Speedo Performance of the Week: Michael Andrew Wins Big In Austin

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

TUCSON – Michael Andrew is no stranger to the Arena Pro Swim Series. He used the competition last year in Austin to set numerous long course records in the 13-14 age group, though he did them while racing in the B final.

This year, the 15-year-old pro swimmer made a big leap into the A final for the 100 breaststroke, racing against Olympians Glenn Snyder and Mike Alexandrov. Andrew took a risky tactic in the race, turning fourth at 50 meters and relying on his competitors to tire quickly. The gamble paid off as Andrew split a blistering 32.38 in the final 50 to post a winning time of 1:01.67.

Andrew was able to win his first race in the Arena Pro Swim Series … and he was rewarded with his first long course 15-16 national age group record as well. Andrew’s winning time of 1:01.67 beat Carsten Vissering’s NAG by about two tenths of a second, and marked a 1.7-second time drop. Even for Andrew, who was known to take huge chunks of time off his best in his younger days, this is a major step forward in the road to making a statement at next year’s Olympic Trials.

Congratulations, Michael! Your 100 breast in Austin earns the Speedo Performance of the Week.

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  1. avatar

    “Though Andrew was obviously shaved and tapered while the rest of the field was in various stages of hard training,” so shaved means having full arm pit hair now? is this the new shaved approach? watch the post race interview.. then report.

  2. avatar

    USRPT doesn’t use a taper. Perhaps someone can ask Michael to clarify if he tapers before printing it?

  3. avatar

    What does “obviously shaved and tapered” mean? That’s your observation? You didn’t ask Michael if he tapered?

  4. avatar

    I got confirmation from Michael that he does not taper and always training hard, but not overtrained. Yes he shaved his beard, but why mentioned he tapered when he doesn’t? Why compared him to the rest of the field if not to dilute his accomplishments?

  5. avatar
    Jeff Commings

    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    “Shaved and tapered” is never truly an absolute in swimming. You may be correct that Michael Andrew was not “fully shaved and tapered,” but was obviously in much better racing form than the rest of the field, based on splits. When watching the post-race interview, he appeared to have shaved, to some degree. I did not notice the presence of armpit hair.

    I’ve removed the reference to being shaved and tapered. No matter the degree of rest Michael had, it’s clear he’s made some major inroads in the 100 breast, and that deserves recognition.

    • avatar

      Insightful choice for POW.

      I find Michael much more interesting at this point than when he “turned pro” a year ago. He has clearly now broken through to a new level. I can’t claim to fully understand the USRPT approach, but can someone at least ask if he was shaved — other than armpits — and if so at what point in meet? If he’s now a “pro” there should certainly be a way media can contact his “people” (his dad? Other?) for such inquiries. He’s obviously shown skill in every stroke as his career has developed, or if not particular skill, enough strength/power in relation to those he was competing against (his age group?), to have success in each stroke. To win at a Grand Prix/Pro Series event, there is clearly significant skill involved as he’s not in a position of overpowering the “adults” he’s now won against. What I’ve found interesting is that he’s tended to have an event or two or maybe three of great success in each meet he’s attended, but seldom one meet with everything clicking at the same time as one might expect in a good standard “taper.” One stroke stands out in one meet, another in the next meet. Is that according to training plan or just happenstance? Is he now a breaststroker or will his butterfly or IM have a similar competitive breakthrough against elite athletes at his next outing as his breast in Austin? I’m having fun watching. Despite his Hosszu-like tendency to enter a large number of events in each meet, in Austin he did not even enter the 100 Back, his winning event from last summer’s Juniors. His 100 Fly seed, from last summer, was :53.46, yet he had prelim-final swims in Austin between :55.5 & :56, both over 2 seconds over seed. His 100 Free was nearly a second and 1/2 over seed, 50 free 0.25 over. 200 IM was likewise over a second over seed. Yet he drops 1.7 to win the 100 Breast. So this was not a matter of hitting the 100 breast when everything was clicking. His breaststrokes were the only events he was even close to his best times. Both fascinating and hard to anticipate.

      And in a side note about how difficult it is to have generalist sports media understand or recognize quality in our sport, Carsten Vissering, the previous holder of the NAG Andrew broke in Austin, was a Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd” celebrant this week FOR HIS SWIMS IN A HIGH SCHOOL DUAL MEET, giving only secondary side mention to his 100 Breast National record. And a D-II swimmer was another “Face” in the same issue after setting 5 school records in her first semester and being Northeast-10 Conference swimmer of the week. Nice but ….

      • avatar

        I wonder if his method of training is more prone to enable 1 or 2 really fast swims in one meet, but maybe not more than that, since he does not have the deep seated endurance built by the traditional 80,000 yd/wk programs. Just my hunch, we’ll see in the future if he can come up with 4 or 5 wins in one meet.

  6. avatar

    Michael’s training is actually good practice for swimming multiple events at full speed. That is what he does at practice. He had many meets, particularly as a 13-14 where he had many great swims in the same day. Not too many traditionally trained people can pull off a Phelpsian Beijing type schedule either! I do think Michael Andrew will ultimately do best in the sprints. It is hard to find many guys in the NCAA who can beat Micheal’s 50 back time (21.87, I think!) And he doesn’t even have his “awesome man strength” yet! What a treat to watch him go!!!

  7. avatar
    Glenn Gruber

    Not everyone understands USRPT. In terms of taper, you do what is called peaking for a meet but not a traditional taper. With USRPT you are always ready to race.

    Those of us who have been doing USRPT for some time find it hard to understand why anyone would do 80,000 yards of slow swimming per week. To some USRPT sounds easy, because you are doing mostly 50s. But 50s at race pace with 20 seconds rest is VERY difficult after a few repeats. Many people who decide to try USRPT cannot do the sets right away because they are too difficult.

    As far as shaving is concerned, he is only 15 years old, how much would he have to shave?

    Congratulations to Michael on a great swim!

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