Recruiting Tips

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    • #12322
      Low Tide
      Member

      I wrote this to Groth, and anyone please feel free to comment… I love recruiting season when the team is actually good πŸ™‚

      Oh, and numer one rule: Do NOT take them to Deja Vu!

      Most swimmers look at D3 because they want to be competitive right away and not be red-shirted their first three years like they would be at a DI school.

      You should have someone like Harden eating out of your hands (and it sounds like he already is, good job) — I’ll use him as an example, but you should do the same for every recruit who might ever have a chance at nationals —

      Show him the depth chart.
      * He does not come in the fastest, but he comes in competitive.
      ** He will have other sprinters around his times to train with, compete with and push each other.
      ** Obviously Ellis swimming back on the medleys leaves a spot for him to fill right away.
      *** Actually give him a printout of potential relays next year with his forecasted splits on it:
      **** For instance him splitting a 20.2 and 46.0 (you can never go too low, high school swimmers all think they can easily drop a second a year).
      **** Really push those relays on him – the free relays as well. Point out every single swimmer on the relay this year was a freshman, and forecast time drops for everyone next year with him on it — it will probably go to nationals.

      He will swim at league meet his first year for points.
      *DI schools and even the better DIII schools will tell him he ‘might’.
      *He ‘might’ qualify for nationals as an individual but show him what it has taken to go to nationals so he knows DIII is no slouch.

      It is a unique opportunity right now with Ellis and Espinosa as freshman — allows you to literally show Kzoo is a team on the rise, about ready to really make a statement on the national level. He could be a part of that. — Really push that K is interested in competing at nationals, and we want him there.

      Show him time drops of other K swimmers throughout history
      * For instance, take someone like Andrew Kurtz and show what his HS times were and what he ended up swimming while at K (in the 50 free, of course). Other good sprinters to use as examples would be Aaron Portenga (huge time drops), Brian Ross, Steve Domin, Ryan Crowley, Paul Blowers and Garret Olsen. Brian Miller, Jussi Thomas and I know most of these in our heads if Coach does not have them.

      Academics should speak for itself. Always push foreign study.

      Really sell the city
      *Many of these kids will be looking at Hope, Denison, Kenyon — all schools surrounded by a tiny city and a corn field.
      ** Within walking distance to downtown where there are record stores, clubs, coffee shops, concerts, art galleries, pool halls, movie theaters, bowling alleys… so many of these other schools have one movie theater and one bowling alley and that’s it.
      ** Right in between Detroit and Chicago — this is key for anyone you think is interested in music. Means a lot of bands stop in Kalamazoo between the two cities (or they are easily within reach).

      “Advantages of a small school on the corner of a big school”
      * Kalamazoo is a college town… if you think he might be a ‘partier’ at all, make sure you push Western and that some of the guys go to Western parties “all the time” πŸ™‚
      * I always liked hearing stories about profs inviting class to their homes, outside and out to the bar — always mention these token small school anecdotes.

      Never leave the impression the swim team is a certain ‘type’. “We have just about every type of personality you can think of on this team, but everyone still enjoys getting together and are friends despite all the differences… some guys go to clubs and western parties, some are always at concerts and others are more at home at a quiet coffee shop; sort of the most unique and non-conforming ‘frat’ you will ever see.” Did I mention there are no frats at K? 90% of anyone who is looking at K will love hearning there are no frats….
      Some kids try and look ‘cool’ on their recruiting trips, but thinking the entire team is a bunch of drunken jocks can be intimidating.

      Frisbee golf, always has, and probably still is, a great ice breaker and works on all types of recruits. Here’s the key though — Always have a ringer: Someone so terrible, but still has a good time (and a self-deprecating sense of humor), so that the recruit does not feel embarrassed.

      Pool, darts, bowling, big barbecue, lawn games and ultimate frisbee are other all-inclusive activities good for breaking the ice. Make the point, “Everyone does their own thing, but still love getting together for a barbecue or frisbee golf”.

      Tell how great the alumni are, that they still come around years, if not decades, after graduation, and follow the team closely. Made an impression on me. Letters from well-respected (swimmer) alumni in their field of interest is great as well. Steve Tish, Aaron Portenga, Matt Rich, Mark Hannum and Derek Jansen are examples of guys who now teach and received their masters shortly after K.

      Go to their swim meets! Seeing those K parkas in the stands and knowing they are there to watch you is about the most proud you can ever feel in high school.

    • #35091
      silentp
      Member

      @Low Tide wrote:

      Oh, and numer one rule: Do NOT take them to Deja Vu!

      I heard we lost a stud breastroker because of this, the guy loved it but the parents did not.

      @Low Tide wrote:

      *** Actually give him a printout of potential relays next year with his forecasted splits on it:
      **** For instance him splitting a 20.2 and 46.0 (you can never go too low, high school swimmers all think they can easily drop a second a year).
      **** Really push those relays on him – the free relays as well. Point out every single swimmer on the relay this year was a freshman, and forecast time drops for everyone next year with him on it — it will probably go to nationals.

      They sort of did this for me since they had no backstroker, told me i could be a 51 and loved it. It also showed how good our relay could be.

      @Low Tide wrote:

      Show him time drops of other K swimmers throughout history
      * For instance, take someone like Andrew Kurtz and show what his HS times were and what he ended up swimming while at K (in the 50 free, of course). Other good sprinters to use as examples would be Aaron Portenga (huge time drops), Brian Ross, Steve Domin, Ryan Crowley, Paul Blowers and Garret Olsen. Brian Miller, Jussi Thomas and I know most of these in our heads if Coach does not have them.

      Kurtz was a 22.1

      For the backstroker, you should for sure mention Ellis had never swam the 200 back before then rocked the house. Also, Kathy got me from a 55.1 my sophomore year to a 52.7 my senior year and from a 1:55-high to a 1:53-mid, sophomore to senior year.

      @Low Tide wrote:

      Really sell the city
      *Many of these kids will be looking at Hope, Denison, Kenyon — all schools surrounded by a tiny city and a corn field.
      ** Within walking distance to downtown where there are record stores, clubs, coffee shops, concerts, art galleries, pool halls, movie theaters, bowling alleys… so many of these other schools have one movie theater and one bowling alley and that’s it.
      ** Right in between Detroit and Chicago — this is key for anyone you think is interested in music. Means a lot of bands stop in Kalamazoo between the two cities (or they are easily within reach).

      This was actually huge for me when i picked K.

      @Low Tide wrote:

      Frisbee golf, always has, and probably still is, a great ice breaker and works on all types of recruits. Here’s the key though — Always have a ringer: Someone so terrible, but still has a good time (and a self-deprecating sense of humor), so that the recruit does not feel embarrassed.

      I hate Frisbee Golf and still loved it on my recruit trip because i got to hang with the guys when i was doing it. Having people suck is a great idea, but also have someone good to be competitive in case he’s good. Never take it too seriously though.

      @Low Tide wrote:

      Go to their swim meets! Seeing those K parkas in the stands and knowing they are there to watch you is about the most proud you can ever feel in high school.

      They never came to my meets, i’m pissed. But it really did help us land some big recruits to be at State meet.

      A couple other things:
      – Hype up the Hope rivalry but never bash Hope, it can be annoying to the recruit.
      – By the time the Cali kid comes, some people should have said yes, you can use that to talk about momentum because no one wants to be the 1st, not usually anyway. If you could get a couple of those guys who have said yes to come down, since sophomore will be abroad and that’s half the team, even better.

    • #35092
      Low Tide
      Member

      Never take it too seriously though.

      This reminds me of Jeff Walker… Coach Kent actually got to the point where he would not let Walker around recruits, he was so competitive! Once he told a stud recruit he could beat him and he would come just short of challenging them to a race, and may have even done so once.

      Definitely talk about other recruits. Whether the class is shaping up well or not, let them know they are going to be a part of an exciting freshman class… a bit of name dropping goes a long way (Nick Duda, Evan Whitbeck and Steve Domin became huge recruiters for us while they were still in high school).

    • #35093
      KG from KZOO
      Member

      Definitely talk about other recruits. Whether the class is shaping up well or not, let them know they are going to be a part of an exciting freshman class… a bit of name dropping goes a long way (Nick Duda, Evan Whitbeck and Steve Domin became huge recruiters for us while they were still in high school).

      Good idea

      -We’ll be having Harden up in a week and we’ll throw down some stats for him….get him excited to be possibly anchoring a national winning relay…

      For the backstroker, you should for sure mention Ellis had never swam the 200 back before then rocked the house. Also, Kathy got me from a 55.1 my sophomore year to a 52.7 my senior year and from a 1:55-high to a 1:53-mid, sophomore to senior year

      I’ll be calling Steve soon and I’ll be sure to mention that

      Frisbee golf, always has, and probably still is, a great ice breaker and works on all types of recruits

      We figured this out last year. We usually try and play with them right away. Not only is it a great icebreaker, but it is also a good way to give them a tour of the campus (from a swimmer’s perspective). I never thought about having a “ringer” that is bad though. That is a really good idea…we’ll bring Bobby along for that job.

      -In terms of partying…(I want to know what you guys think here)

      I’ve always found it INCREDIBLY awkward bringing up the drinking subject to them. We always just kinda ask (at a good time in the conversation) if they like to drink. And then we’d follow that up with “you can say no, we have stuff planned for those who don’t want to go out.” But even by this point in the day, we usually have a good grasp on what the recruit is like and we’d have an idea about what he’ll say. Usually, this works pretty well. I think telling them there is beer/pop in the fridge leaves the issue still on the table, especially if no one else is drinking yet. What do you guys think?

      The biggest goal is to just stay out of trouble this spring. I’m sure you all have heard about the trouble we’ve gotten in this year… Obviously this is a little shaky because a lot of the recruits are expecting to get trashed! I think what we’ll do is have 3-5 K-swimmers “drink” with the recruits that want to drink. And I mean “drink” being just drink enough to make the situation comfortable (we didn’t drink with the fall recruits (dry season) and it was kinda awkward). We’ll also have 3-5 sober K guys watching the recruits the whole time. I hope this system will work out….

      Of course there are the ones that don’t drink and we will always have sober guys doing other stuff with them (quad stop of milkshakes, playing pool, going to the NEW movie theater…etc).

    • #35094
      Vic
      Member

      Tell how great the alumni are, that they still come around years, if not decades, after graduation, and follow the team closely. Made an impression on me. Letters from well-respected (swimmer) alumni in their field of interest is great as well. Steve Tish, Aaron Portenga, Matt Rich, Mark Hannum and Derek Jansen are examples of guys who now teach and received their masters shortly after K.

      Matt Rich now has an Ed.D (education doctorate) and is a principal in Illinois, so he would be a good person to write a letter, although he isn’t really in contact with the program much anymore. Jane has his contact info, because he used to be the principal at her school, so let me know if you want to get in touch with him.

    • #35095
      Low Tide
      Member

      Never take a recruit to a movie!

      “… you can say no, we have stuff planned for those who don’t want to go out.”

      Just seems like you are still putting them on the spot there… ie. “If you’re not cool, we’ll make a couple of the guys stay behind and play tiddly-winks with you.”

      You’re right though, usually you will have a pretty good idea of who is up for a party and who is not pretty early in the visit (and remember just because someone does not want to drink, does not mean they do not like parties — Jeff Gorton never touched a drop of alchohol in his life, but loved parties)…. I just have never liked the ackward “do you drink?” question.

      My ideal start to an afternoon would be frisbee golf followed by a barbecue… have drinking at the barbecue but start it slow and with at least a few guys abstaining. Let the recruit know there is beer in the fridge and whether he grabs one (or ten) or not, use it as an indicator of where to go from there.

    • #35096
      Low Tide
      Member

      Matt Rich now has an Ed.D (education doctorate) and is a principal in Illinois, so he would be a good person to write a letter, although he isn’t really in contact with the program much anymore.

      Archie is a great contact (and it is absolutely hilarious he was Jane’s principal) — Had absolutely no natural swimming ability but improved a ton anyways. About the biggest team guy you could find and will go out of his way to help out … he’s good for phone calls as well, can talk forever.

    • #35097
      KG from KZOO
      Member

      Never take a recruit to a movie!

      Yeah we haven’t, but the new movie theater is pretty cool. The thing that is bad with movies is that there is no social contact going on.

      Yeah we usually take them disc golfing and bowling and then either go out to dinner (winter) or have a BBQ. At dinner (or at the BBQ) drinking/parting is brought up and we get a good sense of what they want to do that night. On Saturday we’ll usually play ultimate or another team game that involves a lot of people and getting to know everyone better. Generally after ultimate, the group is a lot closer. During the Feb recruit trip there is a dodgeball tournament and that will be a lot of fun to enter a couple teams in. After that we may take them to play laser tag or do something fun (or party if they choose to do so).

      I just hate the two awkward moments during recruit trips…

      #1 drinking
      #2 The question “how are the girls here?” this always provides an EXTREMELY awkward moment and usually an interesting answer!

    • #35098
      miller
      Member

      Hey one thing to mention about recruits interested in science is the Heyl graduate scholarship.

      I don’t have the details….but you dont’ need to be a Kzoo resident.

      Greg Raczniak went to freaking YALE for free to get a PhMF’nD just because he went to K College.

      Erik Cabble went to PA school at YALE for free as well…just because he went to K College.

      You might check with them to find out the details….but that’s a seriously huge recruiting advantage for those bio/chem majors.

      Brian Fritz is a research fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. I’m sure he’d be glad to talk to anyone about careers in that stuff.

      I know this was the “how do we find out if they like virgin daiquiris or Jager-bombs” thread….but I figured I’d toss those tips in too…

      I was in charge of recruiting from 1998 to 2001. We did pretty well in that stretch and it was a mix of great visits with the team, and great phone calls from swimmers (and coaches of course).

      When the swimmers call, stuff like “free education at Yale” can make a big difference because you run out of stuff to talk about and that gives you something to bring up.

    • #35099
      KG from KZOO
      Member

      So to go to K for free from the Heyl you need to be a Kzoo resident, but you can apply for it to go to Yale? I had no idea… I’ll email those guys and see what actually happened.

      know this was the “how do we find out if they like virgin daiquiris or Jager-bombs” thread

      hahahahaha that just made my day

    • #35100
      DonCheadle
      Member

      @KG from KZOO wrote:

      I just hate the two awkward moments during recruit trips…

      #1 drinking
      #2 The question “how are the girls here?” this always provides an EXTREMELY awkward moment and usually an interesting answer!

      Just be direct when asking about drinking, but make sure you frame it right. “Do you drink,” sucks. “We want you to be comfortable so when making plans for the evening it would be good to know what kind of social scene you like.” That is probably too formal, but something along those lines.

      On #2, you can always follow that question with, “What have you heard (about the girls at K)?” Or you could say, “yeah, the hottest girls end up at community colleges.”

    • #35101
      silentp
      Member

      Oh, almost forgot, small things matter. Coach Kent put my name up on the board to welcome me coming and i thought that was really cool. Those little things add up.

    • #35102
      maverick1
      Member

      the undergrad heyl scholarship is only for people from the kalamazoo public school system.

      here’s a short blurb on the graduate scholarship:

      For Heyl Fellowships to Yale University, any graduate of Kalamazoo College who has majored in one of the exact sciences and plans to enter a graduate program in certain chemistry-related disciplines at Yale may apply. Preference is given to those applicants graduating with a Chemistry major.

    • #35103
      miller
      Member

      @maverick wrote:

      the undergrad heyl scholarship is only for people from the kalamazoo public school system.

      here’s a short blurb on the graduate scholarship:

      For Heyl Fellowships to Yale University, any graduate of Kalamazoo College who has majored in one of the exact sciences and plans to enter a graduate program in certain chemistry-related disciplines at Yale may apply. Preference is given to those applicants graduating with a Chemistry major.

      If I recall correctly, you have to actually get into yale to get one…but that’s why we all went to K right?

      At any rate, given that we graduated 8 seniors in 1996 and 2 of them got the Heyl Fellowship to Yale, I’d say odds are in your favor.

    • #35104
      Low Tide
      Member

      At any rate, given that we graduated 8 seniors in 1996 and 2 of them got the Heyl Fellowship to Yale, I’d say odds are in your favor.

      Yes, it’s too bad about the other 6 though πŸ™‚

      That’s great the seasons are back to dry again. Anecdote: Brian Miller drank so much that Tony Michaels thought dry season was a joke when he was a freshman in the fall, thinking “There’s no way this guy can stop drinking.”

      Ironic because Miller was totally bone dry during season and one of dry season’s biggest supporters whenever it was called into question.

    • #35105
      miller
      Member

      @Low Tide wrote:

      At any rate, given that we graduated 8 seniors in 1996 and 2 of them got the Heyl Fellowship to Yale, I’d say odds are in your favor.

      Yes, it’s too bad about the other 6 though πŸ™‚

      That’s great the seasons are back to dry again. Anecdote: Brian Miller drank so much (out of season) that Tony Michaels thought dry season was a joke when he was a freshman in the fall, thinking “There’s no way this guy can stop drinking.”

      Ironic because Miller was totally bone dry during season and one of dry season’s biggest supporters whenever it was called into question.

      Note the emphasis above….I never drank in dry-season except for the last night of Florida as was the tradition back then.

    • #35106
      silentp
      Member

      Emory call the part of the year you can drink “wet season”. I don’t know why, but i found that funny.

      Along with telling them how fast they’ll be, tell them how all of the alums with great jobs and such. Every high schooler thinks they’ll be rich, have a great job and swim really fast. It’s like feeding a fat kid donuts.

    • #35107
      miller
      Member

      @silentp wrote:

      Emory call the part of the year you can drink “wet season”. I don’t know why, but i found that funny.

      Along with telling them how fast they’ll be, tell them how all of the alums with great jobs and such. Every high schooler thinks they’ll be rich, have a great job and swim really fast. It’s like feeding a fat kid donuts.

      While it might be tempting … I wouldn’t mention that Hope’s best backstroker of the late 1990s was working as a shift-manager at Family Video 3 years after graduation. That doesn’t sound like a nice thing to say but I always find it amusing.

    • #35108
      Low Tide
      Member

      JJ Wilner posed for Playgirl. That should help, with the right recruit.

    • #35109
      miller
      Member

      @Low Tide wrote:

      JJ Wilner posed for Playgirl. That should help, with the right recruit.

      I still brag about that…I mean come on…how many swim teams can say that the ugliest dude on their team (bar none) ended up posing for Playgirl?

      It’s not like they have a “Dudes of the MIAA” issue every year (do they Low Tide? I know you’re a big fan).

    • #35110
      Low Tide
      Member

      I remember there was that gay website, something like ‘Hot Jocks’ and half the pictures were pilfered from our k-swimming.org site.

      Not many teams can brag about throwing parties with the womens’ swimming teams, of *other* schools in the league πŸ™‚

    • #35111
      miller
      Member

      @Low Tide wrote:

      Not many teams can brag about throwing parties with the womens’ swimming teams, of *other* schools in the league πŸ™‚

      …and openly calling the parties “Hookfest” and “Hookfest 2 – The Second Coming”

    • #35112
      DonCheadle
      Member

      Yeah all of those things are good recuriting talking points and should be catalogued. If we are going head to head for a recurit with Hope you might have a look at the Farrar brothers:

      Ben Farrar improved from a 1:02 to a splitting a 25 in the 50 yard breaststroke. After graduation from Kalamazoo he got a Double PhD in Molecular Bioloogy / Immuniology from Michigan.

      Ben’s brother (I have no idea what his name is) went a 25 in the 50 freestlyle and after graduation from Hope college worked at a bar.

      The Playgirl with JJWilner in it is the most widely distributed Playgirl ever (it had Brad Pitt in it). Anyhow, I love that they call it playgirl when everyone knows that only gay men buy that magazine. Anyhow, we had the picture of JJ on our fridge at our house, which was the site for Calvin Hookfest. At said event it was obvious that a few of the Calvin women had never seen a man’s genitalia before. That was uncomfortable.

    • #35113
      Low Tide
      Member

      Nate is Ben’s brother (I think Ben also got down to a 58 in the 100 breast) … but be careful on that, while Nate may be bartending, at least Hope College did not turn him gay πŸ˜‰

      By the way, Miller met his future wife at one of those hookfests.

    • #35114
      miller
      Member

      @Low Tide wrote:

      Nate is Ben’s brother (I think Ben also got down to a 58 in the 100 breast) … but be careful on that, while Nate may be bartending, at least Hope College did not turn him gay πŸ˜‰

      By the way, Miller met his future wife at one of those hookfests.

      True story.
      Gorton married a girl from Hope too…but I’m pretty sure they met years after the 2 Hope Hookfests.

    • #35115
      KG from KZOO
      Member

      So did you guys all have a dry season for the entire season? Did you guys ever get in any trouble with Coach Kent and drinking (and with recruits)?

    • #35116
      miller
      Member

      @KG from KZOO wrote:

      So did you guys all have a dry season for the entire season? Did you guys ever get in any trouble with Coach Kent and drinking (and with recruits)?

      We had a completely dry season from Homecoming through MIAAs (then one night of party, and 4 more dry weeks in preparation for NCAAs).

      Everyone partook, obeyed and I think benefited from it.

      It never came from Coach Kent. It was captains and seniors that started it (before I got to K) and captains and seniors that kept it going (at least until I graduated…probably longer than that).

      We got in trouble every year with Coach Kent. Yes.

      In season some swimmers got in trouble for jumping out of the ceiling, climbing buildings, going in tunnels, etc. I have no idea if that actually occured mind you. I just heard that’s what they got in trouble for.

      Out of season some swimmers got in trouble for drinking and breaking into the pool to go skinny dipping. And getting caught. Repeatedly. Again, maybe that’s just what they were in trouble for. I don’t know if they were actually guitly of repeatedly breaking into the pool for skinny dipping.

      None of those things are good ideas. I don’t condone them. I also don’t know who exactly did these ghastly things.

    • #35117
      Low Tide
      Member

      My freshman year, the student disciplinary commitee had not been formed in years. That, year, it formed three times for incidents involving swimmers (I was only involved in one of them, mind you).

      It was formed mainly from student council, so during practice one afternoon someone had the brilliant idea of all of us going over to the student council voting session (you know, I think it may have been Archie who came up with the idea)… because hey, at least one of us has to get voted in, right?

      Strangely, not a single swimmer was voted in… it was no secret a number of swimmers were due for disciplinary commitees and perhaps they deduced our intent when we all walked in together with wet hair, reeking of chlorine and wearing K Swimming parkas. Despite some moving speeches, most notably Jon Sanders’ “I love the law!” speech, where he actually pounded his fists together) I think Archie was the only one to get even a single vote.

      Before my time, Grant Rickhoff was actually kicked off campus (for life), and later Chris Elston and Andy Chapman pushed the college’s tolerance about as far as it would go. The college came to a mutual agreement with Elston that he was best living off campus, for the benefit of everyone. I think Garth Miller is the only swimmer/diver to actually be forced to sit out nationals because of disciplinary action.

      As far as dry season, we took it very seriously and I know it lasted at least until the 21st century.

    • #35118
      Milhouse
      Member

      @DonCheadle wrote:

      Ben’s brother (I have no idea what his name is) went a 25 in the 50 freestlyle and after graduation from Hope college worked at a bar.

      And he wasn’t even a bartender, he just checked IDs at the door.

      As far as the drinking issue, the “there’s beer in the fridge if you want one” approach usually works best. It leaves the door open if a recruit wants to drink and also doesn’t put any pressure on the non-drinkers. But I would say the thing that recruits probably remember the most is how well they meshed with the guys on the team. So if team activities include some drinking, then invite them in with you. But if you still impose dry season, then I wouldn’t even bring it up.

      I’m not sure how the girls on campus have changed since our day, but you can say something like “You get used to the girls here pretty quick. I hardly notice armpit hair anymore.” A nice way of describing them might be, “K College girls build character”

      Anyway, miller and Robbins pretty much have it covered. Good luck in getting these guys.

    • #35119
      KG from KZOO
      Member

      I love hearing stories from alums…you guys were nuts! We just get in trouble for stuff that we didn’t have much to do with the incidents…

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