Michael Andrew on Michael Phelps’ 200 Individual Medley Criticism: ‘He’s Right’

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Photos Courtesy: Rob Schumacher & Grace Hollars/USA TODAY Sports

Michael Andrew on Michael Phelps’ 200 Individual Medley Criticism: ‘He’s Right’

At the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, Michael Andrew swam what was then the fastest time in the world in the men’s 200 IM with a 1:55.26 in the semifinals and then a 1:55.44 in the final. On both occasions, Andrew was well under world-record pace after 150 meters, only to fade badly and finish more than a second off the mark on both occasions, although he did hold on to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team. In the Olympic final of the event, Andrew again was in first place and well under world-record pace with one length to go, but fell apart and faded all the way to fifth place, more than two seconds off the gold.

What was going wrong? Michael Phelps, who was a four-time Olympic gold medalist in the 200 IM (the only swimmer in history to win four straight gold medals in one event), chimed in at U.S. Olympic Trials after watching Andrew swim. Phelps observed that as Andrew got tired, he was no longer catching enough water at the front of his freestyle stroke.

“I just think to swim a good 200, you have to train for the 400. To swim a good 100, you have to train for a 200,” Phelps said. “When you’re slipping water like that, I feel like that’s a training error. You’re not giving yourself that chance to have repetitions in training that you’re going to feel the last 25 meters. If he finishes in 28-anything, he’s going to break the world record.”

Almost six months after his Olympic debut, Andrew responded. Appearing on an episode of the Inside with Brett Hawke Podcast, which will debut Monday, Andrew said that he agreed with Phelps’ assessment. “He’s right. It makes sense.”

Andrew said that after the Olympic Trials, he believed he had put in sufficient training to be able to finish his 200 IM, so he was crushed when he faded even more at the Tokyo Games. He said that to avoid such results in the future, he has begun adding longer swims to his signature style of ultra-short race-pace training under father and coach Peter Andrew.

“You never want to lose a race like that,” Andrew told Hawke. “I ended the year with the second-fastest time in the world, but it was not good, and I think that was the hardest race for me. I think I’ve watched it back, like, twice. It was an emotional race to watch. But (Phelps is) right.

“With that being said, we are training longer now. We’re not relying just on repetitions of 50s at 200 pace, but we’re going to start doing broken 200s, broken 150s, 100s at pace. We realize that in order for me to learn how to close that race, I’m going to have to, like Phelps said, train for the 400 in order for my 200 to be good. And I hate admitting that because it would be nice to know that I could train for the 200 like a 100 guy of stroke, but it only works up until the 150. I don’t want to go my whole career thinking, ‘I could have broken the world record.'”

Andrew added that even if he repeated a 1:55 in Tokyo and won an Olympic medal but still finished poorly on the freestyle leg, he would have been disappointed. He plans to continue focusing on the 200 IM “for now,” although he admitted that he does enjoy training for sprint 50s and 100s more.

“I realize with my talent, there’s too much potential in the 200 IM to not give it everything for a few seasons,” he said.

24 Comments
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Paco
3 months ago

No he’s not
Did Usain Bolt train 400s in order to break 200 world records? No, he didn’t.
It does not make sense because it world break the specificity principle in sports.
Brent Rushall has been refuting those kind of superstitious statements all of his career.

Phelps is the best swimmer in history, but he is in spite of his training strategy, not because of it.
If Andrews wants to find the solution to his last 50 free meters he better find somewhere else.
It seems to me that neither him nor his father have fully understood the method they have been training all these years.

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Anonymous
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

You are wrong

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Bill
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

Of course a person should reject the opinion of the greatest swimmer ever and put their stock in the “specificity principle.” Smh

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Lizbet
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill

😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂

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John Boegman
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

Nope. It’s clear you don’t know enough about the sport. He didn’t have the base, period. In Olympic competition, Michael Andrew has to swim that race three times to win a medal. He ran out of gas. He had the speed. He didn’t have the endurance. You should listen to the G.O.A.T. — he knows a thing or two about training for Olympic medals.

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Bruce Paakh
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

Phelps has it right and Andrew’s knows it. In swimming you train sprints and you train mid distance and distance. Andrew’s trains for sprints and his fading in the 200 IM is clearly a result of needing more mid distance base. He gets it. Swimmers know their weaknesses and he knows with the right training he could potentially own that WR.

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Don Megerle
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

Right on … love Brent!!!

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Cate
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

And you are, who…?

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Kat
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

That is very funny. So which swimmer did use this Rushall’s method and achieved his potential? That would be interesting to know.

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Anonymous
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

Lol i think its funny you think you know more about swim then they do like who are you?

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Luke
3 months ago
Reply to  Paco

As a former national level swimmer and national level runner, I can tell you that neither sport translates to the other. Fitness attained from swimming definitely translated to running if you’re an aerobic athlete. However, the level of conditioning to maintain core stability and catch to finish a swimming event (beyond 50m) well means they don’t correlate at all. To finish a 200m swimming event involves a 28 second final lap. That is already well beyond the duration of a 200m sprint on track. 200m on track is also anaerobic.

Finishing a middle distance or even 100m sprint is not anaerobic. 400m swimming training develops conditioning in this domain. It’s actually quite obvious when you break this down metabolically.

I’m really curious to know if your reasoning goes any deeper than what your post suggests. If it were that simple, any armchair critic could program an Olympic champion’s training!

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atlee.gemili
3 months ago

you have no idea, you can’t compare 200 and 400 m running and 200 m and 400 m swimming. Practice it and you will see you really have no idea

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Timmy
3 months ago
Reply to  atlee.gemili

Actually the 100-200
10 and 20 secs compared to 2 and 4 minutes is ridiculous
Comparing any athletic endeavor to swimming is a waste of time
Swimming is the only sport where the effort is palms out
Even diving is gymnastics over water
The greatest swimming sprinters only have to compare to the ones chasing them
Even they are generally less red muscle fiber than a man all out running for 10 seconds

You’re welcome

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Roxy
3 months ago

I think he has to train for the proper pace to out. It’s not a zero sum game. Go out relaxed and a second slower will probably allow him to go two seconds faster in the end. And add the endurance training he’s missing for the last 50 and he’ll be very successful. The 200 IM is not 4 50 sprints. But he can use his natural speed more effectively and it will also feel much better.

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Old fly
3 months ago
Reply to  Roxy

This is a common thought that was shown to not work for him. In Tokyo final, he already went a little slower in each of the first three strokes, and still went 30+ in the last 50. Energy is not simply reserved to be used later for him, as he hasn’t been trained to hold anything back.

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Ezra
3 months ago

Ok, Paco… Show us all your gold medals.

Maybe the reason that Phelps is untouched is BECAUSE he trained this way. You cannot possibly compare training for running to training for swimming, they aren’t even remotely the same.

Get back to me with your fantastic analysis of swim training when you know what sport you’re talking about.

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Jim Erlinger
3 months ago

Take a look at Phelps 100 times. Many more relay opportunities for Andrew if he can improve “longer” distances, particularly when not fully rested.

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H
3 months ago

It’s great that he recognizes the error in training. Too little too late though. If you don’t get the aerobic training in your teens, it is nearly impossible to make up for it now.

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Ian
3 months ago

Bolt himself, in his documentary, said that he trained LOTS of 300s that really hurt in order to be good at the 200. Have you watched it?

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Dr P.M.Reddy
3 months ago

Phillips training methods which Bob bowman used might have given positive results to Philips that doesn’t mean same training principles will suit other swimmers too.

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Bernie Fynn
3 months ago

There is no debate over transgender,they are MEN,it is ONLY IDENTIFYING ,NOT ACTUAL female, so must not be competing in female sport.
these MEN are cowards.

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Not a dumb dumb
3 months ago
Reply to  Bernie Fynn

wtf man read the article you are commenting on

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Cate
3 months ago
Reply to  Bernie Fynn

Ummm, what? Are you lost?

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Bob Steele
3 months ago

Great to hear Michael’s agreement with Phelps. USRPT is great for the 50 and drop dead 100’s. Three ways to swim a race; swing it and bring it (negative split), fry n die (race till dead) and S_ _ T n git (out FAST and tough as nails RACER at the end). USRPT is fry n die training.
Best women’s 400 IM (4:02) Dagny Knudson did a 4,500 AM practice before school finishing with controlled 75 IM strokes,rest 10 seconds, swim 25 free under 13 seconds. She ate opponents up the last 100 to win in USAS American record. Michael might try that set or 10 x100 IM @ 3 holding 1/2 goal time?