After being named to the U.S. National Team late this past summer, Wisconsin senior Michael Weiss is enjoying his first taste of international competition as he ventures to Istanbul, Turkey, for the 2012 FINA Short Course World Championships. Weiss, who is teaming up with members of the U.S.'s 2012 Olympic squad, including gold medalist Ryan Lochte, will compete for Team USA once the meet begins on Dec. 12.
The Reno, Nev., native is joined on the trip by Badgers swim and dive head coach Whitney Hite who was named an assistant for Team USA at the short course world championships. Weiss will be updating us on all that is happening in Turkey throughout the trip, from start to finish. Follow his journey as Weiss blogs about his experiences both in and out of the pool.
Monday, Dec. 17
I'm heading home back to Madison! It was a fantastic last night of racing -- enjoyed being able to hang out with the team a little more. Going to this meet was one of the best experiences of my life and I can't wait participate in future world competitions for Team USA. I got to know, learn from, and hang out with many Olympians that I've looked up to for a long time, as well as the young swimmers that I will be traveling with a lot in the future.
Moving forward, I have already turned all my focus back on the college season and NCAA's and can't wait to finish out a great senior year!!
Saturday, Dec. 15Another great day in Istanbul! I've begun training hard again to continue my focus on the college season and NCAA's. Now that I am done competing I am able to relax and cheer on the rest of the team.
The U.S. has been doing a great job throughout the meet and I watched Ryan Lochte win the 200 IM last night and set a world record! Today between prelims and finals I was able to get out of the hotel and walk around a little visiting our hometown favorites Starbucks and McDonalds, although the fries and chicken nuggets didn't taste quite as deliciously unhealthy. Then we explored the streets and went to a store to buy all different kinds of candy, which consisted of mostly variations of chocolate wafers with nuts.
Tonight we are heading to the pool to watch another great night of finals and cheer on America! One more day left in Turkey and I can't wait to come back to Wisconsin to enjoy some cheese curds, a Greenbush doughnut, and Ian's pizza!!
Friday, Dec. 14
I had a great first day (ever) of international competition and was able to conquer all of my goals. The night before competition, the head coach told me I would be anchoring the 800 free relay as well after my individual event and I was extremely happy I was given that opportunity. I knew I was capable of a great 200 free and helping Team USA bring home the gold later that night.
During the finals session leading up to my 400IM I remained very relaxed and confident as I always am, and anxiously sat in the ready room with my competition. Wearing the red, white, and blue jacket and putting on a cap with my last name under the American flag, was all the motivation and excitement I needed for fast swimming.
The doors opened, my name was announced, an I heard the team chanting USA as I walked to the blocks. I was able to drop another second from my morning swim and get 7th place. To top off the great day I was already having, later that night the relay I was on won gold for America and officially made me a World Champion! Overall, it was an awesome experience and I'm excited to come back to Madison with a gold medal!!!
Wednesday, Dec. 12
World championships has officially started! The head of USA swimming gave the team a great pump up speech about representing your country and making them proud. Team USA had some really good swims on day one of the meet and we hope to keep it going throughout the weekend.
As much as I would've loved to watch the opening ceremonies and first night of finals tonight, I spent most of my day in the hotel room resting and shaving to get ready for tomorrow! I will be swimming the 400 IM and I will also anchor the 800 free relay in the morning session. Can't wait to get out there and race and make Wisconsin and America proud!
Tuesday, Dec. 11
Yesterday we took a tour through Old Town Istanbul. Due to a
constantly growing population there is traffic everywhere 24/7. Fortunately for
the U.S. team we have a police escort on a motorcycle blocking lanes off and
weaving us through traffic to get us there faster.
We started off by going shopping at a bazaar, a market with a bunch of little shops set up in it. Unfortunately for me most of the shops consisted of rugs, jewelry, and scarves so I ended up not getting anything except a pastry for dessert. And then we went and visited the Blue Mosque (a really cool famous place with a lot of history, but I couldn't hear the tour guide haha)
We woke up today and went and warmed up to get ready for competition to start tomorrow.
Now that all countries are here many of the warm up lanes
swam in the reverse direction, which helped me understand why our foreigners
struggle when first coming to America. We will spend the rest of today resting,
stretching, and getting ready for the meet to start tomorrow!!!
Friday, Dec. 7 (Team
departs for Turkey)
We started off the journey with plane delays and flight cancellations, but got a nice jog as we hustled from gate to gate -- we just barely made our connection to Istanbul! Had a nice time on the flight getting to know all the members of Team USA and hanging out with great flight attendants to keep us happy and amused for the long flight.
We arrived in Istanbul and checked into our hotel and had
some down time after not sleeping at all the night before. Finally, we went to
the pool and warmed up and got excited for a good week of fun and fast
swimming. So far, all of our meals have been similar to an Indian food buffet
back in the states - we have baklava for dessert every day, so I could definitely
get used to this!