Michael Andrew Will Have Best Chance at Paris Olympics in 100 Breaststroke

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Michael Andrew -- Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

Michael Andrew Will Have Best Chance at Paris Olympics in 100 Breaststroke

It has been 10 months since Michael Andrew, for the first time since his 19th birthday, did not qualify for the year’s senior-level U.S. international team, with a spot at the World Championships in the 50 butterfly evaporating when the U.S. roster had 26 male swimmers qualified and relay swimmers were given selection priority over the winners of 50-meter stroke events. At the 2023 U.S. Nationals, Andrew finished outside the A-final in both the 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly, and he ended up third in the 50 freestyle, one hundredth behind runnerup Jack Alexy.

The results left Andrew needing to re-establish himself in less than a year before the U.S. Olympic Trials. He does not swim any relay events, and his preferred 50-meter stroke events are not included in the Olympic program. Three years ago, he challenged the world record in the 200 IM and actually entered the Tokyo Olympics as the gold-medal favorite, but he has all but abandoned the event since.

His only recorded result in that event since last summer was a 2:01.00 at the World Cup stop in Berlin, a far cry from his best time of 1:55.26, a time that still ranks No. 8 all-time. Thus, don’t expect to see Andrew to make a run at Olympic qualification in the event this year. No, his only chances will come in the 50 free, 100 breast and 100 fly.

So far this year, Andrew’s results have been unspectacular but solid, nothing that suggests he will be totally out of the mix in the 100-meter events like he was last year. In the 50 free, he ranks second domestically at 21.71, but it’s worth noting that Andrew clocked his mark at the Doha World Championships in February, where he finished fourth, rather than at a Pro Series or other in-season competition like his main rivals for the top-two positions at Trials.

Ryan Held is the top American in 2024 at 21.64, with defending Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel at 21.84 and Alexy at 21.85. Andrew has experienced global success in the 50 free, winning World Championships silver in 2022 at 21.41, but with so many tough and talented swimmers plus the fleeting nature of the splash-and-dash, Andrew will face a challenge here.

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Michael Andrew — Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Andrew faces even longer odds in the 100 fly. His 2024 best is 52.66, although he did clock 51.66 in Berlin last October. However, Dressel is swimming extremely well in the event with a 50.84 at the San Antonio Pro Series last month, while Shaine Casas (51.40), Zach Harting (51.68) and 2023 World Championships bronze medalist Dare Rose (51.72) are the early clubhouse leaders this year. Given their respective results in the event at major meets, Dressel and Rose will be considered the big favorites entering Trials.

But before he faces off with those sprinters and butterflyers, Andrew will open his Trials program with the 100 breast, and that event presents his best chance at reaching Paris, a reality unchanged since last fall. He is the third-fastest American this year, having clocked 1:00.14 in San Antonio, with Fink (58.57) and Jake Foster (59.48) the only two swimmers ahead after both swam in the World Championships final in February.

Fink, a medalist in the event at three consecutive World Championships, is the clear favorite, but remember that Andrew owns a best time of 58.14 to rank No. 4 all-time in the event. His challengers will include Foster and 2023 Worlds finalist Josh Matheny while Liam Bell, the NCAA champion and fastest swimmer ever in the 100-yard breast, is a wildcard.

We’ll see if Andrew can put up any swift times before he travels to Indianapolis in six weeks, and certainly, a swim in the 59-range or even under 59 would help build some confidence heading into the all-important selection meet. The 100 breast final will be held on day two of Trials, and given the landscape of his other main events, Andrew will hope to safely secure his spot in Paris right away.

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Hank
Hank
22 days ago

Andrew swam a 59 100BR this year already

robert kravutske
robert kravutske
22 days ago

I saw michael win the 100 I M short course worlds 5 years in canada……his only world gold….individual

Lyle Campbell
Lyle Campbell
22 days ago

Really? There are alot of other up and coming swimmers we could focus on their chances to make team. Too much space has been given to one individual. Best of luck to MA.

Kudzai Makova
Kudzai Makova
21 days ago

MA has had a bittersweet career to date… Making the US Olympic Team this summer is well within his reach… He probably has very decent 100free potential, an event that can widen his qualification opportunities and medal prospects (relays). My predictions or MA

50free: 21.65 –
100 fly: 51.05
100 breast: 58.90

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