March 19, 2011

AUSTIN --- Texas A&M junior Alyssa Conner received the NCAA Elite 88 Academic Recognition Award on Friday at the 2011 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Texas.

The ELITE 88, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 88 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 88 championships.

Conner, from Granite Bay, Calif., received the award with perfect 4.0 grade point average while pursuing her undergraduate degree in marketing. Conner is two-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 Swimming and Diving Team and has received special recognition each year for her 4.0 GPA. It is the second year in a row that a Texas A&M swimmer has garnered the honor after Ella Doerge received it at last year's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

"Alyssa is as diligent, hard-working and conscientious as any student I've had the pleasure of working with," Texas A&M swimming and diving scholastic supervisor Chris Barttelbort said. "To be recognized at the top of her peers is a testament to her as an athlete, a student and as a person."

A standout in the pool as well as the classroom, Conner is competing in the first NCAA Championship of her career. She swam in the 500-yard freestyle, the 400 IM and the 1,650 free. At the Big 12 Championships last month, Conner posted her career-high finish at the conference meet with a bronze medal effort in the 400 IM. Conner ranks among A&M's top 10 all-time performers in the 500 free, the 1,000 free, the 1,650 free and the 400 IM.