U.S. International Team Trials: Michael Andrew Lowers American Record in 50 Breast, Edges Nic Fink By 0.03 (VIDEO)

Michael Andrew -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. International Team Trials: Michael Andrew Lowers American Record in 50 Breast, Edges Nic Fink By 0.03

Heading into night three at the U.S. International Team Trials, Michael Andrew had yet to qualify for this year’s World Championships team. In his only finals swim thus far, Andrew placed second in the 50 butterfly, only three hundredths behind Caeleb Dressel, but only winners in 50-meter stroke events are selected for Worlds. On Thursday evening, however, Andrew gave himself three chances at Worlds spots, and he succeeded in his first two.

In his first race, Andrew placed second in the 100 fly in 50.88 to secure a spot on the Worlds team, and just 15 minutes later, he was back in the pool for the 50 breaststroke final. In prelims, Andrew had touched in 26.78, just two hundredths off Kevin Cordes’ American record of 26.76 set in 2015, so despite the quick turnaround, he was definitely going to be in contention to break the record in the final.

Off the blocks, Nic Fink had a stronger start and pullout than Andrew, and he opened up a slight lead, but Andrew’s remarkable breaststroke power helped him pull even with Fink as the swimmers reached the final 10 meters. The win came down to the touch, and Andrew got the win by a very thin margin. He touched in 26.52, while Fink was second in 26.55. Both were under the previous American record. With that performance, Andrew became the sixth-fastest performer in history, while Fink checked in at No. 8 all-time.

“I knew I would have to break the American record because Nic had swum really fast in the morning,” Andrew said. “I knew it would come down to the touch. It was a bit of a redemption swim having lost the (50) fly by 0.03 (to Caeleb Dressel) to get that win by 0.03. It was nice for me mentally.”

Andrew admitted that during the race, he had no idea where he was in relation to Fink, so he was just happy that his timing worked out and he got his hand on the wall.

“I had no idea where Nic was,” Andrew said. “. I felt like he was leading most of the way. I had to power through and do what I could to control it. The T’s here are so weird. I love this pool, but the T’s are so weird for adjusting. There are six dashes going into the wall, so I never know what I’m doing. It’s a bit of a guess, but it worked out really well.”

Andrew will add the 50 breast to his schedule of events for the World Championships, while Fink is already on the team by virtue of his win in the 200 breast Wednesday night, and he could be added to the team to swim the 50-meter distance as well.

Kevin Houseman placed third in 27.24, followed by Brandon Fischer (27.59) and Liam Bell (27.64).