Recruiting Stories – Mark Weber

Shear strength. Physical? Mental? Artificial?
May 11, 2016
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Recruiting Stories – Mark Weber

flying mark weber

I always knew I wanted to be a collegiate athlete, but I didn’t always know how I would get there. My recruiting story is a little different.  Unlike most of my friends, I hadn’t swum for most of my life. I actually only swam a season here and a season there, mainly during high school because it fell between fall and spring soccer. I loved swimming, but it wasn’t a big sport where I grew up and I never really considered it outside of high school season because I was always playing soccer. My brother and sister both played soccer, my best friends played soccer, it seemed like everyone I knew played soccer! So how did I end up swimming at Florida State University?

It takes a spark

It started with my 8th grade english teacher, Mrs. Miles. Mrs. Miles had all of us write a letter to our “future self” in which we were supposed to talk about our likes and dislikes, music we listened to, girls we liked, friends we had, etc. But the most important thing she had us include was our dreams and goals. Once we finished our letter she read through them (they were an assignment after all…) and had us place them in a manila envelope and address them to ourselves. She told us she would mail them to us after what was supposed to be our first year of college. Then, I never really put a whole lot of thought into those assignments in school and I quickly forgot about it. Even when it showed up in the mail box 5 years later I had no idea what it was.

Follow through is key

Curious, I opened the envelope and began reading. Most of the things I wrote in the letter were silly and almost embarrassing, but one thing jumped out at me. My goals. I wrote down two closely related goals and by the time was reading that letter I had already accomplished one of them. “My goal is to be an NCAA Division 1 athlete, and to compete in the Olympics for the United States in either soccer or swimming.” Who knew a simple little goal I wrote in the 8th grade would end up driving decisions I continue to make to this day?

The hustle

So again, how did I end up swimming (and chasing my dreams) at Florida State University? I hustled. Plain and simple. I knew what I wanted but I just needed to figure out how to do it. During high school swim season my Junior year I started to realize I had the potential to win a state championship in the 50 free, but I needed to put in work. I started doing morning practice on my own with my coach and then practicing in the afternoons with the high school team. I qualified for the state meet, but false started in the 50 in prelims. But that just drove me to work harder.

The grind

My friends from the high school swim team convinced me to join their club team and pass on playing high school soccer that spring. I swam with them throughout the next year, and started up my morning swims with my coach again during high school season my senior year. This time I made it through the prelims at the state championships and was even the top seed. I ended up winning the GA high school state title and qualifying for USA Swimming Sectionals which were a few weeks away. However, despite winning, I didn’t feel well and I didn’t swim a fast enough time to be considered for a D1 school. The next week I found out I had mono and I had to take most of the next 2 weeks out of the water. Finally, I was allowed back in the water and had to “re-taper” for sectionals in two weeks.

The reward

Sectionals was the best meet I had ever had up to that point. I finally swam fast enough to be considered for a Division 1 school but I worried I may have been too late. It was already March and most of the schools I tried to Mark webercontact in the fall had already given away their scholarships. Luckily, I decided in the fall to apply to FSU just for school and received my acceptance letter shortly after sectionals. I sent the coach an email shortly after receiving my acceptance letter and lucky enough for me, he was still looking! From then on the rest is history.

Make the most of your moments

Its never too late to chase your dreams or attempt to achieve your goals. Hard work, persistence, and dedication can take you amazing places. It may not always take you where you think you want to go (I was a soccer player remember?) but you’ll certainly be amazed by where you end up.

Editors note:  Mark is too humble to brag about his ‘history’ so I will do it for him.  Mark is now married to another former FSU student athlete, a 2015 USA National Team member, NCAA All-American, and ACC Champion.  He also recruited himself to SwimMAC Team Elite when he told me the above story.  We’re cheering for him this weekend in Charlotte and rooting for him this summer in Omaha and Rio.

Mark Weber
Mark Weber

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