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Seiler shines in primetime

Placer graduate races against Phelps in 100 fly
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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David Seiler could not wipe the grin off his face Thursday night in Irvine after the biggest day of his prolific swimming career. The Placer High graduate had a breakthrough performance in the preliminary round of the USA Swimming National Championships in the 100-meter butterfly Thursday morning. Swimming two lanes over from 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, he turned in another personal record in the final. “I had dinner with my team tonight and I could not stop smiling,” said Seiler, who swims collegiately at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. “I’ve had coaches that have followed me for years coming up and congratulating me and telling me it’s good to see me back on the national scene. It’s been a while. It was really rewarding to come here and accomplish something like this.” Seiler, who will be a junior at UNLV this fall, wasn’t projected to make much noise at the biggest meet in the country. He was seeded near the middle of the pack out of more than 100 entrants in the 100 fly – only the top eight make the prestigious final. Thursday morning, Seiler was feeling great. He won his heat and shaved nearly a full second off his previous personal best, clocking in at 53.46 seconds. His time held up and landed him the fifth slot in Thursday night’s final. “It’s something I thought I could do,” Seiler said of qualifying for the final. “I felt really good about it in warmups. I did a lot of hard work this summer and I took this as a good opportunity. It’s our offseason for college, but I never stopped training. I really went for it.” After learning he would be swimming in the primetime final against Phelps – the world record holder in the event – and the rest of the country’s best, Seiler was a nervous wreck. But he received some good advice from some old friends and was well prepared for the final. “I spent most of the day pacing around, worrying about it,” Seiler said. “But then I got in touch with my old coach at Placer (Ron Buda) and my old club coach and they all just put things into perspective for me. They said this swim was pretty much just for me and to just have a good time. It took a lot of pressure off of me.” Seiler finished sixth in the final, which Phelps dominated. But Seiler left with another personal best – 53.04 – and a renewed passion for the sport he loves. “It was a big best time for me,” Seiler said. “And I haven’t had one of those in a long time.”