Your Guide to Becoming a College Swimmer

So you've had a pretty good swimming career at the high school and club scene. Maybe you can take it to the next level.

College swimming and diving offers many options on many different levels -- and, accordingly, many scholarships to many talented athletes. Though the grants don't add up to the numbers passed out in football or basketball, swimmers have opportunities to get recruited and become a college student-athlete.

But just how many opportunities are there?

Here is a breakdown of college swimming and diving, from the number of programs out there to the number of scholarships they have to work with. Increasing your knowledge of the recruiting process can only help in your quest to become a college athlete. Use this as a guide to help get you started:

NCAA Division I

How Many Schools: There are 194 women's programs and 139 men's programs in Division I. This includes national powers like Auburn and Texas.

Scholarship Count: Women's programs are afforded 14 scholarships. Men's programs have 9.9 to work with.

Scholarship Breakdown: Partial scholarships are common in swimming and diving, especially with roster sizes that can double scholarship allotments.

NCAA Division II

How Many Schools: A total of 72 schools sponsor women's swimming and diving, while 56 schools have a men's program. Drury University in Springfield, Mo., is known as a Division II power.

Scholarship Count: Men's and Women's programs both have 8.1 scholarships to pass out.

Scholarship Breakdown: Like Division I, partial scholarships are allowed. As with other Division II sports, partial scholarships are the most common type of grant passed out in swimming and diving.

NCAA Division III

How Many Schools: There are 242 women's teams and 197 men's teams in Division III. The biggest power, unquestionably, is Kenyon College in Ohio, which has won more than 50 combined national championships in the last 30 years.

Scholarship Count: Scholarships are not offered in Division III athletics.

Scholarship Breakdown: Though no athletic grants are available, student-athletes can receive academic scholarships to help with costs.


How Many Schools: NAIA swimming has 23 men's programs and 30 women's programs.

Scholarship Count: Swim programs are allowed eight scholarships.

Scholarship Breakdown: Students meeting high academic standards can receive aid without it counting against the team's limit.


How Many Schools: There are 19 junior colleges with a women's program and 18 with a men's program.

Scholarship Count: NJCAA programs can hand out 15 scholarships.

Scholarship Breakdown: Jucos can offer full or partial scholarships, making the already-cheap path even more affordable.

Discuss This Article