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

CRP Wall of Fame

Collegiate recruits placing Top 3 in a Continental Cup, Top 8 in a World Cup or Top 20 in a World Triathlon Series:

Gwen Jorgensen - Gold Team, 2012 Olympian, World #1
Katie Hursey Zaferes - Gold Team
Kaitlin Donner - Silver Team
Kirsten Kasper - Silver Team
Renée Tomlin - Silver Team
Chelsea Burns - Bronze Team
Summer Cook - Bronze Team
Erin Dolan - Bronze Team
Taylor Spivey - Bronze Team
Brianna Blanchard
Julie Stupp
Nicole Truxes
Jason West - Bronze Team
Kaleb VanOrt - retired
Sean Jefferson
John O'Neil
Jason Pedersen

What is the Olympic Format?

Triathlon comes in a variety of distances and formats. We are recruiting for the draft-legal (DL) Olympic-distance race — 1500-meter swim, 40k bike, 10k run. For the women, this race takes about 2 hours, and for the men about 1:45. In the Olympics, the bike portion of the race is draft-legal, meaning you can ride right behind someone on the bike to take advantage of their draft. Most age group, non-elite, races are non-drafting, where it is illegal to ride within a certain distance of a fellow competitor. Because of the draft-legal nature of the Olympic Triathlon, the swim is important to ‘get you in the game,’ while in most races the run is what wins it. The closing 10k times in Beijing for the Olympic Gold medalists were a 33:16 for the women and a 30:45 for the men.

Team Psycho®

USA Triathlon and the College Recruitment Program are pleased to announce Team Psycho® as a sponsor of the CRP Resident Program currently based in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the 2014 season. In a ground-breaking sponsorship program, Team Psycho®, thru its Elite Development Program, will provide travel grants to the six CRP athletes training with the National Development Coach and two USA Triathlon Performance Advisors to help ease the financial burden created by the pursuit of their Olympic dreams. Team Psycho®, a suburban Boston-based triathlon club founded in 1991, created the Elite Development Program (EDP) as a not-for-profit program 10 years ago when the sport of triathlon was making its Olympic debut and the funding for up-and-coming triathletes was scarce. Their hope is that other triathlon teams in the U.S. will follow their lead and provide financial support to developmental athletes and programs at USA Triathlon.

US Anti-Doping Agency

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) oversees and coordinates the Olympic anti-doping program in the United States. Athletes who compete, are members or license holders of an NGB, or who fall under USADA's testing jurisdiction as defined in the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement testing, are subject to urine and/or blood testing both in and out of competition. 

USADA's Olympic Education department is responsible for educating athletes, including juniors and collegiate-level, about the rules of the anti-doping program. There are numerous resources on the USADA website (http://www.usada.org/athletes) that can aid in the understanding of sample collection, results management and Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE). As you move through your competitive career, it's important to be aware of the rules and how they apply to you at your current competitive state. Additionally, any medications can be checked against the WADA Prohibited List by using the Global DRO resource (www.globaldro.com).

For a short webinar explaining USADA, the testing process, TUEs and the Prohibited List go to http://www.usada.org/webinars and click on the "Non-National-Level Athlete Webinar." This resource is specifically for those athletes who are not currently in USADA's Registered Testing Pool but who are competing at an elite level.