By: William McMurtry ’18
By definition, to “recruit” someone is to attempt to garner that person’s specific abilities or skills. However, when it comes to swimming at Washington and Lee, recruiting wouldn’t be the best word for what we do. Instead of trying to woo swimmers into joining our program, we give them a small experience of our everyday lives, and let them decide whether or not they can see themselves in our shoes.
Over the course of a recruiting visit, swimmers will visit classes, watch practice, tour campus, eat with the team, and see what we do in our limited amounts of free time.
Recruits will experience everything from the thrill of a general chemistry class that happens to be covering quantum mechanics that day, to more social activities such as pumpkin carving. The freshman hosts often take care to make sure that recruits are not contained to the social circle of W&L swimming; after all, most of the interactions you have in college are with people outside of the team.
While the activities that the team does hold for recruits may seem atypical to a college student, pumpkin carving being an example, they pave the road for organic and fun conversation between recruits and current team members.
If you have already visited or plan to visit campus, I recommend that you keep in mind that every single member on the team has probably gone through at least one if not multiple recruiting visits. We have all been in your shoes and recognize that you may be nervous, anxious, scared, or even bored during your time on campus.
Feel free to reach out to a team member if you ever run into any questions about the W&L experience; most likely, even non-swimmers at W&L would be happy to answer your questions. Students and alumni both love to talk about their university. As far as the whole college selection process goes, remember to think about what you want out of your college experience, not necessarily what your parents or peers do, and most importantly, relax and have fun.
In our next entry, we will profile the team’s Halloween practice.