Student athletes in the Cayman Islands have to impress American coaches early.
That is the advice of Bailey Weathers, the technical director for Cayman swimming. Weathers held a free seminar on college recruitment for American universities last week at the Government Administration Building. He touched on a number of pointers related to applying to schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Weathers urged more than 25 members of the local sports fraternity, including track queen Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens, to make young people proactive about their recruiting efforts.
“There’s no perfect situation, with one fit for one child,” Weathers said. “What is the right choice for you will not be the right choice for others. Make your own choice. The recruiting process is a great opportunity for a family member or a mentor to teach people to make a good decision – usually good decisions come from working through a process. Start early, start now, plan a system and work the system. I tell the kids be a nerd about the process.”
Weathers spent three years as a swim coach at the University of South Carolina, nine years at the University of Notre Dame and two years as a consultant for the U.S. national swim team. During his session, he explained the different tiers of American collegiate sports, noting the difference in competitiveness and funding among the three main divisions in the NCAA. Weathers also gave insight into the technical aspects of getting athletic scholarships, such as the differences associated with team versus individual sports.
One of his more interesting points was on the role of social media, saying it can impact athletes at all levels.
“With social media, athletes have to be careful what they do on there. Colleges want athletes who will represent them well, both as athletes and as people. Michael Phelps is a classic example. He did really well but screwed it up.”
Last week’s session was a collaboration between the Ministry of Sports and the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, swimming’s local governing body. Association board member Christine Maltman, who was at the seminar, said Weathers has the expertise to help all sports here.
“He’s worn many hats – athlete, parent, coach, recruiter – so he comes at this with a variety of perspectives,” Maltman said. “Bailey has excellent relationships with college coaches and programs in the United States and Canada, which he has offered to athletes and sporting federations in Cayman, in order to help maximize the success of our athletes – both during their college years and during their preparation for international competition. Bailey has a great capacity to assist college-bound athletes.”