Collegiate Recruitment Program


About the Program

Of USA’s 22 Olympians for triathlon, 19 competed at the NCAA level for running or swimming prior to their Olympic berth. The Collegiate Recruitment Program (CRP) was launched in 2009 to fast track the talent transfer of single-sport collegiate athletes to triathlon. Through active recruitment, assessment, mentorship, support and a full-time coaching environment within an elite squad, USA Triathlon has increased the quality and quantity of the next generation of potential Olympic medalists.

USA Triathlon is looking for collegiate runners with a swimming background and swimmers with a running background. Because of the draft-legal nature of the Olympic Triathlon (1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run), the swim is important to “get you in the game” — placing the athlete in a competitive bike pack — while the run wins the game. The best men typically run off the bike faster than 30 minutes and the best woman faster than 34 minutes.

The CRP assesses talent via high school and college PRs, performance history and by using testing protocols. Athletes who meet the standards are taken through the processes and skills needed to become an elite triathlete. This streamlines and professionalizes the athlete's growth in triathlon, with the goal of finding Olympic medalists.

The program is led by Collegiate Recruitment Program Manager Barb Lindquist, who successfully made the transition from Stanford swimmer to 10-year elite triathlete and 2004 Olympian. Collegiate coaches or athletes who would like more information about this exciting possibility should contact Barb at

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Success of the CRP

Over the nine-year history of the CRP, two recruits have put themselves on the Olympic Team. Gwen Jorgensen grew up as a swimmer, walked onto Wisconsin’s swim team, but found her true collegiate calling her junior year when she switched to running. She made the U.S. Olympic Team in 2012 after doing her first triathlon in March of 2010. In the 2014-2015 seasons, Gwen won a record 13 straight ITU World Triathlon Series races in a row. She qualified for her second Olympic Team in Rio and became the first gold medalist for the USA in the sport of triathlon.

Katie (Hursey) Zaferes, Syracuse steeplechaser, also made the 2016 Olympic team. Katie grew up as a swimmer and began running in high school. She was in the first group of athletes invited to join the CRP Resident Program in 2013. At the end of the 2017 season, Katie was ranked third in the WTS series, and in 2018 she improved to finish second. 

In addition to Gwen and Katie, runners Kirsten Kasper and Renée Tomlin (Georgetown), Chelsea Burns (Colgate), Kaitlin Donner (Florida), Kaleb VanOrt (Notre Dame), Matt McElroy (NAU), and Morgan Pearson (Colorado); swimmer/runners Summer Cook (Villanova) and Erin Dolan (Drury); and swimmer Taylor Spivey (Cal Poly) all have earned status on our Silver or Bronze National Teams and are highly ranked nationally. 


High Performance Pipeline

Explore USA Triathlon's High Performance roadmap to stay informed about opportunities, processes and programs available to athletes. Click here to learn more.


The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) oversees and coordinates the Olympic anti-doping program in the United States. As you move through your competitive career from age-grouper to elite to being part of USADA’s Registered Testing Pool, it's important to be aware of the rules and how they apply to you at your current competitive state. The following links will help you navigate safely: