U.S. Olympic Trials: Michael Andrew Breaks American Record in Men’s 100 Breaststroke

michael-andrew-
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The first session of the 2021 Olympic trials concluded with the prelims in the men’s 100 breaststroke — and closed with a bang as Michael Andrew set an American record in 58.19.

As he closed in on the wall, the noise in the crowd started to grow before erupting when the time was shown on the scoreboard above the pool at Omaha’s CHI Health Center.

Andrew’s swim broke the old mark set by Kevin Cordes (58.64), who also had a strong swim in the prelims, though not near American record pace. It puts Andrew third all-time in the event behind Great Britain’s Adam Peaty (56.88) and Arno Kamminga (57.90) from the Netherlands. Andrew had previously recorded a 58.67 earlier this year at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis to put a scare into the American record, but he busted through that barrier in the prelims.

Assuming he can advance through the semifinals and final, Andrew could find his way into individual medal contention in the event, which would be a huge step after he ended up 19th at the 2019 World Championships and the highest American in that race finished sixth. It is also worth watching the implications for the 400 medley relay at the Olympics since breaststroke has consistently been a weak point over the past several years.

Andrew turned pro at age 14, defying conventional wisdom in swimming, and he has long been one of the most hyped young stars in swimming but without any Olympic berths to show for it. At the 2019 World Championships, he made the final in all four 50-meter events after his rough 100 breast, and his swims in the fall of 2020 and early this year shed doubt on his ability to make the jump to bona fide Olympic star. But Andrew, now 22, is the heavy favorite in the 100 breast and will have additional chances to make the Olympic team later this week, in the 200 IM, 100 fly and 50 free.

Behind Andrew, World Championships finalist Andrew Wilson qualified second in 58.80, and Nic Fink, who is coming off a strong spring, qualified third in 59.21. Both men were under their previous best times. Meanwhile, Max McHugh, who swept the breaststroke events at the NCAA championships in March, was second in Andrew’s heat in 59.93 to break 1:00 for the first time.

Qualifying fifth was Cordes, who put together a solid swim in the first circle-seeded heat to touch the wall in 1:00.02, just ahead of 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Cody Miller in 1:00.35. Miller ended up qualifying 11th for the semifinals. The rest of the top eight were Josh Matheny (1:00.06), Ben Cono (1:00.18) and Ilya Evdokiomov (1:00.22). The top 16 in the event qualified for tonight’s semifinals.

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Top 16 in 100 breaststroke to qualify for semifinals:

1. Michael Andrew, 58.19
2. Andrew Wilson, 58.80
3. Nick Fink, 59.21
4. Max McHugh, 59.93
5. Kevin Cordes, 1:00.02
6. Josh Matheny, 1:00.06
7. Ben Cono, 1:00.18
8. Ilya Evdokimov, 1:00.22
9. Zane Backes, 1:00.26
10. AJ Pouch, 1:00.36
11. Cody Miller, 1:00.37
12. Tommy Cope, 1:00.41
13. Brandon Fischer, 1:00.63
14. Noah Nichols, 1:00.66
15. Will Licon, 1:00.70
16. Jason Mathews, 1:00.81

2 comments

  1. avatar
    Leander

    What happened to Reece Whitley? Has he been sick? He swam a lot slower than his seed time.

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