St. Louis, Mo., May 22, 2018 – Nicole Zanolli, a 2018 Washington University in St. Louis graduate, was awarded the 2018 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, an honor which is granted to student-athletes that excel both academically and athletically while also serving as leaders in the community.
Zanolli will receive a scholarship of $7,500 to be used for a postgraduate study within three years. She accumulated a 3.86 grade point average while majoring in biology. Next year Zanolli will attend Duke University's School of Medicine.
"I am extremely honored to have received the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship," wrote Zanolli. "Being a student-athlete is something I have always been very proud of, so to be recognized by the NCAA is very humbling. Receiving this award will ease the financial responsibilities of attending medical school, helping make my dream of becoming a doctor a reality."
The Menlo Park, Calif.-native reached the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving National Championships in all four seasons on the Danforth Campus. She helped guide the Bears to four top-10 finishes and earned All-American honors in her final three years.
"Nicole has been such an important part of our program for the last four years," replied head coach Brad Shively. "She was a terrific captain this past season and battled to help our squad to be the best it could be. Her work habits and intensity are a big reason for nearly half of our school records being broken and some of our highest NCAA Championship finishes ever occurring during her time on the Hilltop campus."
Shively has helped guide the Bears to an unprecedented string of success. Both the WashU men and women's swimming and diving teams have posted top-10 finishes in four consecutive seasons.
"The care and support coach Shively shows for each one of his athletes is remarkable," added Zanolli, "and his guidance has allowed me to achieve my goals both in the pool and out. I would also like to thank my parents who have sat through more hours of swimming than anyone should have to and were never more than a phone call away."
Zanolli credits athletics for helping her transition into an adult and growing more familiar with the WashU community.
"During my time at WashU, athletics and swimming was my home," Zanolli shared. "During the transitory period of freshman year it provided me a place of familiarity and friendship. Whenever I found myself struggling I knew I had a community of teammates, coaches and faculty that I could turn to. This foundation gave me self-confidence in other aspects of my life, specifically school."
Although the 13-time All-American is saddened by the thought of leaving St. Louis, she is excited by the knowledge of cheering on the Bears as an alum next year. In fact, the NCAA Division III National Championships will be held less than an hour from Duke's medical campus in Greensboro, N.C.
"I am sad to leave St. Louis and the wonderful memories I have made at WashU behind," said Zanolli, "but I am excited to start a new chapter of life in Durham. Conveniently, the swimming NCAA meet is in Greensboro next year and I can't wait to cheer on the Bears as an alum."
In addition to concluding her career with 13 All-American finishes, Zanolli had six honorable mention All-American finishes, 15 all-University Athletic Association (UAA) honors while being named a 2017 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Second Team Academic All-American. She was awarded the Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-District 5 Team honor and is eligible for Academic All-American honor this year as well.