Diving In: How I learned to embrace the recruiting process


Tatum Bruno, Staff Reporter

I started playing water polo when I was in the 6th grade, but I had always been around the sport due to my father, who played in high school and college. My junior year, I got a call from a recruit website who saw my stats and asked if I was interested in potentially playing water polo in college.

I knew I wanted to continue to play water polo, but I had always thought that meant playing for club teams. I did not know playing a divisional was even an option for me.

The process of being recruited is sort of scary. In order to get in contact with college coaches, you have to put yourself out there for college coaches to see you, which always leaves room for rejection. I used a recruiting website to help put my information up, and then coaches were able to view my profile and contact me about their college.For me, the wait was terrifying. I did not get my first view on my profile until about two weeks later, from a college I wasn’t even interested in. It was disappointing, but from that point on I decided that I could not wait around for coaches to notice me. I had to approach them.

Before I decided I wanted to play at a collegiate level, I knew I wanted to go to a small college because I wanted a personal relationship with my teachers, and if I went to a big college I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to go to class if I knew nobody would notice if I was missing. That narrowed my search down significantly. I emailed about 5 colleges, giving them my stats and telling them why I was interested in their program. It takes some guts to put your resume out, have coaches judge you, and have to potentially face rejection, but it was definitely worth it. My first response from a college coach made me feel amazing, like I was on top of the world.

When one is emailing coaches, you have to make sure you’re fast at responding, and try to keep their attention with interesting facts and err on the side of being overly-excited, both of which I am fairly good at. After you start to swap emails with coaches, most of them want to interview you over the phone. Phone calls are frightening, and the interviews are mostly questions about your strengths,weaknesses, workout routine and your goals for your upcoming season.

After phone interviews and what feels like thousands of emails, I developed a close bond with around five colleges and I started to ask them about potentially meeting the team and coaches in person. My first official visit was at McKendree University, a small Division II school outside of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Official visits basically entail meeting the team and coaches and spending the night at the college to get the real college experience. At first, the visit was a little uncomfortable, just because meeting new people is uncomfortable in general, but as the night went on I made friends with the people on the team and it turned out  to be a great experience. Staying on campus with a student gives you a whole new perspective to what life is like at that college. It is definitely a good perk of being recruited.

After many official college visits, I managed to narrow down my choices and hope to commit verbally to a college soon. After committing, the recruiting process basically ends, but there is still paperwork that has to be involved so you can officially play for the team you committed to in college. The paperwork process includes a national letter of intent, or an NLI, which is basically a contract that binds you to that college for one year of play.

Overall, the recruiting process was petrifying at some points, as well as frustrating. Throughout the process, I have met some amazing people and visited some awesome colleges. I would definitely recommend experiencing the process, if you are even remotely interested in playing a sport in college, to sign up for one of the many websites available for recruitment. I would definitely recommend anyone who adores their sport to try to continue to play in college! I am excited to continue my academic and athletic career next year and wish everyone else who is looking to play in college good luck!