sitting in the back of the room and, you now, basic stuff.


Call the coach: Coach whatever.  Do not call… even if the swimmers are calling them, you know, Joey or Dan or whatever.  It is Coach whatever: coach their-last-name.  Do not have your swimmers call them by… and that is all the coaches, even if there are young coaches and cool coaches on the staff, call them by Coach whatever.  If, when they go to school there, the coach is the one who will start letting them call them by their first name, do that.  You are not going to… you are only going to impress people by doing that.  And a lot of them will say, “No, call me whatever”, and then it is probably okay.  But I still think, I would say: stay calling them Coach whatever until you are signed and on campus.


Do not drink.  Alcohol, that is.  They can drink water, and sodas and things; but do not drink alcohol.  And alcohol will be around on most visits, and there will be some places and cases where there will actually be pressure put on your kids to drink, not by coaches obviously, but by students or just by the environment of a party or something.  So just be aware of that and beforehand get your guys committed to not drinking.  Again you will only impress the people who matter, which are the coaches in reality.  I mean, you want to impress the students a little bit, but reality is that the coaches really matter.


You will even impress them more if word gets back, “Yeah, they did not drink” you know.  And the swimmers will tell them what is going on; there are always a couple of swimmers that kind of give you all the scoop on all the recruits.  You know, “Here’s what they did.” Oh yeah, they were hanging on the chandeliers and throwing-up in the back bathroom.  It is like, Okay, good; that’s good.  We do not want them.


Talk to the seniors, the fifth-years.  I think fifth-years are gold.  If you talk to the fifth years in a private conversation, say can you give me the real deal kind of an offside one.  I always feel like that is a pretty powerful thing.  So if they are advocating for the school in a passionate way, and they are not in the environment, that is a strong vote of support.  And if they are not, it is just good to know.


Underclassmen they know.  So if they know people on the team already, you get them away from everybody.  You say “Look me in the eyes and tell me you think this will be a great fit for me” you know.


Get some phone numbers.  (What do I mean by that?  Oh, that is a joke.)  I always tell… I had bunch of guys go [on trips] this year.  You are never going to have a better chance to get phone numbers from some of those college girls than you are when you are on your trip, because they have got to be nice to you.


When you are talking to the coaches, talk about… you need to express your hunger for Swimming, okay?  You know, if it is like Oh I hate sets that are over 50, right, I hate that.  You know that kind of… I mean, you know they do not want you.  It is like you are hurting yourself by doing that.  So think of what the coach would want to hear and be sincere.  Try to be sincere, but be on the hungry-for-Swimming side of that, not the “What’s the maximum/minimum I have to do; I just want to do as little as I have to do.”


I think my notes are done.  Questions, or more information from those who know better than I know.



[audience member]:  What can we do as coaches, club coaches, to help this?  I mean I know that all that was there, but like interactions….


[Marsh]:  Yeah, absolutely.  Club coaches and high school coaches can be big advocates for them.  If they hear from you that this is a great kid, that is the main… the strongest thing you can say.  If they are and they are a great kid, and you say This is a great human being that your team would be better for by having on the team.


But you have a reputation though, so you need to be sincere.  Like you… the athletes can fake it until they make it; you cannot.  So you need…. And the other side of it too, I have definitely told college coaches not a good fit for you.  You know: you guys, your culture is too hard at training, this kid would not be good for you; they need touchy-feely stuff and so this schools are better for you.


I mean, in reality, a really-good college coach understands that the club coach is their #1 customer, even over the recruit year by year.  Because if you have that reputation with the club coaches and they will give you the scoop and say: Hey I’ve got one coming up right now.  Swimming for two years, girl going 51 in a 100 freestyle.  Only swimming two years, that is worth a lot to a college coach.



[audience member]:  Can you talk for just a second about… the situation I am having is my kids are actually better athletes than swimmer, and they are getting into better schools then they can swim for.  So can you talk about what can I do to encourage them to swim?


[Marsh]:  Are you saying they cannot make the team at the schools they are going to?


[audience]:  I am talking about clubs or what do I say to encourage them to go to a D-3 private school?


[Marsh]:  Can you give me the scenario?  What schools are you talking about?


[audience]:  I coach at a public school in Los Angeles.  And we are good, but it is but they are not going to be able to swim at some of the schools.  They are solid swimmers and they can definitely swim in D-3, but they are getting into UCLA or Berkeley, they are getting into Stanford.


[Marsh]:  Yeah, but if you are an in-state person and you can go to those schools, that is pretty strong.  I would swim on the club team and go to those schools.


Again I think the club piece is still pretty good.  You know, if they love Swimming, that would be one thing.  If they love Swimming, then Occidental or one of the other schools that might give them a scholarship academically or something like that.  And I guess I am conflicted here a little bit with what I said earlier, right? About how everybody should swim.  But especially the in-state schools, especially in California, is so hard to get into, that if you are in, you are kind of almost obliged to help them that way.


One thing I have said to people before is: understand the decision of where you are going to college is not a lifetime sentence.  You can change your mind after a year; if you really do not like it, you can transfer.  So if the pressure is too much for that, you can do that.  So even in that kind of case, just say: go there, swim on the club for two years, and then try to make the varsity team.  Or if you get faster at the club team there, you can transfer-out to another school.



[audience member]:  For a D-1 recruit, it is a very small sphere, and a college coach can tie academic money to athletic money?


[Marsh]:  Yes, in most cases.  There are some numbers they have got to hit, but yeah.


[audience]:  Over that 1250.  Then the coach could say, “I will get you 20% athletic, but….


[Marsh]:  Well, a lot of times understand, some schools do not know how much academic aid they are going to get until later.  So they can say, “Look, in the early signing I’ve got 20% for you, you are projecting to get” this much money.  Other schools, do the profiles with their academic programs early.  So again, that is very individual, but most coaches know the range.  But if you are on the bubble of the range, then you do take a chance.  Because if you sign to 20% and end up getting no academic aid and you were kind of counting on that, that is not a good thing and you have already signed.


[audience]:  But the coach can tie that, and bring it up in the same conversation?


[Marsh]:  Yes, you can.



[audience member]:  What are some of the questions that should not be asked while on the trip?


[Marsh]:  Do not ask how much scholarship they have; do not make the first question about scholarships.  You know it is about team, it is about culture, it is by training sets, it is about schedules, it is about support stuff.  And really, some of the more valuable questions you will ask are to the other swimmers on the team.  With the coaches you will get generally pretty canned responses, which is fine; that is kind of what it is.  With the swimmers, you will get kind of opinions along with it, which sometimes are wrong.  And if you have got a snotty kid on the team, that is not the person you want to know it from.  You know, because they got chewed-out by the coach or they did something, they are in the doghouse; they may not be the person to talk to.  So it is good common sense stuff.  But stay away from the money questions; do that when you are back off-campus, and I would say let the parents handle that.


Way back?


[inaudible comment from the audience]


[Marsh]:  Yeah, it is a huge benefit to be in, especially a D-1 athlete: the services are incredible.  And even if you go there and do not end-up staying on the team, you get the services for the rest of the year anyway because that is usually the case.  So those are really good ideas.



[inaudible audience comments on recruiting services]


[Marsh]:  Well I think… but you are in here right now, so you schools that are in here, you recruit hard, like you guys work at it.  The problem is, I am just telling you, a lot of coaches do not work at it, and there is a lot of money on the table to some degree because they do not work at it.  And some of these guys are really good coaches or just introverts or they are busy with family things and they do not have pressure from the colleges.  So that is what I am saying: do not be offended by a school that does not recruit a lot.  I mean there are a couple of schools in say North Carolina that are very good options, they just do not recruit very hard.  It is just the way it is; I mean I think it is crazy that they do not, with the privilege of getting all the resource they get at a college job.  But if they do not have to, then they do not; so that is the way it is.


So, I… and I think we are out of time (we are way out of time).  Okay, I am still going to stay here and I will answer individual questions.  Thank you.



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