Trevor Jones got so used to swimming fast that he decided to walk fast, too – as in, walking across the graduation stage. The 20-year-old junior is set to graduate from Wayne State University this month with a bachelor’s in finance after just two and a half years on campus.
The Farmington, Michigan, native graduated from nearby Farmington High School with 39 credit hours to his name after taking nine AP classes at the prep level. From there, the accelerated graduation plan naturally came into fruition – without being planned at all.
“It originally started as a joke with my parents. I joked at one point that if I earned six credits over a summer, I’d be able to graduate in five semesters,” Jones said. “Then my mom and dad talked about how I could theoretically get my master’s degree in four years. We did some more research and discovered Wayne State’s accelerated master’s program, so last year I applied and got in.”
Wayne State’s Accelerated GRADuate Enrollment (AGRADE) program enables currently enrolled students with a GPA of at least 3.3 to enroll simultaneously in some undergraduate and graduate programs. The minimum GPA requirement can be higher in some graduate programs.
Before attending Wayne State, Jones originally committed to swim at Michigan State University, before the university announced in October 2020 that it would discontinue its swimming and diving program following the 2020-21 season.
A sudden, unexpected change like that can create a lot of angst for anyone, especially a young student-athlete with dreams and aspirations. Jones credited his Wayne State coaches for helping him get back into the right mindset and continue pushing toward his goals as a Warrior.
“It was a very emotionally charged time, as you can probably imagine,” Jones said. “Fortunately, I had a strong familiarity with the coaches — Head Coach Sean Peters and Assistant Coach Gloria Martinez Perez — and they did a very good job of connecting with me and helping me through it. Gloria has been one of my club coaches since I was a kid. And I had a couple calls with Sean immediately after Michigan State cut their program, and I could tell from those calls that he had a vision of what I could accomplish. He spoke to me a lot about my goals and how he’d push me to achieve those goals, and I also felt that he cares about me as a person outside of the pool.”
Both Jones and Wayne State have benefitted from the connection. In addition to being a five-time All-American and earning All-GLIAC honors four times, Jones has also received First Team CSCAA Scholar All-America accolades, been named a Second Team Academic All-American by College Sports Communicators and was named to the GLAC All-Academic Excellence Team.
His daily regimen includes waking up at 5 a.m. to go to swim practice before school and attending classes and doing homework in the afternoon before another session of swimming practice in the afternoon, followed by another hour or two of homework.
“This schedule feels normal because I’ve been doing this level of coursework and intensity since my junior year of high school. It has felt like more of a continuation, so I didn’t really have that shock coming into college, thinking it was a lot harder. That routine of school and swimming has helped me stay disciplined.”
That level of routine and discipline has carried over into meal prep for Jones, who cooks his own meals every day.
“I’m a very intuitive eater. I know what my body needs and will help me train the best,” Jones said. “It’s especially important for endurance athletes to get the right volume of food and nutrition you need. For me, I knew how the meals I ate in high school contributed to my success then, so coming to college I figured I could make my own food and maybe make the transition to moving away from home a little easier.”
Athletes on the Wayne State swimming and diving program are committed to their craft most of the calendar year, as regular season meets start in September and leads up to the GLIAC Championships in February. Those who qualify for the NCAA Championships are in the water in mid-March at the SPIRE Aquatics Center in Geneva, Ohio.
Outside of that, the team trains throughout the summer. For Jones, that training schedule coincided with an internship he had this past summer at Ally Bank in Detroit, where he’ll return this summer.
Jones, who will continue to swim for Wayne State as he completes the master’s program after walking in WSU’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 16, doesn’t yet have a clear-cut plan for what the early stages of his career will look like as a 22-year-old M.B.A. graduate, but he’s very open to any opportunity that presents itself.
Until then, he’s committed to taking it one day — and one swim stroke — at a time, while taking to heart the advice that a high school coach instilled in him in years past.
“The process is the reward,” Jones said. “Instead of building an experience up to just one big culmination at the end of the year or the end of a season, you get that reward throughout the entire process. You get the enjoyment from the doing the work, doing the training, seeing the improvement.”