Kentucky swimmer Asia Seidt has a near-perfect academic track record, but you might have a hard time believing that if you factor in how many times she’s almost been late to her 5 p.m. statistics class.
Seidt’s stats class is in the Don and Cathy Jacobs Academic Science Building, about a half-mile away from the Lancaster Aquatic Center, where Seidt practices with her teammates every day.
Kentucky’s swim practices go past schedule, leaving Seidt hardly any time to get to her stats class. On those days when practice lasts longer than expected, she’s had to sprint the half-mile across campus to make it to class on time, but she hasn't been late yet.
“The doors lock at 4:59 and I’ve had to use my ID to swipe in once,” Seidt said.
There have been times, especially after a hard practice, that skipping the class would be the easier option for Seidt, but that’s not the type of student she is.
Seidt has maintained a 4.0 GPA her entire academic career, dating back to her time at Sacred Heart High School in Louisville. Seidt probably isn’t the only one in her stats class with a 4.0 GPA, but what makes Seidt’s GPA so impressive is that she’s maintained it while doing the things she’s done in the pool.
Seidt is a 10-time NCAA All-American swimmer and a five-time NCAA First Team All-American in her two seasons at Kentucky. As a freshman, Seidt became the first UK newcomer to win an event at the SEC Championships as she won her signature event, the 200 backstroke.
A couple of weeks later at the NCAA Championships, Seidt broke the 200 backstroke school record en route to a third place finish, her first podium finish at the national championships. Seidt went on to finish the meet with five All-American honors as just a freshman.
The following season, Seidt became the first UK swimmer to win consecutive SEC titles in one event after winning her signature event. Seidt also secured five more All-American finishes at the NCAA Championships a couple weeks later, including a second place finish in the 200 back in a school record time.
“Being with Lars (Jorgensen) and the entire coaching staff and my teammates, you’re pushed to something you never thought you could get to,” Seidt said.
One of the teammates that has pushed Seidt is Danielle Galyer, a former UK swimmer who graduated after Seidt’s freshman year and has since gone to law school at the University of Florida on scholarship.
As an athlete, Galyer had a lot of success herself, finishing as an NCAA First Team All-American four times and winning the program’s first ever national title in the 200 back in her junior season in 2016, the year before Seidt came to UK.
Galyer was also an excellent student, as she won the NCAA Elite 90 Award her junior and senior seasons. The award is given to the athlete with the best GPA at all 90 NCAA Championships.
During the 2016-2017 season, when Seidt and Galyer were teammates, Galyer pushed Seidt not only in the pool, but also in the classroom.
“Danielle was awesome, especially coming in my freshman year, she was a senior, and she pushed academics so much, we talked about it every week as a team of how big of a deal it was,” Seidt said.
Galyer also taught Seidt how to be a leader, which is important for her now that she’s an upperclassmen and the top swimmer on the team. Galyer was a great leader for the team when she was at UK, and Seidt’s head coach believes Seidt can be just as good of a leader herself.
“It’s great when your best swimmer is also a really good leader, it makes any coach happy,” Jorgensen said. “When your best athlete is not a great leader, it makes your job difficult, so she is now, as far as leadership concern, has stepped up and kind of fulfilling or even exceeding what Danielle did in terms of that.”
Seidt is trying to match Galyer this season in terms of something that Seidt has yet to accomplish, winning a national title. Seidt also wants to maintain her 4.0 GPA this semester and every semester until she graduates.
Seidt knows that swimming won’t last forever, despite her level of talent. Seidt is majoring in kinesiology and hopes to become a physical therapist when her days in the pool are over.
Originally Seidt was chasing a degree in biology when she came to UK, but after taking a plant biology class her freshman year, she realized that did not interest her and made the switch to kinesiology.
Seidt is enjoying kinesiology much more now because of how it relates to athletics.
“I’m able to apply the things that I’ve learned to swimming and athletics, and then take that into the future with me,” Seidt said. “I really like real-life application, so I’m sticking with that.”
If everything works out, Seidt will be a physical therapist after she qualifies for the Olympics in 2020. Seidt has been training for the Olympics ever since arriving to UK, and after making two USA National Swim teams, the chances of her making an Olympic team are real.
“I definitely have goals and aspirations to be on the team, so looking forward that’s my plan, that’s where I’m going to be and hopefully it works out,” Seidt said.