Alissa Tinklenberg Awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Posted on May 13th, 2014 by

Photo courtesy of Dan Coquyt `14.

Indianapolis – The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced its 2014 winter sports postgraduate scholarship winners. Among the list of 29 male and 29 female winter sports student-athlete recipients was senior swimmer Alissa Tinklenberg (Willmar, Minn.).

“What an achievement to add on top of an outstanding collegiate career,” said Gustavus Head Swimming and Diving Coach Jon Carlson. “Alissa strives excellence in everything she does. Whether it be in the pool or in the classroom, her work ethic and drive are matched by very few individuals. Winning a prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarship is the culmination of four years of hard work, combined with an amazing positive attitude.”

To qualify, student-athletes must excel academically and athletically, be in their final year of eligibility and plan to pursue graduate study.  Student-athletes must also maintain at least a 3.2 grade-point average and be nominated by their institution’s faculty athletics representative.  Created in 1964, NCAA postgraduate scholarships promote and encourage education by rewarding the Association’s most accomplished student-athletes.

Tinklenberg is the 35th Gustavus student-athlete to receive an NCAA postgraduate scholarship since football player James Goodwin became the first in 1974.  She is the first Gustie to earn this honor since pole vautler Ally Voss `13 last season.

Already the most decorated women’s swimmer in the history of the program heading into her senior season, Alissa Tinklenberg added to her future Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame resume with the best season of her collegiate career. On an individual level, she was named the MIAC Women’s Swimmer-of-the-Year for the second straight season after winning all three of her individual events and being a part of four gold medal relay teams at the MIAC Championships. At the NCAA Championships, “Tink” turned in All-America swims in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, 200-free relay, 400-medley relay, and 400-free relay.

To Tinklenberg, however, her individual accomplishments take a back seat to what the Gustavus women’s swimming and diving team has achieved during her tenure. This season, the Gusties captured their fifth consecutive (fourth during Tink’s career) MIAC Championship with a school record 886.5 points. The Black and Gold went on to score 154 points  – also a school record –  to finish a program-best seventh place at the NCAA Championships held in Indianapolis in late-March.

A dominant backstroker, Tinklenberg on the blocks at the 2014 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.

A dominant backstroker, Tinklenberg on the blocks at the 2014 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.

Junior Katie Olson, who has earned multiple All-Conference and All-America accolades alongside Tinklenberg over her first three seasons, says that Alissa’s individual drive stems from team success. “She is not only concerned with how hard she works but how hard others work as well – that is a sign of a true leader,” said Olson. “She is supportive of those who are dedicated to the sport and will do anything to help them succeed. She is a strong and independent person who sets high goals and will do anything to reach those goals, which are a few of the qualities I admire most in her. Alissa’s presence on this team has been well received and will be felt for many years to come.”

Out of the water, Tinklenberg’s academic achievements are equally impressive. A public accounting major with a cumulative grade point average of 3.79, Tink earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors and was later named a CoSIDA Academic All-American as a junior. She is a four-time CSCAA Scholar All-American and three-time Academic All-MIAC honoree who also volunteers for Relay 4 Life, Kids Against Hunger, Breast Cancer Awareness initiatives, and the Special Olympics.

Associate Professor in economics and management, Bruce Smith, who served as Alissa’s academic adviser calls Tinklenberg an ‘ideal student.’ “The only time she ever missed class was for a swimming event,” said Smith.  “She was always prepared and performed very well on examinations. She gets along with other students and actively participated in group quizzes.  I wish I had more students like Alissa.”

The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes in their final year or intercollegiate athletics competition that excels academically and athletically. The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants of $7,500 that can be used for research, books, tuition and other educational expenses at any graduate school.

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association’s most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated.  An equitable approach is employed in reviewing each applicant’s nomination form to provide opportunity to all student-athlete nominees to receive the postgraduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race.  In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.

For more information on the NCAA postgraduate scholarship program and to view a complete list of this year’s recipients, please follow the link below.


One Comment

  1. Tom Hodgson says:

    The entire St. Thomas Swimming and Diving team sends our most sincere and hearty congratulations to Alissa. This is an amazing honor, and one that is richly deserved. Tink, you are a class act in all that you do. Thanks for representing the MIAC S & D family so well. We tip our caps to you!