LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky junior swimmer Asia Seidt has been named the Arthur Ashe Female Sports Scholar of the Year, selected out of 1,000 nominees by “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine.
“You can’t find a better representation of what it means to be a student-athlete in all of collegiate athletes,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “She is a wonderful young lady, great student, great leader and an asset to our program. She is great to coach and she is hardworking, and there isn’t much she can’t do and excel in at a high level.”
A four-time Southeastern Conference Champion and five-time NCAA First-Team All-American, Seidt will compete in the 2019 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships March 20-23, making her third straight appearance in the national meet. The Louisville native qualified for three individual events, tied with senior Geena Freriks for the most qualified events on the team – 100 and 200 backstroke, 200 IM – and she helped UK to four eligible relay events.
In February at the SEC Championships, Seidt won a gold medal in the 200 backstroke to become the three-time defending champion in the event. The junior is ranked in the top 15 in the 100 and 200 backstroke and the 200 IM for times recorded in 2019, and is currently the third-fastest female in the in the nation in the 200 backstroke with her gold-medal time of 1:49.31, recorded in the league meet. Seidt is the only UK swimmer in school history to have won three straight titles in the conference meet in a single event.
This season, Seidt has yet to eclipse her career-best time of 1:49.24 in the 200 backstroke, posted at the 2018 NCAA Championships to collect a silver medal and break a school record.
Seidt was named the 2019 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in February, marking the third time in five years that a UK swimmer has received the honor. Pursing a Bachelor of Science in Education, majoring in kinesiology with a pre-physical therapy focus, Seidt boasts a 4.0 cumulative GPA.
Leading her team in and out of the pool, Seidt has participated in various community service projects with her teammates, including bowling with athletes from Special Olympics Kentucky, volunteering with Tri for Sight, Real Men Read and the Hope Center of Lexington.
Her accomplishments in the pool, in the classroom and in her community are not overlooked. The 2018 University of Kentucky Female Athlete of the Year and the 2017 SEC Female Freshman of the Year, Seidt currently holds six individual school records and has contributed to four record relays. She earned a spot at the 2019 World University World Games and the 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team, marking her second year on each team.
Last year, Seidt was voted to the 2018 CoSIDA Academic All-America Women’s At-Large Third Team. She is a recipient of the University of Kentucky Athletic Scholarship and the 2017 and 2018 University of Kentucky Swim Team Scholarship Award.
Seidt joins an elite club of one other UK student-athlete to be named the Arthur Ashe Scholar of the Year. In 2017, UK men’s soccer player Paul Sime was named the male winner.
In 1992, Black Issues In Higher Education magazine, now Diverse, established the Sports Scholars Awards to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.
A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people. Each year Diverse invites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate in this awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism.
Past recipients of the award include: Baylor University’s (2011) Robert Griffin III, Heisman Trophy winner and former Washington Redskins quarterback; the University of Tennessee’s (2003) Kara Lawson, an ESPN analyst who played for the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs; San Diego State University’s (1993) Marshall Faulk, NFL Hall of Famer; and the University of Kansas’ (1996) Jacque Vaughn, former head coach of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.