Seidemann is an Illinois native, but she grew up in Northern California. Seidemann, one of three sisters, joined a community swim team in California, and one of her coaches played water polo at the University of California. That’s how she got started.
She went from College Park High School to Stanford, where she scored 239 goals, matching the school record. She also was the Cutino Award winner in 2013, given to the nation’s top collegiate water polo player.
In a pool full of tough players, Seidemann is often tasked with establishing position inside, and moving opponents out of position when she is on defense. It’s not for everyone, but it works for her.
“I was always the one that was beating up on my older sister. I always had like a hot burning temper,” a smiling Seidemann said. “It’s a good position. Both offense and defense, it suits me.”
Seidemann is close with her family, and Tokyo is the first Olympics since her mother, Bobbie, died in September after she had a third stroke. She was 63.
Bobbie Seidemann also had a stroke right before the 2016 Games, and Melissa balanced the Olympic schedule with trips to a Brazil hospital to spend time with her mother.
“I knew that if I was going to have any impact on the team, I had to be there when I was in the pool,” she said. “So I just did my best to know that when I was with my family that that was special time. And I was thankful that I got that time. And when I was in the pool, I had to be with the team.”