INDIANAPOLIS – Former University of Alabama swimmer Luke Kaliszak earned the prestigious NCAA Top 10 Award, the NCAA announced Thursday.
The NCAA Top 10 Award recognizes student-athletes who have completed their athletic eligibility for their success in competition, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients will be honored in January at the NCAA Honors and Delegates Celebration at the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando, Fla.
“We are very proud of Luke and beyond excited for him,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “He brought great drive and determination to all aspects of the collegiate experience and was a remarkable ambassador for our program and the University, exemplifying our core values of attitude, character and commitment.”
Kaliszak was a 12-time All-American for the Crimson Tide, earning seven first-team accolades. He swam the butterfly leg on Alabama’s first NCAA relay championship title as part of the 2016 200 medley relay. The Huntsville native broke Alabama school records in four events, including two individual and two relays.
“To be named one of the NCAA’s Top 10 senior student-athletes is an amazing honor, not only for Luke, but his team, Alabama Athletics and the University as a whole,” UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne said. “We are extremely proud of all he accomplished while at Alabama, both in the pool and in the classroom, and the way he represented himself, his family and Alabama.”
The Crimson Tide’s co-captain and Paul W. Bryant Scholar-Athlete award winner as a senior, Kaliszak was a USA National Championships bronze medalist in the 100-meter backstroke in 2015 and a silver medalist at the 2017 United States Open as part of the Crimson Tide’s 400-meter freestyle relay.
Graduating Magna Cum Laude with an exercise science degree in May 2018, Kaliszak is planning on attending medical school. A two-time member of the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American At-Large First Team and a four-year College Swimming Coaches Association of America Scholar First Team All-American, he was named the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2018. He also earned both an SEC Postgraduate Scholarship and NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
The 15th Alabama athlete to receive the prestigious honor, Kaliszak’s selection marks the eighth time in 10 years an Alabama student-athlete has received the award, joining Haylie McCleney (softball/2017), Kim Jacob (gymnastics/2015), Barrett Jones (football/2014), Brooke Pancake (women’s golf/2013), Kayla Hoffman (gymnastics/2012), Greg McElroy (football/2011) and Brittany Rogers (softball/2010).
“Our legacy when it comes to this award that represents the best of the best in collegiate athletics is incredible,” Byrne said. “For a school to win it once is a huge accomplishment, so when you look at our history, with eight members of the Crimson Tide earning this honor over the past 10 years and 15 overall, it is simply astounding.”
Alabama’s complete list of NCAA Top 10 (formerly Top VIII/Top V) recipients include: Randy Hall (football/1975), Steadman Shealy (football/1980), Meredith Willard (gymnastics/1997), Andreé Pickens (gymnastics/2002), Kristin Sterner (gymnastics/2003), DeMeco Ryan (football/2006), Beth Mallory (track and field/2007), Rogers, McElroy, Hoffman, Pancake, Jones, Jacob and McCleney.