Michael Andrew Breaks 200 SCY Backstroke National Age Group Record in Clearwater

  72 Braden Keith | April 16th, 2014 | Club, Featured, National, News

Michael Andrew has broken yet another National Age Group Record in Florida while swimming at the NASA Showcase Classic in Clearwater this weekend. This meet will be his last as a 13-14 before aging up (his birthday comes on Friday, but by USA Swimming rules, as a 14-year old at the meet’s start, his records count for 13-14’s).

Andrew started his meet out with a 1:44.02 in the 200 yard backstroke, which takes a full second off of his own record of 1:45.14 set at the Jenks Sectional in early March.

Andrew now sits well out in front of the all-time top 5 in this event among 13-14’s:

  1. Michael Andrew, 1:44.02
  2. Benjamin Ho, 1:45.73
  3. Ethan Young, 1:46.56
  4. Ryan Murphy, 1:46.67
  5. Jack Conger, 1:46.82

He’s still about three seconds away from Ryan Murphy’s 15-16 record in the event.

Andrew has particular motivation this week, as his grandparents have made the trip in from South Africa to watch him swim – the first time they’ve seen him race since his star has grown so large.

More context to come when he officially ages up.

Comments

  1. NDB says:
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    Congrats! I know people are getting MA NAG fatigue but this kid continues to amaze.

  2. TJ says:
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    I thought his father was his coach?

  3. Jen says:
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    Um hello, his dads sees him 24/7!

  4. SWIMMERGUY says:
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    19.93 50 free prelims and 24.99 50 breast. Finals start at 5:00 EST tonight. 1:43 should seem attainable for MA.

  5. WHOKNOWS says:
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    This was a prelim swim, correct?

  6. Lane 0 says:
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    he’s such a beast. I wonder what his arm-span is. The picture sure makes it look like there almost no fat on him, just muscle.

  7. Kevin T says:
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    144.0 in the 2 back? OMG this guy is just more and more incredible each week. Honestly, I am more excited about Michael Andrew than anyone else in the sport including Michael Phelps comeback.

  8. Rafael says:
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    Ok.. and when he will start going to LCM ? There are probably some LCM events right? Why drop the LCM to swim SCY??

    • riley says:
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      I am sure he is going after his last SCY NAG records…plus, when I was an age grouper I lived in Florida, and our LCM meets usually started the weekend after next (very last weekend in April) and competition was usually very sparse because everybody had just switched over from SCY

      • Rafael says:
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        With his times.. he should be trying some State Or National Champs.. He is turning 15… he should go for some competition.. Thorpe Phelpps Gyurta Chalmers.. all this guys were or are at Andrew age going for Competition against the big guys..

        Don´t take me wrong, but It is about time that if he wants to be recognized wordly he has to swim against big guys..

        While lots in US and this site pays attention to SCY meets.. probably Chalmers after his 49,68 and getting second on 50 fly at australia nationals is much more recognized on the whole world than Andrews..

        • coacherik says:
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          Pretty sure all the LCM meets and advancing that is the plan. If you’ve seen anything about him recently you know he’s turning 15 shortly. Last hurrah in the age group before moving onto 15-16..

          Also, keep in mind that he is 14 turning 15. If he plans on making a career out of this, is there really a need to rush? I would assume starting with the shorter races and now expanding into the 200s/400IM would should that they have some kind of plan?

        • sven says:
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          So he isn’t doing it like Phelps or Thorpe? What’s new? He’s doing what Michael Andrew does, and he’s having splendid results in the process.

          This isn’t about recognition. It’s about swimming fast, which he is. So what’s the problem?

          Being like Phelps or Thorpe isn’t something he’s trying to live up to. It’s an expectation that you are projecting on to him. Yes, I’m sure the Andrews are aware of Chalmers, but this isn’t a popularity contest where the goal is to be recognized. They’re doing what they think will keep him engaged and swimming fast, and there are exactly zero reasons so far to think that they’re doing it wrong.

          Yes, he’s fast, but he’s still 14/15. Just chill and let the kid be a kid, instead of telling him how to live his life. He’s (probably) got a long career ahead of him, he doesn’t have to fully commit to the adult circuit just yet.

        • Hulk Swim says:
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          Rafael… they said this over and over that the plan was to chase records until he aged up. We are almost there… just be patient. I credit them for sticking with the plan and not letting anyone’s opinion throw them off course.

          I believe they will be very much LCM focused after this weekend, and I personally think they won’t be so NAG focused at 15-16 as they have set their sites higher in this next cycle- making teams and eventually Rio…

          Basically what I’m trying to say is- We get it. It’s not LCM. It’s not against men. Whatever. He’s 14. For a couple more days anyhow.

          Just curious why his size, strength and lack of yardage are considered a knock, where it’s never mentioned with regards to Kyle Chalmers, who is quite big and strong (he was so very 6ft at 13)… and is even a stellar athlete in another sport and was splitting training time at least until recently.

          • Hulk Swim says:
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            And also this…

            “He will not swim at the Australian Open Championships this season, but will instead compete in his own age group at the Australian Age Championships next April, before targeting the 2014 Youth Summer Olympics in China”

            I’m not in any way knocking Chalmers… I’m just pointing out that he and MA have quite a bit in common- yet KC seems to skate a bit on the criticism. And for what it’s worth, MA has competed at Nationals, and a couple of Grand Prix against the “big boys”… but there aren’t enough big boy meets for his schedule. So he makes do.

          • Steve Nolan says:
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            There haven’t been 100,000 comments about Chalmers on this site, though.

            Speaking of Chalmers, I’m gonna be ever so disappointed if this doesn’t stick as his nickname:

            [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orP4WZQdi0k&w=420&h=315

          • aswimfan says:
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            HULK,

            Kyle Chalmers DID swim in the Australian Open Nationals two weeks ago where he swam 24.0 in 50fly to finish second in the final against guys almost twice his age.

          • Hulk Swim says:
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            ASwimFan…

            I’m not knocking Chalmers. Just copied a paragraph from an article that if it were about MA, people would get all huffy… and MA has raced the big boys more than enough times.

      • FL LSC says:
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        We are just wrapping up SCY, most of the clubs like to have a couple weeks of solid LCM practice before the meets start.

        Does anyone know if MA will participate at the http://www.jax50.com/ next weekend?

  9. FL LSC says:
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    There is a planned live stream of finals: http://floridaswimnetwork.com/

  10. Richard says:
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    So his family is from S. Africa…is MA a U.S. citizen or S. African? Just thinking which country he’ll represent when he goes to the Olympics.

  11. bobo gigi says:
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    It’s been a long time since we didn’t have such a news! :lol:
    Mr Andrew has broken a NAG record.
    I started to worry a little bit about him. :mrgreen:
    Congrats to him again.
    It’s his last chance to break the records in his age category so he will probably go big this week.
    But like Rafael, I think it’s time for him to focus on long course now.
    He’s a professional swimmer so he could swim in long course meets at least from January to August.
    Can he swim a sub 2 minutes in the 200 IM in his 15th year? 1.01 something in the 100 breast? 55 something in the 100 back? 22.50 in the 50 free? 50 low in the 100 free? 53 low in the 100 fly?
    We’ll see. :cool:

    • sven says:
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      I think all of those guesses are strong possibilities. Under 2 in the 200 IM would be the hardest, I think, but the potential is definitely there.

  12. nemo says:
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    Going to be doing my first usrpt trained meet ever in a week… Does anyone know the usrpt way to warm-up for races or should I just warm-up how I always have?

    • Sven says:
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      Just do whatever. If you feel loose and warm, and your technique feels strong, then you’re good. Honestly, you could probably warm up with jumping jacks and get the same result. My style is similar (although I don’t race often, I’m usually on the coaching side of things), and about 20 minutes before my race I like to do a 150-200 easy, then just do a few 25s at race pace/stroke count, and call it good. Seems to work out well for me. Just do whatever makes you comfortable and confident.

    • Greg Tucker says:
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      Just enough warm-up to have a slight sweat on your upper lip.

      Swim fast.

  13. love2swim says:
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    I agree – he is 14 and a time is a time! And a record is a record! I’d say he is getting plenty of recognition for a 14yo.

    How tall is he? And wow, look at those muscles!

  14. love2swim says:
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    Also, by saying he is a “professional” swimmer…what does that mean exactly? Has he accepted endorsements or income? And will not swim college?

    • TheTroubleWithX says:
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      Yes, he’s sponsored by a company called P2Life, which makes nutritional supplements/drinks, I believe. As such, he will not be swimming in college.

    • sven says:
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      He has also recently endorsed Mutual of Omaha, which allows him to make money doing clinics.

  15. 0
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    I want to see him go after that record in the 200 Breast.

  16. 0
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    Also, for all the people that keep yelling that SCY season is over, remember that odds are you’ll be seeing more short course records fall in late may. CA high school swimming is a spring sport and they won’t have their final meets for another couple of weeks to come

  17. JulesAlexander says:
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    I am pretty sure the reason we are seeing him hit the short course records so hard is because he gets bonuses under his current contracts for each NAG he picks up ($10K – $15k per NAG x 40 something NAG = good $$ for a 14 year old).

    • Hulk Swim says:
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      For his sake and the sports sake, I hope this is true. But I find it VERY hard to believe that they are dishing out 10k for every NAG record he breaks. Maybe in every event he gets paid once. Or if he breaks someone else’s record. But that means he’s essentially getting paid for going best times.

      • JulesAlexander says:
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        you have to imagine if you were P2Life signing MA you would maybe think 10 NAG records tops, but they way he has consistently lowered each and every one of his records so frequently leads me to believe he is indeed making the most of a great contract :)

    • sven says:
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      I imagine there’s a bonus structure in place, yeah. I have a feeling it’s nowhere near the scale you’re describing. And if that’s the case, then more power to him. Get that paper, Michael!

      • sven says:
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        And even if it were so, it’s none of our business how much he makes.

        • julesalexander says:
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          I hope he can make as much as possible. it is so difficult to make a living as a swimmer and I love seeing people succeed in doing so!

  18. ozswim says:
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    Why is it still news when he breaks a NAG record? Hasn’t he broken 40 or something crazy like that? Also, didn’t he go pro? I’ve heard him called “the anti-missy” after missy franklin.

    • coacherik says:
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      Why do you troll articles, does it make you feel good inside when you get people fired up? Is your life so hollow and empty that you resort to anonymous comments to pass the time? I’m just curious, because that’s what this sounds like.

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation. uh… not!

      • ozswim says:
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        I’m sorry. I genuinely thought I was contributing. I didn’t think someone would come after me. I think he is a great swimmer and I respect him immensely, but like some of the commenters below I am getting a little sick of hearing about how he is the next Michael Phelps. Honestly I don’t know if anyone can truly fill his shoes.

  19. HISWIMCOACH says:
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    Sven,

    I’m not sure this is the right forum, but I had a question re:training.

    If MA (or any swimmer) does a set of 20×50 @ 1’00 (200 pace) is the reason that this is both aerobic and anaerobic is that because when they are swimming their heart rate is mostly at anaerobic levels and while they are resting it’s mostly beating at aerobic levels?

    Thx for humoring my poorly worded question

    • coacherik says:
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      The theory/thought behind it is based in the contributions from both energy systems during a race. For a 200 race, it’s about 60/40 aerobic/anaerobic. The rest is such to allow some recovery, but not for the heart rate to drop so much that you are out of range, changing the energetics towards more anaerobic. Yes the heart is still beating quite fast and that means its still getting work at an aerobic level, but more importantly is the arms/legs, major propelling muscle groups needed to race a 200 are getting work at/near race pace as much as possible. You spend as much time as possible building the strength for those races and the myelin to maintain those race pace habits.

      I think….

    • sven says:
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      I think that is a large part of it, yes. Coach Erik hit on another point as well, in that you use your aerobic system in the 200, so swimming at 200 pace works the aerobic system even if you break it up in order to extend the time you spend in that “zone.”

      Another way of looking at it comes from studies on high intensity interval training. The most famous study was done by a Japanese researcher named Tabata. He had two groups on stationary bikes. One was doing 45-60 minutes per day at an aerobic effort level, just doing steady state cardio. The other group was doing 8 rounds of 20 seconds all out, 10 seconds rest (for a grand total of four minutes per session) four or five days per week, with I think a 45-60 minute steady state session on the fifth or sixth day. At the end of the study (six weeks I think?), the HIIT group had actually achieved greater aerobic gains than the steady state group, while also enhancing the anaerobic component of their fitness. The steady state group reported no anaerobic gains. I suggest you look up the Tabata study, it’s very informative.

      To get into the specific science of it, there’s a study that attempts to explain this, I’ll paraphrase it as best I can, but I’m no doctor. Basically, this high intensity anaerobic activity with short rest seems to increase oxidative enzyme activity in the muscles, which seems to increase fat oxidation, decrease carbohydrate oxidation, which reduces hydrogen ion concentration, which somehow serves to enhance endurance performance.

      I’m still learning, so the fat/carbohydrate oxidation stuff is a bit over my head, honestly. This is good reading (and not TOO boring), and you might be able to piece it together better than me: http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0101/cf.htm

      Hopefully that was helpful

      • sven says:
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        Also note, the periodization that they talk about toward the end of that link is very similar to what most coaches do these days. A couple weeks/months aerobic, add in more speed and interval work, and a few weeks out from the big meet, start doing the really race-specific stuff. Basically, start the season with the least specific stuff (“garbage yardage”), get a bit more specific when you move to interval work and speed work, and then increase the specificity to best simulate race conditions in order to peak at the desired time.

        I think that on a land sport such as running, where the act of continually resisting gravity by catching your bodyweight and then exploding back upward/forward, the periodization concept is probably a lot more warranted. You want to build fitness at the beginning of the season while minimizing risk of injury. Swimming is much less destructive on the muscles and so the question that I think many coaches are asking today is: Could this be maintained year round? Michael Andrew is one data point suggesting that it can. I’m excited to see what results come about as more people experiment with this.

        Sorry for the novel. I hope that was helpful and relevant to your question.

      • HiSwimCoach says:
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        Very helpful. It basically explained some things I’ve been wondering about for quite a while. One more questions (this one is more belief based, so it’s a bit loaded). Do you agree with the theory that technique is easier to fix at race speeds only as opposed to drills/etc.? Also, because swimming is so technical is it possible that by doing long slower swims working on certain elements of stroke this may work out the kinks more than race pace training? I’m mostly playing devils advocate as I don’t like watching long/slower swims and don’t necessarily see good technique happening during them either. I only ask you as I have seen on these forums that you’re a huge advocate of HIIT/USRPT.

        Last thing, since this post was about the NASA Showcase. Go Michael, Vinny, and all the kids tearing it up out there!!!

        • Hulk Swim says:
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          I much prefer making the adjustments at race pace. Doing slow drills teaches you how go do slow drills better. And when you go fast, your body line changes, your body position in the water changes, and your timing changes.

        • sven says:
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          I’d say that depends on the swimmer and the stroke. I think that in general, the slower you go, the farther your technique is from competition. Especially in the short axis strokes where slow swimming will result in a drastically different technique than fast swimming. I think it’s mentally harder for the swimmer to tweak technique at high speed, but that once they learn to do that it’s a quicker and more effective process. Still, even some high school swimmers have trouble with giving a strong effort and making changes at the same time, so it might be worthwhile to find a slightly lower speed and build them up.

          I think that backstroke changes the least with velocity, so I’m generally not against tweaking most things at normal speeds. Some exceptions would be a swimmer working on just pure 50 speed or one who has trouble keeping the hands continuous. That’s all pretty subjective.

          Freestyle, for events over 200, I think the technique is similar enough to sub-race pace technique that you can do good work at slower speeds. I think this is one of the things Rushall gets wrong, in that his technique tidbits on freestyle tend to be absolute across the distances. There’s certainly a lot things that carry over, but he advocates a more shoulder-driven stroke all the time, which I don’t think is as efficient as a well executed hip-driven stroke. I think technique changes for 50, 100, or 200 freestyles should be done at pace, though.

          Slow breast can be done if the transition from insweep to recovery stays fast, but I don’t really see too much point in that. Slow fly, forget it.

          I also differ from Rushall in that I think some drills can be helpful to experienced swimmers. Much more rare for the long axis strokes, but there are a few drills that I find helpful for breast and fly. I tend to be of the belief that Rushall wants to shake things up and so he presents things as absolute, one extreme or the other.

    • Tim Morrison says:
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      Another performance factor: Great anaerobic performance (1-4min performance events) athletes have enlarged hearts, thick aortic walls and significantly more powerful stroke volume output (vs stroke rate).
      Stroke volumes responses take place during the recovery portion of high intensity intervals. Sustained endurance work has a suppressive effect on stroke volume.
      Swimming has just been way behind in terms of training 100, 200 and 400mtr athletes.
      Put a world class miler through even ONE HALF the relative volume a 400mtr swimmer does and they’d be grounded within a month or 2.
      I’m not sure usrpt is the complete ideal answer. I think Salo is a little closer.

      • sven says:
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        I agree re: Salo. I think USRPT lies too much on extremes. I think that the core of a program should be race pace, with emphasis on best simulating different aspects of races, rather than basing it on aerobic capacity. Honestly, despite my ramblings on here, I think that there is a place for some long aerobic swimming in a program, I just don’t think it should be something we spend over half of our time in the pool working on.

        I think Rushall’s mostly on the right track on the conditioning and adaptation aspects of swimming, particularly with events 400/500 and below. I disagree with some of his observations on technique, but that’s bound to happen. I think he’s a really smart guy, but he’s got an agenda, and that operating on extremes serves that agenda. I’m much more Team Salo.

        But as far as introducing a quantifiable method, USRPT is a step in the right direction. The pendulum starts out swinging to the two extremes, but it will gradually settle down to a much more moderate range as we experiment more.

  20. jiggs says:
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    Way to go! How about the Bruce Lee of swimming. He needs a yellow jammer with a black stripe.

  21. anonymous says:
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    143.1 tonight….wow

  22. DRUKSTOP says:
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    1:43.15 in finals….

  23. Paco says:
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    Thank god Michael Andrews has turned 15. Hopefully we won’t have to hear about him for a year or so. I’ve grown tired to hearing about how he is the next Michael Phelps.

    No question he is the best 13-14 in history but look at his physique at 14 relative to Phelps at 15 – one’s a man, the others a boy.

    I hope only good things for him but suspect he will come back to the pack over the next 2 years.

    • Devan says:
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      Dude. He’s already ahead of “the pack” for basically every agegroup. He could stay the same for the next 4 years, and still be better than 99% of everyone his age. He’s already about to break 15/16 agegroup records, so you can bet your ass you’re gonna keep hearing about him. Give him some credit. I for one would love to continue hearing about his unbelievable swims every week.

      • Steve Nolan says:
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        The comments above by “PACO” and “DEVAN” perfectly represent both extremes of what irks me about the usual comments on these articles.

        So, bravo, friends.

        • Devan says:
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          Steve, I appreciate the ignorance, but I am not to one extreme or the other. I am a huge supporter of Michael, but also recognize he won’t be dropping time forever. My issue with the above statement was the prediction that he would basically drop back into normal ranges of swimming within the next 2 years. That is a dumb statement to make, as his times are so ludicrous (at 14 no less) they can hold their own in college. I am a very neutral observer, but i don’t appreciate anything less than encouragement for age groupers.

  24. Patsy says:
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    If the time converter on this site is to be relied upon, the finals time is the equivalent of a 1:56 LC. I tend to use a different converter which is more realistic, but it is what it is…

  25. Tim Morrison says:
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    ALL agegroupers with quantum leap growth spurts/performances see other of their competitors who haven’t had said growth catch up to some degree.
    But 1. highly unlikely that any of his current agegroupers will match him lol….and 2. that leveling has nothing to do with USRPT….other than the fact that if they’re on conventional high-volume work they’re just being held back to some degree now.
    Interesting will be his/USRPT athlete’s choice of college program. I trained swimmers with predominantly low volume high intensity work for years , and sadly they didn’t have much luck when going to higher volume collegiate training….if for no other reason psychologically….having to put up with swimming like shit in season compared to previous experiences.

    • sven says:
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      I can see how finding a college program would be really tough for a race pace athlete. Do really well until 18 when you go to college, then you stop improving because of the high volume/exhaustion. Your college coach says it’s because you didn’t “build the aerobic base” when you were 14, when you probably would have kept improving if you’d stayed with a fast program. That definitely adds confusion to the capacity vs. utilization debate.

  26. Josh Davis says:
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    Happy Bday Michael!

    The greatest year of swimming by a 14 year old ever in the history of the planet!!

    Thanks for all your hard work and even more impressive, your willingness to give back. You and your family gladly share how you destroy records and competitors.

    Thanks for helping start the USRPT/Ultimate Swimmer Revolution. Thanks for showing us you can be really fast, have a balanced life, love God and love others!

    We are excited to support you this next year too. In the meantime, have an awesome day!!!

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