Hi! My name is Kristina Murphy, and I am a senior here at CB who just recently committed to swim at San Diego State University. I have been swimming for 11 years, six of those years competitively and I specialize in breastroke and IM. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to swim at the […]
Hi! My name is Kristina Murphy, and I am a senior here at CB who just recently committed to swim at San Diego State University. I have been swimming for 11 years, six of those years competitively and I specialize in breastroke and IM. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to swim at the college level and share my recruiting experience.
The first letter that I received was from the Naval Academy the fall of my sophomore year. Most schools have to wait until after an athlete has reached the fall of their junior year to initiate contact per NCAA rules, but since the Naval Academy is a military school and government run, they are able to bypass these rules. I got the letter in the middle of my A set Chemistry class, and I wasn’t really sure what it was and was not sure how to respond to the letter, so I didn’t. But nonetheless, I was really excited to see that there was a school that was actually interested in me for swimming. At the beginning of my junior year is when the real contact for recruiting started. My coach had mentioned to me a few coaches that were interested, but other than that I was in a way “in the dark” as to how many and what schools were looking at me for swimming.
September 1st of an athlete’s junior year is when schools can start making contact through email, and the recruits can start calling coaches, but coaches are not allowed to call the recruits directly. The initial flood of emails was really exciting, and it was cool to see some of the schools that I had already been looking at email me. I started emailing coaches back and setting up calls and creating a list of schools that I was really interested in looking at.
I was extremely nervous talking with people that I did not know and having to tell them all about my life and my goals. My first call was with UNLV, and I was so nervous for it that my Dad and I actually came up with a list of questions and talking points to help guide me through the conversation. As I gained more experience, the conversations got easier and I really started to enjoy talking with coaches and learning about programs. I think that it definitely helped me with my conversational skills and become comfortable talking with people. At the beginning of this process, I was an extremely shy and reserved person, but I think going through this experience has helped me break through that shell and become comfortable with myself and other people.
Because swimming is primarily an individual sport, the recruiting process is vastly different than other team sports. For swim, recruiters are really just looking at times because recruiting primarily comes down to schools wanting to recruit swimmers that can get their hand on the wall first. Another thing they look for is whether or not the swimmer has room to improve. Schools are not going to want to recruit swimmers that haven’t improved their times in a while. They’re recruiting fast swimmers, but also looking at people that can come into their programs and really improve.
The plus of being part of a sport like swimming is it is not necessary to attend camps or clinics in order to be seen. But there is an advantage to going to bigger swim meets because it is a great way to get swimmers names out there and allow for coaches to see the way a swimmer races.
I was getting recruited to schools in the Pac 12, Mountain West, Big West, and SEC. I wanted to be part of a program that was competitive, but on a team on which I was going to make an immediate impact. It was really cool to be recruited by schools that were really high up on the rankings, but what I had to do was put the name of the school aside and really look at the program for what it was and whether or not I would benefit from attending the school.
The next step for me was to schedule my recruiting trips. The trips were the most important thing to me because going to campus and seeing how the team interacts and how the coaches treat their swimmers was super important to me. I had scheduled five official visits and one unofficial visit, but I ended up only taking three of my official visits. For me, the visits were the most fun part of my experience. I saw them as sort of a payoff for all the work I had done leading up to the visits. I did all my research on the schools and had many conversations with the coaches, so I already had some idea of what type of team I was walking into.
A typical visit would include a campus tour, some type of fun activity around the area, a sporting event, staying in the dorms, and a lot of eating. My first visit was actually to San Diego State University and I absolutely loved it, but I knew that I needed to take my other trips to have the peace of mind knowing that I looked at all my options. The next trip that I went on was UC Berkeley, and then I went to UC Santa Barbara. I really liked both schools, and I had a lot of difficulty making my decision. It took me two weeks after trips to finally pick a school.
I talked with my parents, friends, my teammates, my coach, and even our counselor, but I was still stuck between two schools. What eventually helped me make my choice was I realized that for me personally I would get a better all around experience at SDSU. There is nothing bad about the other schools I was looking at. In fact, I really like those schools too, but I felt a better connection to San Diego and I am super excited to continue my swim career and study at San Diego State.