About the Program

In order to increase the quality of U.S. athletes from which to find potential Olympians, in 2009 USA Triathlon turned its attention to the NCAA collegiate running and swimming programs with the launch of the Collegiate Recruitment Program (CRP). Of the U.S. Olympic triathletes all but one has come from a NCAA running or swimming background. Until this program was started, all of those Olympians found the sport of triathlon through their own endeavors and desires. There was no active recruiting, encouragement, or mentoring to inform, support and inspire their transition post-grad into the sport of Olympic triathlon. The CRP’s goal is to do just that.

The CRP exposes collegiate runners and swimmers who have a background in the other sport to the possibility of making an Olympic team. The program first identifies and assesses talent from the NCAA ranks. Identified athletes are taken through the processes and skills needed to become an elite triathlete, streamlining and professionalizing the athlete’s growth in triathlon, with the goal of finding our next Olympic medalists.

The program is led by Collegiate Recruitment Program Manager, Barb Lindquist, who successfully made the transition from Stanford swimmer to ten year elite triathlete and 2004 Olympian. Collegiate coaches or athletes who would like more information about this exciting possibility should contact Barb at barb.lindquist@usatriathlon.org.


Meeting the following three criteria gives you the A Standard for the run:

  • My run PRs are close to one of the standards below.
  • I have a swimming background as a youth or in high school and enjoy cross training in the pool.
  • I can still improve as a runner post-collegiately, but see myself going further as a triathlete.
Event Women  Men 
16:25 14:10 
1600m 4:45  4:05 
1500 4:25.2  3:49.8 
1 mile 4:46.9  4:08.6 
3k  9:20.7  8:04 
3k St  9:59.9  8:39.9 
3200  9:59.1 8:37 
2 mile 10:02.9  8:40.2 
10k 34:15  29:30 

After meeting the A Standard, the next step is to contact Barb Lindquist so she can help prepare you for the Swimming Benchmark Test with workouts and swim video analysis.  The Swimming Benchmark Test is a 100 all out, 1 minute recovery, 500 all out, both from an in-water push, not a dive. The bar to shoot for in yards for the 100/500 is 1:10/6:30 for women and 1:05/6:10 for men, but recent swim history and current swim training are taken into consideration when we look at these times.

Many college runners finish their NCAA eligibility feeling that they did not meet their full potential in the sport, either because of injury or from being in a program that did not match their training needs. If you do not meet the A Standard but are close to it and you believe you can reach it, follow the directions below for the Swimmer and complete the 1000m + 1600m run test.


We are looking for swimmers who can meet the A Standard by saying:
  • I am an NCAA Division I or II Championship qualifier, D1 Conference consolation finalist, or D3 NCAA finalist, ideally, but not exclusively, in middle distance, distance free, or IM events.
  • I have a running background from high school, excel at dry land run training, and have been told I'm a fluid, competent runner.
  • I have the potential to have a "runner's build" once my swimming volume drops and I focus on becoming a runner.
After meeting the A Standard, the next step is to contact Barb Lindquist so she can help prepare you for the Running Benchmark Test. The test is a 1000m on a track and then a 1600m completed 2-3 days later. If your 1600m is close to the B Standard (Women 5:10, Men 4:37), then we will give you 7 more weeks of run training to prepare for the next round of testing. Assistance with technique via run video analysis is offered after the first round of testing is complete.

Bona Fide Recruit

When the A Standard is met in the primary sport and the B Standard through testing, an athlete has the opportunity to be considered a “Bona Fide” recruit. Reaching this level enables the athlete to be considered for either the CRP Resident Program or a mentorship program at home.

The CRP Resident Program is a 1-2 year program based in Scottsdale, Arizona, starting each fall.  The primarily focus is on skills development to help transition to high performance environments upon graduation from the program. Athletes train full-time and support includes:

  • Full-time, in person coaching from the National Team Development Coach
  • Multi-year development plan focused on reducing weaknesses and building on strengths
  • Housing in various locations dependent on the best training and racing bases each year
  • Triathlon equipment from USAT sponsors, travel funding, living stipend
  • USA Triathlon and USOC High Performance staff support, including psychological work and performance testing
“Bona Fide” athletes who are unable to relocate for the Resident Program because they are finishing school or currently have a job can still get mentorship and support by receiving:

  • Coaching from a local, experienced triathlon coach who has agreed to work pro bono for a year
  • Mentorship for the athlete and the coach with an Olympian
  • Opportunities to take part in clinics at key U.S. races; invitation to a week-long summer camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Assistance with equipment through USA Triathlon sponsors
  • Guidance on race selection in order to earn elite pro card which is the primary step toward earning a spot on USA Triathlon’s first funded program, the Elite Athlete Development Program