As a college athlete, Ryan Sparks saw gaps in the system that left many students (including himself) discouraged and disheartened. In this video, he tells his story and reflects on how Sparks helps student-athletes achieve.
Tools that lead to better experiences
Swimming and diving recruiting timelines can be confusing. They vary according to the school and the specific needs and preferences of coaches.
Try our 10-minute Recruiting Timeline Wizard to orient yourself to the swimming and diving recruiting process.
Your personality and learning style can guide you toward the ideal academic match and swimming and diving program.
Our database tool is fast and fun. It helps you narrow down school choices best-suited to your unique characteristics.
The Sparks Formula
We pair you with colleges that nurture your skills, encourage you, and help you realize your athletic potential.
We ensure your academic passion and unique learning style are complemented by your chosen college.
We find colleges that mirror your personality, values, and sense of community.
Jump start your college career with increased direction and focus. Sparks clients enjoy:
- Saving money and time on school visits and recruiting efforts
- North of 90% first choice admit rates on average
- Better four-year graduation rates
- Direction in college and career outcomes
Meet Trofym A.
Recruited at Yale and George Washington Universities
“Even as a top prospect in Canada, the recruiting system in the US was overwhelming. I considered the best programs in the country but felt like something was missing. As a second semester senior, I realized that the fastest team is not always the best choice. In May of my senior year, Sparks helped me identify schools where I would excel both athletically and academically. I went on to complete both an undergraduate and master’s degree, win a World Championship, and experience three Olympic Games.”
Meet Tracy E.
"Sparks was an integral part of the college process for our son. Their vast knowledge of the US collegiate world and the dedication of our advisor allowed our son to make informed decisions. His advisor took the time to understand him and made the process a very personalized one. In the end, he made the right choice for himself, and his counselor was instrumental in that process. We highly recommend Sparks for their focus, dedication, and expertise."
Meet Ariana R.
Recruited at Wesleyan University and Bates College
“When my mother first told me she hired this firm to help me, I told her she was wasting her money. I was already communicating with college coaches and felt like I had everything under control. I was so wrong! Sparks widened my perspective on the college selection process. My counselor challenged me to consider serious issues I never would have thought about on my own. They helped me uncover needs I didn’t realize I had, and they empowered me to take a step back and critically analyze every option from a big picture point of view.”
Meet Gavin S.
Recruited at Cornell and Columbia Universities
“There is such an advantage to working with a firm like Sparks. They have a wealth of knowledge and expertise with the recruiting world as a whole, and all of the counselors are committed to understanding your long term goals. Everyone I spoke to was dedicated to helping me find a school where I would develop as an athlete, scholar and person. I didn’t have to sacrifice any of my priorities, and that’s incredibly valuable.”
Meet Angela M.
Recruited at the Universities of Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Tulsa
“By the time I contacted Sparks I was so overwhelmed by the recruiting process that I started questioning my desire to compete in college. The counselors alleviated my anxiety immediately, and because they specialize in academic admissions as well as athletics, I learned how to define my long-term goals and make choices with the big picture in mind. Now I’m a proud graduate and will always be grateful to Sparks for helping me find the best overall experience.”
Meet Brad H.
Recruited at Harvard and Stanford Universities
“The recruiting process was a high-pressure scenario, but the team at Sparks’ helped me feel well-informed and in control. From recruiting timelines and sports resumes to understanding team cultures and interacting with college coaches, my counselor streamlined every step of the process. By my senior year, I was able to take more risks with my applications and weigh all of my options with a sound mind.“
Director of Experiential Education
Director of Experiential Education
Dave Payne heads Sparks' experiential education division - namely, sport camps across the US and in Europe and New Zealand. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Education and a M.S. in Chemistry from the University of California at San Diego and is a former collegiate athlete and high school head coach. He has worked at Sparks since 2011; Dave's passion is synthesizing athletic environments that encourage holistic growth.