Alissa Tinklenberg – January Female Student-Athlete of the Month – Sophomore, Swimming
The Gustavus women’s swimming & diving team took to the pool each weekend in January and never lost a competition, winning all four meets. The Gustie women have proved their great team success, but one individual in particular has shown sheer dominance every time she dives into the pool. Sophomore Alissa Tinklenberg won 16 of the 17 events she participated in during the month and for her outstanding performance, the Office of Sports Information has named Tinklenberg Female Student-Athlete of the Month for January.
“Alissa’s had a phenomenal season up to this point, which makes it very exciting to see what she’ll do at the end of the season,” head coach Jon Carlson said. “She’s an incredible competitor and one of the best closers in races that I’ve ever coached. I expect her to compete for the championship in all three of her individual events as well as contribute to relays and hopefully go on to nationals.”
The Willmar, Minn. native started the New Year with three individual first place finishes and was part of a first place relay team when the Gusties hosted Carleton College on Jan. 7. Tinklenberg started the day by claiming the podium in the 1000-yard freestyle in 10:55.94. Her next race was the 200-yard backstroke, which she won in 2:10.19. Her time of 5:16.55 in the mixed 500-yard freestyle was also good enough for top honors and to cap off the day, her relay team of Serena Elthon, Sarah Hund and Katie Olson won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:40.03. The Gusties finished the meet with 203 points, defeating Carleton who had 96.
Two weeks later, the Gustie women took to the newly opened Russell K. Osgood Pool on the campus of Grinnell College for the 11-team Grinnell Invitational, which Gustavus wound up winning with a total of 1,247.5 points over multiple NCAA Division II and III schools across the Midwest. Tinklenberg highlighted the two-day event by claiming all four of her individual races and three of four relay events. Her individual first place finishes came in the 500 freestyle (5:10.75), 100 backstroke (59.81), 200 freestyle (1:57.70) and her time of 2:08.09 in the 200 backstroke set the pool record.
In the relay events, Tinklenberg teamed up with Abby Lyle, Olson and Jenny Strom to win the 800 free relay in 8:06.18. In the 400 medley relay, Tinklenberg, Kelsey Lucia, Steph Corba and Strom took the podium in 4:03.91, and in the 200 medley, that same team took first with a time of 1:50.86. The sole event in which Tinklenberg did not win in the entire month was the 400 free relay. Her team of Elthon, Lucia and Olson placed second to the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 3:39.17.
Gustavus returned to MIAC competition for its last meet of the month and took on the University of St. Thoamas at the brand new Anderson Recreation Complex Aquatic Center in St. Paul on Jan. 27. Tinklenberg once again stole the show with three individual wins and another relay victory in a 158-141 Gustie victory over the Tommies. “Tink” crushed the pool record in the 1000 freestyle by over :30 with a time of 10:41.34 and was :00.05 shy of setting another pool record in the 200 backstroke in 2:10.69. Her third individual victory came in the 500 free with a time of 5:13.86. Tinklenberg’s 200 free relay team of Elthon, Hund and Lucia also set a pool record in a time of 1:38.92.
“Alissa came into this season with a completely different attitude,” Carlson noted. “She found her love for swimming and competing and she’s just a vicious competitor. In the 1000 free at St. Thomas with 200 yards left I saw her go into the wall a little more aggressively. She then went 2:02.91 in her last 200, which would place her in the top 12 in the conference in just the 200. That’s without a start and starting from a flip.”
Tinklenberg and the rest of the Gustie swimmers return to the pool this weekend at the Minnesota Challenge hosted by the University of Minnesota. Friday’s events begin at 6:00 p.m.