The following was originally published on ukathletics.com.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ky.- After winning nearly every notable award during her illustrious career with the Kentucky swimming and diving program, Asia Seidt was one of two recipients awarded the Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship on Tuesday.
The scholarship is valued at $24,000 and given to one male and one female recipient nationally every year. Recipients are chosen by the NCAA Walter Byers Scholarship Committee and are recognized as combining the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for their achievements and to be future leaders in their chosen field of career service.
Seidt is currently working on a doctorate in physical therapy at Kentucky. Ivo Cerda from Michigan is the 2021 male recipient of the scholarship.
"This route lets me combine two of my biggest passions, physical therapy and sports," Seidt wrote in her application essay for the Byers scholarship. "Swimming has set me up for this position because I was able to learn and practice the characteristics of a successful leader by being a team captain and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative. Being a part of collegiate athletics, I have firsthand experience that life does not always go as planned, so I may have to adjust to any obstacles that get in the way."
Her goal is to one day own a physical therapy outpatient clinic that serves athletes.
Seidt was named the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year in November to become the first-ever UK winner. She was selected from more than 600 candidates.
Of all swimmers and divers - male or female - who have ever come through the Kentucky swimming and diving program, Seidt holds the most records. Seidt has earned more All-America honors, NCAA Championship podium finishes, Southeastern Conference Championship medals and All-SEC First Team selections than any UK swimmer or diver, man or woman, who has come before her.
Meanwhile, Seidt maintained a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology with the highest honors.
In her time at Kentucky, the Louisville, Kentucky, native earned 21 All-America honors, 15 SEC Championship medals, eight NCAA Championship podium finishes, four conference titles, one USA Swimming Summer Nationals gold medal and one World University Games silver medal.
As the conclusion of her competitive career, Seidt held five individual school records, was twice named to the USA Swimming National Team, twice qualified for Team USA Olympic Trials, was three times named to the All-SEC First Team, is the 2019 ELITE 90 recipient, the 2019 Arthur Ashe Female Sports Scholar of the Year, the 2020 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2020 CoSIDA At-Large Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
One week ahead of the canceled 2020 NCAA Championships, Seidt had three individual events ranked in the nation's top seven, with her best event, the 200 backstroke, listing third in the nation with a seed time (1:48.86, 2020 SEC Championships) that wasn't even her career best (1:48.65, 2019 NCAA Championships).
A list of her accomplishments is as follows:
- 2021 Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship recipient
- 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year
- 4.0 GPA, B.S. in kinesiology
- 2020 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year
- 2020 CoSIDA At-Large Female Student-Athlete of the Year
- 2016, 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier
- 21-time All-American, including eight-time First Team All-American
- 2019 Gold Medalist at Phillips 66 National Championships in 200 Backstroke
- 2019 Silver Medalist at Phillips 66 National Championships in 400 Medley Relay
- 2019 Silver Medalist at World University Games (Team USA) in 200 Backstroke
- 2019 NCAA Elite 90 recipient
- 2019 Arthur Ashe Female Sports Scholar of the Year
- 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars First Team
- 2019 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
- 2017-18, 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team
- 2018, 2019 U.S. World University Games Team
- 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 NCAA qualifier
- 2017, 2018, 2019 All-SEC First Team, 2020 All-SEC Second Team, 2017 SEC All-Freshman Team
- 2017, 2018, 2019 SEC Champion in 200 Backstroke
- 2018 SEC Champion in 100 Backstroke
- Five-time silver medalist at SEC Championships
- Six-time bronze medalist at SEC Championships
- 2020 Frank G. Ham Society of Character
- 2017 SEC Freshman Female Swimmer of the Year
- 2019, 2020 CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team
- 2018, 2019, 2020 CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team
- 2018, 2019, 2020 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll
- 2017 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll
- 2017, 2018, 2019 CSCAA Scholar All-America First Team
- Volunteered over 450 hours of professional shadowing
- Volunteered over 200 hours to community service, including The Hope Center, Kentucky Aquatics and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass