By LARRY VAUGHT
Maybe when you think of the best athletes on the University of Kentucky campus last year you would include swimmer Asia Seidt. But my guess is that most of you would not. However, you should.
She earned 21 All-American honors in her UK career, won 15 SEC Championship medal and eight NCAA medals, got a gold medal at the USA Summer Nationals and earned a silver medal the World University Games. She has five Kentucky school records.
No other UK swimmer or diver can top her awards list.
But she did all this while maintaining a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average while getting her kinesiology degree. Said was the Arthur Ashe Female Sports Scholar of the Year winner and twice was named SEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
“It’s such an incredible honor to be SEC Scholar Athlete of Year. The amount of elite athletes in the SEC is incredible. To be in competition with them and get to bring this award to UK is incredible,” Seidt said.
So how did she manage to always make A’s considering her intense training schedule — and she also had over 650 volunteer hours in her four years at UK.
“I think coming in freshman year college was a shock. It was a lot different not living at home (in Louisville). It was a big adjustment with the progression of athletic and academics both being harder,” Seidt said. “I had to learn how to balance all that my first year. UK has so many resources to get you nto a groove, so that really helped.”
Did she ever get close in a course to not making an A?
“Definitely freshman year I was close to not making an A,” Seidt, who starts physical therapy school in August, said. “It came down to the last project or test and I managed to pull it out.”
Seidt is more proud of what the UK swim team accomplished during her career than her individual accolades. She says she will remember the relationships with teammates more than wins or record.
“I am going to miss my coaches and teammates,” Seidt said. “I would see them every day twice a day. During quarantine it has been hard not seeing them. I keep up with them but it is not the same but the good thing is I will be around the next couple of years and can still see a lot of them.”
She was hoping to participate in the U.S. Olympic Trials again this summer before COVID-19 postponed the Olympics until 2021. Seidt says the idea of maybe not swimming competitively again has not “fully hit me.”
Seidt finally got back in the pool about two weeks ago for the first time since COVID-19 stopped the swimming season.
“That made me feel like my old self,” she laughed and said.
If Seidt does not compete again, she can leave knowing she has shown others across the state that swimming at UK can lead to individual and team success.
“It’s good to show you do not have to go to the best swimming school to have success,” Seidt said. “The Kentucky program can succeed and you can have success no matter where you go.
“When I was recruited out of high school, I was not anywhere close to the swimmer I am now. I fell in love with UK and it was easy to have success with all the resources and support. But if you had told me in four years I would be able to get to where I am now, I really would not have believed you. The UK culture changed my mindset freshman year and showed me the things I ended up being capable of doing.”