By Camiran Moore
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 26, 2019) (UKNOW) — 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.”
Seidt became the ninth-fastest performer in the 200 backstroke in history on Saturday, when she reported a 1:48.65 in the 2019 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Her lifetime best, it broke her own school record and earned a bronze medal. In the process, she became an eight-time NCAA First-Team All-America honoree, the most of any UK swimmer — male or female — in program history, three of which were earned in three straight 200 backstroke performances. By collecting a bronze medal, the junior earned the best finish of any UK individual swimmer this week.
In the process, the Louisville native tabbed NCAA First-Team All-America status in each of her three individual events this week in the national meet, the first time she has done so in her collegiate career. All the while, she reset her own school record in the 100 and 200 backstroke during the national meet. Her previous best of 1:49.24 in the 200 backstroke was recorded at the 2018 NCAA Championships
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. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree 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, National Football League Hall of Famer; and the University of Kansas’ (1996) Jacque Vaughn, former head coach of the National Basketball Assocation’s Orlando Magic.