Michael Andrew cracks 1:44 in 200 back to rebreak NAG at NASA Showcase finals

  51 Jared Anderson | April 16th, 2014 | Club, Featured, National, News

The clock to Michael Andrew‘s 15th birthday continues to tick, but the Indie Swimming record-breaker is making the most of his last few days.

Andrew re-broke the 13-14 National Age Group record in the 200 yard back, taking nearly another full second off the mark in finals after first breaking his own mark in prelims. He went 1:43.15, meaning he’s smashed almost two seconds off the record in the course of one day – the old record stood at 1:45.14 from March of this year.

Here’s a quick splits comparison between Andrew’s prelims and finals swims:

Prelims: 24.27/26.35/27.03/26.37 = 1:44.02
Finals:  23.81/25.72/26.82/26.80 = 1:43.15

It appears that after finishing his morning swim with a great final 50, Team Indie decided to go after the front half of the race more at night, something that turned out very well for Andrew & Company.

Though he’s still quite a ways off the very-fast 15-16 NAG of 1:40.90 in the event from NCAA champion Ryan Murphy, Andrew has cut off just about half the distance between him and that record in one single weekend, and has yet to officially turn 15 (that happens Friday).

Comments

  1. Hulk Swim says:
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    SMASH. btw. 3.5 ahead of Murphy/Conger. Wow.

  2. Swimmer24 says:
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    Question, not an attack. Doesn’t USRPT have kids peak earlier? So having them peak at 18/19 versus 21/22. If this is true, it would be hard to use people like conger, who comes from a more traditional background, to make projections on Michael’s future.

    • Bossanova says:
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      I don’t know much about USRPT besides the basics, but I don’t think any program can deadlock an athlete into peaking at a certain age. I think that’s more up to the athlete’s own physiology and inner drive to compete.

    • Hulk Swim says:
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      In theory, the same rules apply to athletes in USRPT as in other methods of training… they peak when they peak. Could be 20. Could be 24. Could be 28. Same as any athlete in any sport.

    • theroboticrichardsimmons says:
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      I doubt that MA is peaking per se – he’s dropping time and going best times left and right like a lot of other 14 year olds – he’s just doing it at times that are jaw-droppingly fast.

      I do think, however, that given his near-adult size, advanced stroke mechanics, and his near 24/7 training focus that MA has made a lot of early gains that a lot of other elite swimmers don’t make until they’re much older. It will be interesting to see how his cohort closes the gap (and it will) as they begin to grow into adults, refine their stroke mechanics, and commit themselves to serious training programs.

      MA is also quickly reaching speeds where success will be measured by taking tenths, rather than seconds, off of his best times. To wit – when Michael rebroke his 50 free record at 19.76, it represented nearly a 1-second drop from his age 13 best time (20.87). The swimmer next to him, 15 year-old Colin Riley, swam a 20.39, which was over a 2-second drop from his age 14 best time (22.51) which was in turn a 2-second drop over his age 13 best time (24.55). I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Michael doesn’t drop 2 seconds in his 50 in the next year. And that’s ok. He can drop a mere 0.5 seconds (not a lot for a 15 year old in a 50) and still be considered far and away the best ever at his age.

      It may take 3 – 5 years, but guys his age will close the performance gap and a select few will legitimately challenge him. Remember, when Phelps was 15, he was putting up some absurdly fast times for his age, including a 3:50.20 in the 400 IM. At the same age, Ryan Lochte was only going 4:06.49. It took Lochte nearly a decade, but he eventually closed the gap and ultimately beat Phelps handily on the sport’s largest stage.

      It will be fun to see how all this plays out.

      • barbotus says:
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        We’ll have to see how it plays out. So many kids are going so much faster today, which we all know.

        Just for fun I looked in SWIMS for some information about the 400IM. In the 2001 season when Phelps was 15 and swam that time in he was 3rd best in country among 18&U that year. Lochte was 16 and had the 42nd best time among 18&U at 4.00.01, 9th among 15-16.

        In the current 2014 season, 225 18&U boys broke 4:00.00 in 400IM. 73 of whom were age 15 or 16.

      • Steve Nolan says:
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        He’s got a lot of room to improve w/ his underwaters. So if anything, tightening those up’ll help him keep dropping time.

    • theroboticrichardsimmons says:
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      Also, I think “peaking early” is an overblown fear that a lot of swimmers have. Why wouldn’t you want to swim as fast as you can as early as you can? And what’s the alternative? Intentionally trying to swim slow or retard your development?

      Phelps is, in some ways, the poster child of peaking early. From age 15 onward, Phelps improved far less than other swimmers at those ages – but he was already a world-class swimmer with a world record under his belt. From ages 18 to 27, Phelps was able to perform at or near his lifetime bests in several events. All peaking early netted him was a nearly decade-long run of dominance, dozens of Olympic medals, millions of dollars, and a legacy as the greatest of all-time.

      Seems pretty good to me.

  3. pvdh says:
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    What the…

  4. Dennis Kong says:
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    Let me tell you something about the superstar, Michael Andrew, that I assure many of you don’t know. I grew up three houses down from Michael as a kid and I really got to know him and his brother, Curtis, quite well. The funny thing about the two of them is that they both LOVE the band nickelback. They are without a doubt tied for number one nickelback fans of all time. At home, they have all sorts of nickelback memorabilia ranging from posters, t-shirts, pillow cases, hats, and fatheads. Everyday walking home from school they would listen to nickelback together and sing along. I swear they knew all the words to every song published by them. I’ll admit, they weren’t to bad at singing either.

    Any-who, the reason I bring this up is because the passion I see from Michael in the pool reminds me of his love for nickleback. Michael is a very passionate guy, and that is the backbone to his successes in the pool and in life. His will to succeed all started with his passion for nickleback. Every time you see Michael on the blocks, you can see the passion and determination in his face. And whenever you see him with headphones in, I guarantee you he is listening to nickleback. Super proud of you, Michael. Keep up the great work.

    Much love,
    Dennis

  5. Swammer says:
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    Wow!! Will MA be at Mesa GP? When will that psych sheet be out?

  6. Swimzlazy says:
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    I’ve seen many people suggest that there is no chance forage the Rio Olympics in any events for the U.S. I think his performances and vast improvement over the course of several weeks is a strong indicator of how much better he can get in 2 yrs. Phelps made dratic time drops at age 16, so why can’t MA.

    I watched him swim the race, his technique and walls look much better than a month ago. Hopefully he scratches the 50 breast since I think he will break the 50 free record again tonight. Also would like to see him scratch the 2 IM tomorrow to focus on just the 200 fly. I think he could put down a ridiculous time based on his results tonight.

  7. Swimzlazy says:
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    Many people suggest there is no chance for Michael to make the Rio Olympics I meant***

  8. Swim Mom says:
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    Another question and not I am not a hater but has he ever been tested by any anitidoping agencies ? These results are not normal or extraordinary they are superhuman. I know they claim he doesn’t do any dry land except in the summer but the picture of his body on swimswam and his results don’t support that so what gives ?

    • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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      Swim Mom – while I would have no way of being able to definitively say if he has ever taken performance-enhancing drugs, I can tell you that if you saw him in person, he doesn’t look as big as he does in pictures. He’s just got very low body fat, but really is pretty thin.

    • Sven says:
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      my understanding is that by swimming at a Grand Prix event, you are subject to testing. So if he hasn’t been tested, it’s through no fault of his own, he just hasn’t been called up.

    • Hulk Swim says:
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      He’ll be tested when everyone else gets tested. In the more elite meets at finals sessions… same as your kid if they ever get there.

      If you see him up close, he is very 14 looking. In fact, he doesnt have much on that Dan (?) Krueger kid who’s on his heels- or closer.

  9. HISWIMCOACH says:
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    Vinny Marciano new NAG in 11-12 50 free- 21.78

  10. gator says:
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    That is an incredible time for a 14 year-old – wow!

  11. WHOKNOWS says:
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    Records come… records go…

    MA has set high standards, but others follow behind him that will eclipse those standards.

  12. WHOKNOWS says:
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    Krueger was not that far behind MA in the 50… he went a 20.2… (as others catch up!)

  13. The Beach says:
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    One of the differences between MA and MP is that MP stepped up and changed his training as he got older. There is no indication that team MA believes he needs to make any changes. He seems to believe that his training is the ultimate . He has also said that dryland does not help. He feels that more volume and dryland are not helpful. So what does he do when he stops growing and plateaus? Continue the same training with meets every week? Josh Davis said he is only 14…let him have fun. That Implies that he would change his training when he gets older. What will those changes be?

    • Steve Nolan says:
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      Wait, what. That’s a bit of an oversimplification.

    • Sven says:
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      The structure might not change, but the intensity will keep increasing as he becomes able to handle faster paces. The body isn’t that smart, you don’t need to change the pattern of things to “confuse” it into adapting from a training stimulus. Harder is harder. If you increase the pace/volume or decrease rest, the stress on the body increases and it adapts.

  14. The Beach says:
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    Another point: think of MA as a 17 year old because that is what he is, maturity wise.

  15. PVK says:
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    What did Krueger go in the 50???

  16. Fluidg says:
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    The 15-16 NAG is toast. Team Indie hasn’t even worked on underwater dolphin kick yet. When they add that weapon to Michael’s arsenal, it’s going to be ridiculous….I mean, even more ridiculous than his performance is already. They are exploring strength training, too. Rushall doesn’t believe in it, but the Andrews are open to it. Low hanging fruit everywhere.

    Michael’s achievements are discounted and don’t deserve recognition because he’s really 17? That’s an offensive and absurd comment that’s also baseless. I don’t think he has started shaving yet. He’s big for his age but not beyond his years in his development. Remember a kid named LeBron who dominated like a man among boys in HS, then as a boy among men in the pros? Same thing.

    And the idea that USRPT means peaking at an early age, pure nonsense. Just words someone made up without a shred of data to support it. It’s amazing that Team Andrew’s phenomenal strides are matched each step of the way by negative perceptions, the refusal to acknowledge what they’re achieving no matter how overwhelming the evidence to the contrary. If trolling was an Olympic event, we’d be seeing some real medal contenders here.

  17. tall n wet says:
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    Holy crap is there any event that MA cant do??? Cant wait to see this kid make the Olympic Trials.

  18. Greg Tucker says:
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    How many power points for this swim?

  19. Swim philosopher says:
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    It is true that most swimmers spend a lot of time in their age group years working on endurance and hold off on race specific preparation until their late highschool or college career. that’s why the most successful swimmers tend to be good at longer distances as prior to college (Phelps, Lochte, and even Adrian)
    Sure, MA is the fastest in the US, his yard times are amazing. But he can never swim NCAA and hasn’t put up LCM times that are comparable to his scy times, especially in the LC 400 im and 200 fly. He fast in LC, but not the best

    I’m not passing judgement on his training but i’m interested how he will keep improving despite lacking the aerobic capacity on some of his competitors.

    • Satchmo says:
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      He has 6 National Age Group records in Long Course Meters as well. The 200 IM record he broke was previously held by a guy named Phelps. I don’t know where this notion that he isn’t as impressive in LCM is coming from.

    • Sven says:
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      I’m not going to repost what I said in the other thread, but the chances of him lacking aerobic capacity are pretty slim. If you want, do a search on this (http://swimswam.com/michael-andrew-breaks-200-scy-backstroke-national-age-group-record-clearwater/) article for HisSwimCoach’s question about aerobic training with USRPT. Basically I posted a novel about how this can be the case with a high intensity/low rest program, and I linked a study explaining it in more scientific terms. Hopefully that clears up some misconceptions.

      Of course, that’s assuming that the aerobic base isn’t a misnomer. I’ve been trying to read up on what exactly that is and how you can quantify it, and the results are dubious. I do believe that there is a base level of fitness that ALL exercise contributes to, but I’ve found little to no science behind why it has to be built aerobically.

      Also assuming that Bob Bowman is right when he gives that pretty little metaphor about the crafting and filling of jugs. If he is, then MA is doing the right thing in a different way. If he isn’t, then MA isn’t wasting his time.

      • Steve Nolan says:
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        And even if it is something real, I honestly believe it isn’t something you need to be successful in most events. Hell, if all ya wanna swim are 50s and 100s you won’t be swimming more than a minute anyway.

        • sven says:
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          Totally agreed. I think Ous Meloulli will do great in the 1500 and open water events with NBAC. Maybe better, maybe the same as he did with Salo. I don’t see why, with the 400 and below, we can’t get the same results and fewer injuries with less volume.

  20. bobo gigi says:
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    Haha! MA turns 15 this week so it’s his last chance to break some 13/14 NAG records.
    We knew he would go big at this meet! :mrgreen:
    And he goes big!
    1.43.15 in the 200 back! :shock:
    Amazing performance!
    And I believed a few months ago that backstroke was his weakest stroke. :lol:
    Seriously, his weakest stroke appears to be today freestyle.
    But it could change in the next months. :)

  21. bobo gigi says:
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    I think he’s ready to swim a 46 in the 100 fly this week.

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About Jared Anderson

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Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career sixteen years and running wasn’t enough for this native Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. Read More »