PHOENIX, Arizona, October 4. TODAY'S edition of The Morning Swim Show features Mark Weber, who became a name to watch this collegiate season with a very quick in-season time in the 50-yard freestyle.
Weber, a senior at Florida State University, swam a 20.03 last weekend, which came as a bit of a surprise to him. He talks about the preseason training that helped him swim so fast and what motivation he gained from disappointing performances at the Olympic Trials. Weber also mentions other swimmers that could do well this season, and help Florida State become a major force next spring at the NCAA championships. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, October 4th, 2012. I am your host Jeff Commings. Today, in the FINIS Monitor is the fastest sprinter in the collegiate ranks so far this season. Mark Weber is a senior at Florida State University and he swam a 20.03 in the 50 yard freestyle last weekend, and he joins us now from Tallahassee, Florida. Mark welcome to the show, how are you doing today?
Mark Weber: I am doing good, thank you. How are you?
Jeff: Doing well, thanks. So 20.03, was that a surprise?
Mark: It was a little bit of a surprise. I kind of thought it might be coming, but at the same time we have been working really hard and it was a stretch and a dream, but it is great to go that fast.
Jeff: So when you say you say you might be coming, what was going on with training the thought that made you think that this was possible?
Mark: It has just been our first, it has just been our first two weeks in group training and so we switched over to the more sprint group weights and training in the pool so a lot more power and speed work and just really breaking us down, and I wasn't really sure how fast I was going to be able to go, but it obviously worked out.
Jeff: Yeah, just and besides that you had a great split in your 200 free relay I think was 19.3 is that right?
Mark: That's right.
Jeff: Yeah, so I mean you really had a great first start to this season what was your best in season time the 50 before this?
Jeff: 19.6 and then so that was – but that was actually at the ACC championships, but I am talking about like actually during the season not shaved or tapered?
Jeff: 20.03, so 3/10ths better so you think that is going to correlate to a 19.3 at the end of the season?
Mark: I think and I am hoping for a little bit faster than that. We will see how it goes.
Jeff: Well that really does bode well for you as most people would love to have a 20.03 in the first meet of the season. Now Florida State has had one or two guys every year that does well beginning NCAA's and it looks like you are going to be that guy this year. How do you feel about being that kind of leader for Florida State this year?
Mark: It is good. It is exciting, but I don't think I will be the only one this year. We got a lot of guys coming up that are fast that really turned on at the end of the season and I think we are set up well to surprise some people come conference and NCAA's.
Jeff: Well tell us about some of those people we should be looking out for.
Mark: Paul Murray, Trice Bailey, they are both swimming with me. They are both swimming really fast right now for being really tired and they always do really a lot of conference meets. We got some incoming freshman Derek Pridemore which should be real strong for us, you know we just got — John Jessell swam really well at the end of the year last year. We are looking for him to swim real fast and I mean we have got so many people coming back that we should just have an incredible year this year.
Jeff: Florida State did really well at the men's NCAA's. You guys were 7th in the 400 free relay, 9th in the 200 free relay which I will come back to in a minute. I guess you kind of have you been riding that momentum from such a great meet in March to what you are doing now?
Mark: I think so. The team is really excited. It kind of sparked off at ACC's last year. The team really came together, and we had a lot of fun at ACC's and they really help this one fast and I think that that spark is kind of stuff what it does through the summer and into the end of this year and we are kind of taking and pushing it through all the stuff that we do right now. We are really gearing for the end of the season. We are trying to keep the energy level up to that conference level all year long.
Jeff: Now, the 200 free relay at NCAA's as I have said you have got 9th at that meet. You split an 18.83 which was tied for the fastest split in that event, I mean where did that come from?
Mark: I always swam fast on the relays. I love the relays. I don't know what it is, but I can just step up and swim fast. I think those are more the true measure of my speed in comparison to my individual events where I think I struggle sometimes and I am able to swim well, but not at the same level as I do on the relays and that is something that I am looking to fix this year.
Jeff: Yeah, it is an issue I think a lot of 50 freestylers have especially at the NCAA's where you are doing potentially 3 or 4 50 frees in one day. How do you manage to keep the same mental focus and excitement that you have for the relay and try to equate that to doing something well in the individual event?
Mark: Part of that I think is working with our sports psychologists, they are helping us out, helping me work through keeping up the excitement on individual events and then also just trying to think of the same thing as where as I am running someone down. I am trying to think of that in my individual events, try to picture someone out there in front of me and know that the entire team is there behind me want me to go and catch that for swimming that is kind of what is going through my head.
Jeff: Well that is kind of an interesting approach to this. I have never really heard about you know using sports psychology to help you swim fast. How long have you been taking that approach?
Mark: The sport psychologist has been working with our team for the last year so we have been doing some groups sessions with the whole team working together and trying to get to be a better team helping smaller things that we can do individually and just trying to train the mental aspect of swimming as much as we do the physical aspect.
Jeff: Yeah I think that is definitely a part of swimming that has been untapped so he kind of works with you as a team and then kind of deals with everybody separately?
Mark: Mainly group sessions. There are — you can do individual sessions but a lot of the stuff we do is team leading.
Jeff: Okay, interesting. You swam in the Olympic trials. You went 23.21 in the 50 free, 51.4 in the 100 free. How would you rate your swims from that meet?
Mark: It was extremely disappointing. I had been faster times in practice just the week before and I think going to the meet, feeling the pressure of the meet, all the people and just the new environment. I have never been at the meet before and it is an extremely tough environment to swim in no matter how prepared you think you are, you step up on the blocks and you do your thing, and then you turn out and you look at the board it is not what you expected to happen and I think definitely it is a tough situation to swim in.
Jeff: Well I think it is safe to say that disappointment has kind of been your motivation so far I mean you come from that to going 20.03 in the season. I think it is kind of – would you say that is kind of what has been the case?
Mark: Oh yeah. It definitely was disappointing and I think all the hard training I did last year leading up to that, really wanting to do well and not doing well really crushed me and I took a little break and that I got that break and I am coming back and the fire is just roaring right now to get fast.
Jeff: Now you are kind of in a tough spot. You are collegiate season ends next spring. Do you think you are going to continue to compete through to 2016?
Mark: I am not sure. We will have to see what happens this year.
Jeff: Okay. So what are you, I guess if the plan is to not continue, do you have any kind of career plans after graduation?
Mark: I am working on it a lot in a sports management degree and eventually I would like to being a live director so I am working to start in getting into some entry level director position in athletics and just finding a job there and working my way up.
Jeff: Well, maybe you could, I mean whether you continue swimming or not just kind of continue working there for Florida State. I am sure they could be glad to have one of their best sprinters in their history in working for them.
Mark: It would be a great opportunity I would love to.
Jeff: Well Mark congratulation son this great start of your season. I know you got a big meet coming up this weekend, your first dual meet at the season. You are kind of expecting another 20-flat from your 50?
Mark: I hope so. I would like to be able to go faster than that. I would like to stay under in the dual meets this year so let's see if I can pull it together.
Jeff: That would be very impressive. Thanks again for joining us and good luck this season.
Mark: Thank you.
Jeff: All right that was sprinter Mark Weber joining us today in the FINIS Monitor and that will do it for today's Morning Swim Show as always we invite you to post your thoughts on today's show by going to swimmingworld.com as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages. I am Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.
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