Marshall's Weber medals in Zone meet

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Mason Weber became the first-ever Marshall swimmer to compete in the Speedo Junior National Championships last week at Indianapolis. (Chris Allen/Democrat-News)

Marshall junior Mason Weber notched three top-10 finishes over the weekend during the USA Swimming Central Zone Championships at Topeka, Kan.

The Zone meet followed two races for Weber at the Speedo Junior National Championships in Indianapolis, where he was the only 16-year-old entry from the Kansas City area.

Weber began his journey Wednesday in the Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis Natatorium -- where he has swam twice previously in Zone competition -- in 800-meter freestyle relay for the Tsunami Swim Team of Kansas City. Weber took the second leg of the quartet which finished 44th out of 51 entries with a time of 8:02.73. He was also scheduled to compete with the Tsunami 400-meter medley relay, but wasn't in the group which wound up disqualified.

Weber made it to nationals individually in the 100-meter breaststroke, besting his personal record by some four-and-a-half seconds last month during the Speedo Central Sectional at Oklahoma City with a 1:07.93.

He didn't match that mark while coming in 95th out of 113 swimmers in Thursday preliminaries, although his 1:09.78 was faster than his norm. John Criste of Mission Viejo, Calif., won the event in 1:03.21. Weber, a two-time state medalist for the Owls and the only Marshall swimmer to ever reach the Junior Nationals, was 25th among the 31 16-and-under entries in the race.

Weber was expected to swim in five solo events at the Zone meet, but wound up racing three times -- making the "A" finals in the 200-meter individual medley.

After coming in fifth out of 34 entries in the prelim at 2:19.07 -- well off his seeded time of 2:14.52 -- he clocked a 2:19.56 in the finals for sixth place. The winner was Joe Rodgers (2:13.62) of Newton, Kan.

Weber made the "B" finals in two other events. He was ninth in both the prelim (2:41.42) and finals (2:38.42) of the 200 breaststroke, won by Sam Conklin of Hutchinson, Kan., at 2:30.64. Weber was not allowed to enter in his signature 100 breast after having qualified for nationals.

Weber placed 10th in the first round of the 400 freestyle with a 4:27.97, winding up 15th in the finals at 4:31.15. The Kansas City Blazers' Brian Seo took the main event in 4:16.90.

Weber now turns his attention to the Owls' campaign, which begins its third season later this month. He has twice reached state in the maximum two events -- and has posted qualifying times in several others -- to lead the young program.

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