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Weber misses cut at Olympic Trials

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Notre Dame junior Mason Weber, shown competing at the 2008 MSHSAA Championships, became the first former Owl to race in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
(File photo)
OMAHA -- The first Marshall swimmer to compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials came up short of qualifying in his featured event Monday, but will take another stab at it later this week.

Notre Dame junior Mason Weber was in the fifth of 15 heats of the 100-meter breaststroke, putting up a time of 1:05.40 to finish 117th in a field of 139 entries. Although his time was shy of his 103rd-seeded mark of 1:04.43 and personal record of 1:04.41, Weber was "satisfied" with his performance.

"I was pleased with what I did," he said. "It wasn't my best time, but okay for the focus I put into it."

Although he's been competing at high level since the age of 11, the atmosphere surrounding the Team Trials at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha was unlike any Weber had yet to encounter.

"It's been amazing. I've never swam on this big of a stage," he observed. "Other than the Olympics, there's nothing with so much fanfare or this big of a production."

Weber conceded that the magnitude of the event may have given him a case of the jitters.

"Being the first race for me, it was getting the nervous out a little bit," he said.

Competing for the Fighting Irish Swim Team, Weber will take another stab at qualifying for the London Olympic Games later this week during Wednesday's time trials for the 200-meter breaststroke, with the heat races set for Thursday.

Stanford senior John Criste had the best preliminary time in the 100 breast at 1:00.29, however he didn't qualify for the finals later in the day during the semifinal round -- won with a time of 59.71 seconds by former Olympian Brendan Hansen. The former University of Texas four-time NCAA champion won three medals in the 2004 in Athens and was a member of the USA's gold-medal 400 medley relay quartet in the 2008 Beijing games.

Weber was an all-American in two events -- the 100 breast and 200 individual medley -- during both his junior and senior seasons with the Owls, and claimed 12 state medals. The pre-med major is hoping to enter medical school this fall, but also has another season of eligibility to swim for defending Big East Conference champion Notre Dame.

He believes the experience he's gaining this week "will help me a lot" during his final college campaign.

"It was one of those reality checks realizing how many great swimmers there are out there," Weber said. "I want to maximize my performance to get the most of my last year."

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