Former University of Kentucky All-American Asia Seidt has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. Seidt’s announcement comes a year before the postponed 2021 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
Seidt exhausted her NCAA eligibility this spring and opted to not carry on for the next year as a post-graduate training for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
In the pool, Seidt earned 21 NCAA All-America honors, including 8 first-team honors in her first 3 seasons (no first-team distinction was awarded for the canceled 2020 meet).
She also qualified for the 2019 World University Games, where she earned a silver medal in the 200 backstroke.
At the 2019 NCAA Championship meet as a junior, Seidt finished 3rd in the 200 backstroke in 1:48.65, tied for 5th in the 200 IM in 1:53.54, and 5th in the 100 back in 50.68. She finished her Kentucky career as the school record holder in all 3 of those events. She also has more All-America honors than any other swimmer, male or female, in Kentucky history.
For all of her accomplishments in the pool, Seidt is equally-accomplished academically. In 2019, she was named the Elite 90 Award winner for having the highest GPA of all student-athletes who competed at the NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, and was also named the 2020 H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She was also named the 2019 Arthur Ashe Female Sports Scholar of the Year, 2019 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and was named to the 2020 CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.
In an Instagram post announcing her retirement, Seidt said this:
“It is impossible for me to say everything I want in one post, but I’m going to give it a try. Today I have officially decided to retire from competitive swimming.
“Looking back at the past 14 years, I have been able to accomplish more than I ever dreamed of in this sport and can walk away knowing I gave it everything I had. Thank you to my coaches and teammates, both past and present, for shaping me into the person I am today.
“Thank you to my family and friends for constantly supporting my goals and having my back through it all. Even though my career was cut short, my heart will forever be happy knowing that swimming will always be a part of me and who I am.”
While Seidt is not the first swimmer to announce that she would retire rather than train through to the 2021 Olympic Trials, she is the most high-profile to do so.
Seidt ranked 15th in the world in her best event, the 200 back, in the long course 2018-2019 season. The backstrokes are among the deepest events in the United States, though, and that same ranking made her just 7th among Americans in the event. Of the 6 Americans who are ranked ahead of her, 3 are still just teenagers, including the defending World Champion and World Record holder Regan Smith.
Top US Women in 200 LCM Back Since Rio 2016 Olympics
- Regan Smith – 2:03.35 (WR)
- Kathleen Baker – 2:06.14
- Lisa Bratton – 2:07.91
- Isabelle Stadden – 2:08.16
- Alex Walsh – 2:08.30
- Hali Flickinger – 2:08.36
- Asia Seidt – 2:08.56
- Olivia Smoliga – 2:08.58
Seidt, who majored in Kinesiology at Kentucky, grew up in Louisville swimming for the Lakeside Seahawks and Sacred Heart Academy.