St. Peter, Minn. – After a month during which senior swimmer Alissa Tinklenberg led her team to a fifth straight MIAC Championship, earned MIAC Swimmer-of-the-Year honors for the second consecutive season, and broke program records in total all-conference swims, gold medals, and points scored at the conference meet, it would seem as if there wasn’t a whole lot the Willmar, Minn. product – who was already the most decorated swimmer in the history of the program – had left to prove. However, Tinklenberg did have something to prove. March rolled around and with it the NCAA Championships – the final meet of her collegiate career. Alissa narrowed her focus, pushed her training to the limits, and put an exclamation mark on a career that was already destined for the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame.
For the second straight month and for the second straight year, Alissa Tinklenberg has been named the Gustavus Female Athlete-of-the-Month for March. Below is how it all happened at the 2014 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships held at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis on March 19-22.
Wednesday, March 19
– Tinklenberg misses out on the finals of the 50 freestyle by just 1/100 of a second after recording a time of 23.52 in the morning preliminaries. She later touches the wall in 23.71 in the consolation finals to take 14th overall and earn All-America Honorable Mention honors.
– She swims the opening leg of the 200-medley relay alongside Laura Drake (Sr., Mendota Heights, Minn.), Danielle Klunk (Jr., Appleton, Wis.), and Katie Olson (Jr., North Oaks, Minn.) in the preliminaries. The relay finishes 11th with a time of 1:45.12 in the prelims, but rebounds in the consolation finals with a ninth place finish in 1:43.98 after changing the lineup with the substitution of Jenny Strom (Jr., Rochester, Minn.).
Thursday, March 20
– After earning a place in the championship finals with a prelim time of 1:34.10, the 200-free relay team comprised of Olson, Tarin Anding (So., Sartell, Minn.), Klunk, and Tinklenberg achieved Gustavus’s first All-America honor of the meet by placing fourth overall with an MIAC/school record time of 1:33.27.
– The 400-medley relay team of Tinklenberg, Strom, Klunk, and Olson added another All-America performance on Thursday night with a fifth place finish in 3:46.97, which was also a new MIAC/school record. The relay moved up one place from its prelim time of 3:48.18 (6th).
Friday, March 21
– Tinklenberg reigns in her first individual All-America accolade in the finals of the 100 backstroke. Tink earned a spot in the finals after going 55.87, and then capped the night off with an eighth place mark in the event after recording a 55.91.
Saturday, March 22
– Tinklenberg guarantees herself a second individual All-America honor after finishing fifth in the morning preliminaries of the 200 backstroke (2:00.16). She goes on to move up one place into fourth after posting a time of 2:00.33 in the finals that night.
– The 400-free relay team of Olson, Anding, Klunk, and Tinklenberg caps the NCAA Championships with an All-American swim. The group finished sixth in the preliminaries with a time of 3:27.21, and concluded the meet with a seventh place performance with a time of 3:27.20 in the finals.
– The Gustavus women’s swimming and diving team recorded a school record 154 points for a seventh place standing at the NCAA Championships – the highest finish in the history of the program.
– Tink leads the team in points and concludes the meet with five All-America swims (2 individual, 3 relay) and two All-America Honorable Mention swims (1 individual, 1 relay).