Aug. 17, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- Having recently concluded his collegiate career swimming at the University of Wisconsin, NCAA All-American Michael Weiss is set to compete as a member of the USA National Team at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Australia this week.
The Pan Pacific Championships take place Aug. 21-25 in Gold Coast, Australia, featuing over 300 of the world's top swimmers from the USA, Japan, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia. There, Weiss is scheduled to compete in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle, as well as the 200- and 400-meter individual medley.
Weiss qualified for the Team USA roster at the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine, California, by finishing fourth in the 200-meter freestyle in one minute, 47.87 seconds.
No stranger to U.S. national teams, the Reno, Nevada, native earned his first career gold medal in 2013, winning the 400-meter individual medley at the World University Games. His time of 4:12.00 ranked as the seventh-fastest 400 IM swim in the world at that time.
UWBadgers.com recently caught up with the former Badger standout.
> Would you say qualifying for the Pan Pacific Championships is one of the greatest achievements of your young career? What did it feel like to stand on the podium knowing you had solidified a roster spot?
Standing up on the podium after my race was a huge relief and a lot of excitement. Qualifying for the U.S. national team is always one of the biggest accomplishments an athlete can achieve, but for me to be able to do that and make the A team and Pan Pacs Team is a dream come true. It's a great experience and a big step towards my goal of making the 2016 Olympic team.
> You've had the opportunity to travel the world and compete with U.S. national teams in the past, including the 2012 World University Games in Kazan, Russia. What is that experience like and what does it mean to you?
This is my fourth international competition where I'll be competing for team USA. Every time is just as exciting as the one before. We spend all year competing against each other, and these meets are the time we all put the USA flag cap on our head and compete as one team and one country. Meeting up with the country's best athletes and being able to travel around the world with them is a dream for almost anyone. I am very grateful that I am able to have these opportunities.
> How excited are you to be able to go to Australia and compete among some of the world's best? Have you ever been to Australia?
This is my first trip to Australia. I know it will be one to remember forever. This is the third-biggest, most prestigious meet behind world championships and the Olympics, so I'm excited to have made this step in my career and am one more step closer to my dream.
> You recently graduated from Wisconsin. What are some of your fonder memories of competing as a Badger?
My best memory as a badger was definitely the opportunity to travel around the country and compete against the best. Wisconsin athletics gives their athletes opportunities that not many other universities in the country are able to offer. I'm grateful to have been able to get an education and wear the motion W for five years.
> What would you say was the biggest thing you took away from competing and learning at Wisconsin?
The biggest thing I took away from my time as a Badger was the self discipline it takes to be a successful and professional athlete, as well as the ability to work and be part of a team. Whether it's competing for Wisconsin or Team USA, being able to be part of a team is a great feeling and a wonderful experience.