Mission Hills native to take on Phelps at swim nationals

Pembroke Hill graduate and Stanford junior Bobby Bollier will hit the pool at the USA Swimming National Championships in Irivine, Cal., today as one of the top-ranked butterfliers in the United States.

It just so happens that his best event is also the one that prolific Olympian Michael Phelps holds the world record in.

Bollier is ranked third in the field of competitors for the 200 meter butterfly at the meet, and assuming he performs well in the preliminaries tomorrow during the day, he’ll face Phelps and second-ranked Tyler Clary of the University of Michigan in the finals tomorrow evening.

Bollier, who has been training this summer with the Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team (FAST) in Fullerton, Cal., will be swimming in several events at the meet, which serves as a qualifier for the Pan-Pacific Games, also to be held in Irvine later this month, and the World Swimming Championships, which will be held in Shanghai in 2011.

“It’s definitely always interesting to swim next to these fast people,” Bollier said. “There’s something about it that puts and edge on things.”

And while the prospect of swimming a lane or two away from Michael Phelps is probably enough to provoke an anxiety attack for the average country clubber, for Bollier, it’s nothing new.

“Well, Michael Phelps has broken a world record swimming right next to me,” Bollier said. “So at this point I’m pretty used to it.”

Bollier said he expects that at least two of the competitors in the 200 butterfly will qualify for the Pan-Pac meet, and maybe three.

NBC will be airing a delayed broadcast of the meet on Saturday and Sunday, and results will be posted online at USASwimming.org.