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Asia Seidt is the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year

Former Kentucky swimmer is the 30th woman to receive the award

Asia Seidt — a former swimmer at Kentucky who majored in kinesiology — is the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year. Seidt accepted the award virtually Friday night during a live-streamed awards show celebrating the Top 30 honorees.

The Woman of the Year Award, created in 1991, recognizes graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves in athletics, academics, leadership and community service. Seidt is the first Kentucky student-athlete to receive the award in its 30-year history.

“I’d like to thank the female athletes who have paved the road for us,” Seidt said while accepting the award. “I hope this inspires all other female athletes to see what we can accomplish and to pave the way for younger female athletes in sports.”

Seidt, who was named team captain her senior year, is the most decorated swimmer (male or female) in school history. She holds nine school records and amassed 21 College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America All-America honors during her college career. She won four conference championships: three in the 200-yard backstroke (2017, 2018 and 2019) and one in the 100-yard backstroke (2018). Seidt won a gold medal at the USA Swimming Summer Nationals and competed internationally as a member of Team USA in the World University Games for two years, where she earned a silver medal in the 200 backstroke in 2019.

“My biggest piece of advice for any females in athletics would be to not have a fear of doing things that have never been done before,” Seidt said. “Push those opinions aside and believe in yourself and have confidence in who you are and the things you can accomplish. If you want to do it, chase after those dreams.”

She graduated from Kentucky in May with a 4.0 grade-point average. The 2019 SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year received the 2020 H. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholar of the Year Award, presented to an SEC graduate. Seidt also earned national academic accolades. She is a four-time CSCAA Scholar All-American and was the 2020 CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-America Female Team Member of the Year. In 2019, Seidt received the NCAA Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade-point average competing at an NCAA championship finals site. She was also named a 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Sport Scholar of the Year.

“Being a student-athlete really allows you to thrive in the academic setting,” Seidt said. “The time management skills are something I still use today in my graduate program, and without swimming, I don’t think I would have been as successful academically.”

She is currently enrolled in the doctor of physical therapy program at Kentucky and hopes to open her own practice within three years.

Seidt also dove headfirst into community service in college, including volunteering for four years with Special Olympics Kentucky and for three years at Hope Center, a recovery center for alcoholism and substance abuse. Her senior year of college, she became a mentor to a local 10-year-old through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, an experience she credits as being as impactful to her personally as it is to the young girl she mentors.

“Being a Big Sister, we like to call ourselves ‘defenders,’ and that means just being a defender of a child’s potential,” Seidt said. “Knowing that every child you interact with has potential in the future to do something great, and that’s what I love about it.”

Seidt noted that being named Miss Wildcat at Kentucky was her proudest achievement, because the award recognizes athletes who displayed all-around excellence in athletics, academics, character and service. She received the award in consecutive seasons. In 2020, Seidt was inducted to the University of Kentucky Frank G. Ham Society of Character in recognition of profound commitment to the following areas: academic excellence, athletic participation, personal development, community service and career preparation.