Michael Andrew Turns Pro, Youngest Male in U.S. Swimming History

  259 Braden Keith | June 11th, 2013 | Featured, Industry, International, National, News

pinit fg en rect gray 28 Michael Andrew Turns Pro, Youngest Male in U.S. Swimming History

Late Sunday evening, fourteen year old swimming phenom, Michael Andrew, signed his first endorsement deal, officially making him the youngest swimmer in United States history to turn professional.

Andrew hasn’t been fourteen long. His birthday was April 18th, and just last weekend in Iowa City he became the fastest 13-14 year old in the 50 long course meter freestyle in American history with a 23.47. That’s the 11th National Age Group (NAG) Record he holds, and he’s broken 32 NAG Records since he started making waves in the pool.

Andrew’s 50 free time ranks him 59th in the nation among all elite males. A few female swimmers, similar in age, rank higher, but women have historically developed faster than men in the sport of swimming. It’s highly unusual for boys to crack the top 60 in the country at 14 years old. The next-closest ranked 14-year-old boy is #167.

The young swimmer might be one of the best 14-year old athletes in the history of the sport, but he’s also been one of the most discussed. His product endorsement, the youngest ever signed by an American swimmer, will only serve to further increase the buzz, mystique, and hype surrounding the talented young swimmer.  With only one exception among the male ranks, Michael Phelps, the path to elite swimming in the United States has traditionally taken swimmers through the collegiate ranks. With this decision, Andrew will now be ineligible to swim either in high school or NCAA collegiate competition.

Andrew has signed with P2 Life, a high-performance nutrition supplement manufacturer. Terms of the agreement are confidential.

The Deal

Pic of Michael Signing 1st Contract 640x456 Michael Andrew Turns Pro, Youngest Male in U.S. Swimming History

Michael Andrew while signing his first ever endorsement deal, which officially makes him a professional athlete.

P2 Life, a high-performance nutrition supplement manufacturer, has signed 14-year old swimmer Michael Andrew to a historic endorsement deal. P2 Life adds this endorsement to one already existing with United States Masters’ Swimming (USMS) at the opposite end of the age spectrum.

“We looked around at the NCAA, and we decided that this is a road that we want to go down together,” his coach and father Peter Andrew said on Sunday when we spoke via phone (as the pair were on their way to go fishing). “And as far as high school, we’re home schooled so there’s really nothing to miss out on there.”

“We don’t really think it puts pressure on Michael, it’s still just swimming,” Peter said, as Michael chimed in the background with a “I like pressure.”

“I mean he wants to swim in the Olympics and he has goals, but it really doesn’t change anything for us except you get some free stuff,” Peter continued.

Andrew has been the source of much intrigue over the last four years, where he’s had 32 national record breaking swims.

Tina Andrew, Michael’s mother who for now is acting as his agent, says that they only will work with companies that they believe in, and after they joined the Grand Prix Series they started receiving warnings about the risks of supplements, and P2Life was certified to be safe. In other words, they used P2Life before the endorsement was even a possibility.

With this decision, Andrew will now be ineligible to swim either in high school or NCAA collegiate competition.

The Precedent

Swimmers and other Olympic athletes turning pro in high school isn’t totally unheard of. Michael Phelps signed his first endorsement deal on October 4th, 2001 with Speedo, which was a few months after his 16th birthday. Gymnastics all-around individual Olympic champion Gabby Douglas, is believed to have endorsement deals well into the millions at 16-years old as well.

The difference is that when Phelps went pro, he was already an Olympian and a World Record holder, and Douglas was the best gymnast in the world. Andrew is maybe the best age group swimmer we’ve seen since Mary T. Meagher, but when compared to the rest of the professional ranks, he’s still got a long climb to go.

“My wife and I, before I settled, we spent 8 years travelling, and I think there’s a lot of great travelling opportunities around the world, and I’d love to see Michael have that chance,” Peter said. “There’s a lot of great meets in Europe, and we’d love to go race in Japan, and I think my wife and I learned more from travelling than from anything else we did.”

In this country, however, most professional athletes have to wait until they’re at least 18 to cash in on their talents, especially with age restrictions in place in leagues like the NBA and the NFL. Swimming has no such restrictions, and as an individual sport the market for going pro relies almost strictly on whether or not a sponsor is willing to pay.

This is even further true given where his parents come from; in most of the world outside of the United States, there is no reason to preserve amateur status for the sake of college scholarships. As soon as you make the Junior National Team and your training gets subsidized, or someone offers you something in exchange for your swimming, you’re a professional.

Here’s a list of young athletes who have gone pro at similar ages, and most (with the exception of Meilutyte) without much in the way of Olympic glory.

  • Ruta Meilutyte, 2012 Olympic Champion in the women’s 100 breaststroke, signed an endorsement with Arena earlier this year at 15.
  • Freddy Adu, an American soccer player, signed his first professional contract with MLS at 14 years old in 2003.
  • Andrea Jaeger, an American tennis player, turned pro in 1980 at 14 years old.
  • Michelle Wie, an American golfer who turned pro at 15 years old in 2005.
  • 12-year old Mauricio Baldivieso played his first professional soccer match in Bolivia at 12 years old in 2009.
  • 13-year old Peruvian Fernando Garcia played his first professional soccer match in 2001 at 13 years old.
  • Ricky Rubio, a Spanish basketball player, competed in Spain’s ACB professional basketball league at 14 years old in 2005.
  • Ryan Sheckler became a professional skateboarder in 2013 after winning gold at the 2003 X Games
  • Joe Nuchall is the youngest player to ever play in a Major League Baseball game, pitching two-thirds of an inning for the Reds in 1944 when he was only 15.

The Training

The potential is there for Andrew. According to his mother, Tina Andrew, he currently stands 6’4″ and weighs 178 pounds. His father is a former high-level swimmer and Navy diver from South Africa, and stands 6’6″ or so himself; his mother, Tina, is a gifted athlete, and actually used to be a gladiator on British Gladiators once upon a time (the equivalent of American Gladiators in the U.S.) Michael is taller than your average 14-year old, but it wouldn’t seem that he’s done growing either.

Screen Shot 2013 06 05 at 6.02.46 PM 1 640x292 Michael Andrew Turns Pro, Youngest Male in U.S. Swimming History

Michael Andrew, 14 year old swimming phenom

Andrew trains with his younger sister, Michaela, in a two-lane indoor pool their father built-in the back yard. The focus is on the outside-the-box training principles of Dr. Brent Rushall, which preaches basically exclusive race-pace training (to oversimplify it). Michaela (who lately has cooled on the swimming and focused more on other sports) and Michael are joined frequently by visiting swimmers who want to learn more about their unique training methodologies, as well as a pair of local high school swimmers (one, who is a high school quarterback going to Stanford who is thinking about walking on to the swim team.)

“Michael has massive, massive abilities, but he’s gotta be enjoying it, or else we’re not going to do it anymore,” Peter said. “Sometimes with Michael, I find myself getting frustrated because he’s not making a time that I want him to be making, like any coach would, and I have to catch myself, because my relationship with him as a son is what’s most important.”

The concept is based on Dr. Rushall’s concepts of training how you’ll race, with a lot of high intensity training. As Michael himself explained it, “when you do too much yardage, it trains that 2a muscle, but we’re really working on that 2b fast twitch muscle. When you race a lot in practice, you make those neurological connections, and your body just knows what to do.”

A typical day will see about two hours of training, broken into three 40 minute sessions.

The initial reaction to this training is “Todd Marinovich,” the infamous child-prodigy experiment from the ranks of the NFL. As a young athlete, Marinovich underwent intense focus on his training to become a pro athlete under the guidance of his father Marv Marinovich, who once asked “How well could a kid develop if you provided him with the perfect environment?”

The Andrew family has certainly gone out of their way to give Michael great training opportunities, but his training feels simultaneously similar and different than that of the young Marinovich. It’s the same sort of very scientific, very technical training, and from a very young age having more attention and more very specific detail than most kids are used to. Michael spends no more time training than your average top-tier USA Swimming club swimmer. This past fall, he actually played on a local football team (he was the kicker, and was perfect on extra points for the season.)

Another similar example is baseball phenom Bryce Harper, who earned his GED two years early so that he could play pro baseball two years earlier. He’s had one of the brighter beginnings to a pro baseball career as we’ve seen in the last decade.

The next evolution of the training is working on Andrew’s pacing. Specifically, in their first few USA Swimming Grand Prix Series experiences, was that Michael got caught up trying to go out with the big name swimmers. “He’d go out too fast, try and follow Ryan Lochte and those guys, and there’s no way he’ll be able to hang on coming home with them,” Peter said. “I think he’s really getting the pacing, and that’s going to be big for his 100’s.

“My goal is to be no more than two seconds apart on the two halves of my 100,” Michael explained of his race strategy, noting that in his last meet he overshot that a bit, going 27-27 en route to a 54.

“That shows that he’s at least getting the idea, though the outcome wasn’t what we wanted,” Peter chimed in.

As Michael stepped out of the car to start the day’s fishing, Dad and coach Peter, playing a dual role, suddenly got a bit less technical. “Ya know, to be able to spend so much time with my son, and have success, and hopefully get to travel the world with him…that’s the greatest thing I could ever ask for.”

The Records

Below is a complete list of all of Michael Andrew’s National Age Group Record breaking swims.

Those times listed with an asterisk (*) now belong to someone else.
Those times listed in bold are Andrew’s records as they stand now.

(Note that this only includes swims recognized by USA Swimming. He broke the record in the 50 free for 11-12’s at least one other time, but the meet failed to file the proper sanction paperwork)

10 & under

  • 50 yard free, 24.60, January 16th, 2010 – Lawrence, Kansas
  • 50 yard breast, 31.78, February 6th, 2010 – Brown Deer, Wisconsin*
  • 100 yard IM, 1:01.31, February 6th, 2010 – Brown Deer, Wisconsin
  • 50 yard back, 28.58, February 7th, 2010 – Brown Deer, Wisconsin*
  • 50 yard free, 24.47, February 7th, 2010 – Brown Deer, Wisconsin
  • 50 yard fly, 26.59, February 13th, 2010 – Rochester, Minnesota*
  • 100 yard back, 1:00.86, February 20th, 2010 – Pierre, South Dakota*
  • 100 yard free, 54.10, February 21st, 2010 – Pierre, South Dakota
  • 100 yard breast, 1:08.53, March 5th, 2010 – Aberdeen, South Dakota*
  • 50 yard free, 24.46, March 27th, 2010 – St. Paul, Minnesota
  • 50 long course meter backstroke, 32.85, April 2nd, 2010 – Cedar Valley, Utah*
  • 50 long course meter backstroke, 32.72, April 10th, 2010 – Cerritos, California*

11-12

  • 50 yard free, 22.08, November 18th, 2011 – Columbia, Missouri
  • 50 yard free, 21.85, December 3rd, 2011 – Fishers, Indiana
  • 50 yard breaststroke, 28.09, December 3rd, 2011 – Fishers, Indiana
  • 50 yard butterfly, 24.05, December 3rd, 2011 – Fishers, Indiana
  • 100 yard IM, 54.66, December 11th, 2011 – College Park, Maryland
  • 200 yard breaststroke, 2:13.33, January 7th, 2012 – Independence, Missouri*
  • 50 long course meter freestyle, 25.50, February 12th, 2012 – Raleigh, NC
  • 50 long course meter butterfly, 27.26, February 12th, 2012 – Raleigh, NC
  • 50 long course meter freestyle, 25.15, March 3rd, 2012 – Jenks, Oklahoma
  • 50 long course meter freestyle, 25.09, March 25th, 2012 – Ft. Collins, Colorado
  • 50 long course meter butterfly, 26.22, March 25th, 2012, Ft. Collins, Colorado
  • 100 yard breaststroke, 1:00.19, February 26th, 2012 – St. John, Indiana*
  • 100 yard free, 47.95, March 9th, 2012 – Topeka, Kansas
  • 50 yard breaststroke, 27.46, March 10th, 2012 – Topeka, Kansas
  • 50 yard butterfly, 23.70 March 11th, 2012 – Topeka, Kansas
  • 50 yard butterfly, 23.65 March 11th, 2012 – Topeka, Kansas
  • 100 yard breaststroke, 1:00.07, April 13th, 2012 – Clearwater, Florida*
  • 100 yard IM, 54.14, April 13th, 2012 – Clearwater, Florida
  • 100 yard IM, 53.86, April 13th, 2012 – Clearwater, Florida

13-14

  • 50 long course meter freestyle, 23.47, June 1st, 2013 – Iowa City, Iowa (pending recognition)

Video of Michael Andrew’s 23.47 50 meter freestyle NAG record:

Comments

  1. bobo gigi says:
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    I’m the first to comment this article but I believe I’m not the last.
    Good luck to him!

  2. aswimfan says:
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    I’ve just realized that Michael Andrew only specializes in the sprints.

    • SprintDude9000 says:
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      3:58 in the 400yd IM aged 13.

    • Lou Sharp says:
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      What’s wrong with that? Most teams continue with their “garbage yardage” programs. Most aspiring young swimmers act as “economic fodder” for top swimmers and coaches on their programs. I doubt that most coaches have opened a book on physics or physiology for 10 or 15 years OR ever. Michaels training is solidly based on both. Michael is a natural talent, that is reaching the top through thoughtful coaching, intelligent parenting, and efficient training. I wonder how many teams and their parents can say that.

  3. PsychoDad says:
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    Congratulation to Michael and family. They deserve the help. The bond you develop with your kids practicing and traveling together is indeed priceless.

  4. JUST A SWIMCOACH says:
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    Please provide a list of athletes that have been developed using the “Dr. Rushall technique”.

    High intensity training is certainly not a new concept but are there elements exclusive to this Brent Rushall method?

    Didn’t he write for Swimming World at one time?

    Have any of these Rushall method athletes made it to the world stage?

    Did they swim until the age of 26 (the average US Olympian age)?

    What new and innovative things is his coach/father doing other than producing a 6ft 4in 13 yr old?

    Are there other swimmers who are not behemoth sized early teens who have gone the distance directly or indirectly under the guidance of this “coach”?

    I do wish them the best though abnormally large “age group phenoms” are certainly not a new concept and history is not on their side.

    • DR EVIL says:
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      Their method of “high intensity training” is much different than anything you know about.

      It’s a “Moneyball” concept….so your traditional line of questions were quite predictable!

      DR. EVIL HAS SPOKEN!

      • SWEswimmer says:
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        The funny thing is we have equally good 14 year olds in sweden! The only difference is we swim only in LCM and SCM whitch benefits us. No mather the age he is still as far away from Rio as a 20 year old doing the same times.

        • Jg says:
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          All Kieren’s public comments are on not overlooking yougsters because they have little speed. He himself was regularly beaten by girls until he was 15.

          He has also spoken out against the over scientification of the sport.

      • JUST A SWIMCOACH says:
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        Hmm. Was that an answer to my questions? Are you suggesting that these methods are too unpredictable to be understood? “Moneyball concepts” were based on actual evidence in the form of stats and outcomes that could predict trends. So again I ask, can you give some examples and results based on something else other than a one off abnormally large age grouper trained with exceptional private resources?
        DR. EVIL HAS EXPELLED ONLY Co2 AND MEANINGLESS DRIVEL

    • SprintDude9000 says:
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      I believe Kieran Perkins did something remarkably similar to train for the 1500m in the early 90s (ie. loads of short-distance, 1500m race speed repeats (for example 30 x 100 free @ 1500m race pace on 1.30 etc…)).

      • DR EVIL says:
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        Nope..not even close….SprintDude9000

        Like I said earlier: “Their method of “high intensity training” is much different than anything you know about.”

        DR. EVIL HAS SPOKEN!!

        • Scott spranklin says:
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          Dr Evil.. With regards to SD9000 example re Perkins training he is actually spot on! But im not across their high intensity training you speak of to comment.. Sad this kid will miss out once college experience

    • Cam says:
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      Questions pertaining to USRPT (Ultra Short Race Pace Training) may be directed at [email protected] with the subject line “Cam USRP Group”. The discussion panel continues to grow every week.

      Many coaches incorporate some form of “high intensity”/”race simulation” sets in their training structure. However, high intensity sets are not sufficient to qualify a swimmer as training in a USRPT structure.

      USRPT is a set of principles for MAXimizing the volume of race pace training that can be performed. Many coaches are not willing to maximize this volume because they believe that other things can be more important than maximizing speed in particular events.

      Extremely competition specific training is not new to the sporting world, as it has been adopted by athletes in other cyclic and total body sports like rowing and cross country skiing at the Olympic level. Athletes in other countries (not USA) are adopting it to greater and greater extents, and it is only a matter of time before the US Swim community realizes that catching up matters.

      If the concept of USRPT training is wholly new to you, I recommend checking out the 2 and 8 page bulletins 40a and 40b at the following url http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/swim/bullets/table.htm

      If you make it through, and are hungry for more, review bulletin 39 as well.

      The principle of specificity governs all sporting adaptation. You are what you repeat.

      • NDB says:
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        I enjoy this debate. I have begun to use more race pace training with my swimmers over the last 2 years but I still don’t see it as a replacement for traditional aerobic base type training.

        I have a challenge for you…Could you name 10 world class elite that were trained using this Rushall philosophy. Better yet can you name any who specialize in something over a 100?

        The training of Phelps and Lochte is very far from this training that you are championing. How do you explain this?

      • ... says:
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        A direct quote from this guy:
        “Similarly, heavy training and dryland training are unrelated to swimming improvements”.

        I would first like to state that this may or may not be the stupidest thing I’ve heard in my entire life.

        Also I am pretty appalled at the way this guys just completely trashes training techniques used by the best coaches in the world to train the fastest swimmers in the world…. You cant just get on the internet and say that lactate sets and broken swims are irrelevant….Just my 0.02 cents.

        • MickeyT says:
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          Sorry, but that quote was taken out of context. The full “comment” in a sense was that “High-yardage training and dryland training demands are unrelated to or negatively impact male elite swimming performances” , quite a different meaning to “heavy training and dryland are unrelated to swimming mprovements”

  5. Bourdais says:
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    Current NAG record holder in three different strokes? Wonder how long he can keep that up, I don’t think we’ve ever seen a swimmer be internationally competitive in three different strokes. on that basis I doubt much longer, though he could be a mean 200m IM swimmer if he builds up his endurance.

    Another question is whether he can make the Olympic team in Rio – he will be 17 and four months. His story so far is reminiscent of rare talents along the lines of Thorpe and Phelps. Thorpe did it at a similar age and Phelps was over two years younger when he got 5th at his first Olympics. On the other hand, his current event specialties work against him in this regard. It seems to be “easier” for younger swimmers to compete in middle/long distance events and non-freestyle events, while world class 17 year old freestyle sprinters are almost unheard of. That said, a first Olympics at 21 is still quite young, but it would be an invaluable experience to make the 2016 even if he doesn’t medal, like Phelps in 2000.

    I’ll stop now, I think I’m getting ahead of myself. Regardless, certainly one to watch, and I hope things work out well for him.

    • DDias says:
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      His 50 free time is really impressive.If i am not mistaken, Cesar Cielo was 25.2 at 14.And all the guys who are breaking his age group records in Brazil, the best at 14 is 23.9.
      I dont know the best Australian at 14, but at 15(Te Haumi Maxwell) is 23.03, not far off.

    • Patsy says:
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      Personally, if he will make an Olympics, I think that his best bet will be 2016. Based on his set up, I can’t see how he will be competitive enough in 2020 in that he is maximising his potential right now – size, looks like free weights too, if the upper lip shadow in the 2nd pic is evidence of shaving, then a very early onset of puberty, 1:1 attention and focus, I would guess lots of hours in training, and clearly, talent and good genes. The post also talks about him taking food supplements (at 13/14?) already.

      Looking at all of this though, where is the room for growth/development? That is why I think that once he stops growing, it is unlikely his times will drop any further if he stays clean. I nevertheless wish him all the very best. Go Michael!

    • H2Opinion says:
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      Bourdais,

      We have seen a swimmer internationally competitive in three different strokes. His name is Michael Phelps, and his strokes were butterfly, freestyle, and backstroke (and to a lesser degree, let us not forget about Neil Walker).

      Many of us forget that Phelps was in the upper echelon of the backstroke events (namely the 200), but because of the order of events on the international level, rarely was able to compete in the those events.

      Also, if you want to count the I.M. as an additional “stroke,” Lochte and one Scott “Tyler” Clary may be of significance.

    • aswimfan says:
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      At the same age, Thorpe was selected as part of the Australian team to 1997 Pan Pacs in 400 m.
      Also at similar age (a bit older by few months), Phelps won selection to 2000 Olympics.

      So, to follow Thorpe/Phelps projection, Andrew will have to win a selection to Barcelona Worlds.

      • Bourdais says:
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        Yeah, it kind of falls apart there. I did say “reminiscent” rather than “repeat”, and what I meant was that they all took down a massive haul of NAG records at a similar age, not that this guy would replicate Thorpe and Phelps’ achievements to a tee. I also specifically mentioned that the events Andrew specialises at are extremely difficult for younger swimmers to do well at. In both men’s and women’s swimming at the top level, you tend to see a lot more younger swimmers in the distance freestyle events and the non freestyle events.

        • aswimfan says:
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          Yes, I agree that sprints are difficult for younger male swimmers to break through the upper rank.

          So he specializes in sprints, but when I said that in my previous comment, people were jumping on me saying he swims longer distances too.

    • Eagleswim says:
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      Phelps was internationally competitive in fly free and back

    • gosharks says:
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      Also, Natalie Coughlin was internationally competitive in back, free, and fly.

      • SprintDude9000 says:
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        Roland Schoeman is the WR holder in 50m free, the second fastest ever in 50m fly and also the second fastest ever in 50m breaststroke. His backstroke isn’t as strong but still ridiculous fast and potentially competitive at World Cup level too I believe.

      • PAORN says:
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        Let us not forget Tracy Caulkins…a woman, but way ahead of her time and swam EVERY stroke at the national level.

  6. Philip Johnson says:
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    i just recently heard of this swimmer and I know there are very very high expectations on him. best of luck to him and his family!

  7. pvk says:
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    I don’t think he made the right choice on this one. 14 years old, really?!?! Do you really think he’s considering much else besides making some money?? I think he will regret his decision once NCAA recruiting for the class of 2017 rolls around.

    • Patsy says:
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      I thought that at first, but then changed my mind. He is home schooled. Dad is his coach etc. I read into this that every thing is done (it seems lovingly) to maximise his swim potential – down to the building of a 2 lane pool in their backyard.

      Bearing this in mind, I am not sure he would have done well swimming in College where you have schedules outside of swimming and minimum GPAs to meet, not to talk of being one of many and not a coach’s sole focus. Once I figured that, I thought he is probably doing the right thing for him.

      • Eagleswim says:
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        The whole home schooling thing makes it worse! His parents have brainwashed him… This should be illegal… His dad is using him as some sort of super athlete experiment… Not fair to the kid he needs to have a real life

        • liquidassets says:
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          I agree that it’s an experiment, but I don’t think it’s a sinister one. I’ve read that he has plenty of friends and enjoys other hobbies besides swimming like any other kid. And I don’t know the father, so I can’t comment on whether Michael was brainwashed. While I do wonder whether 14 is too young to make such a decision to forego both high school and college swimming, on the other hand, if the kid gets bored and needs a change of pace, or misses training with a team, he can always shift his training to the competitive club setting in lieu of high school or college swimming. The family has already moved once, they could always move again if his needs changed and they had to to find adequate competition for him in practice.

          There do seem to be some unique factors about Michael and his family that might make this work, where it likely wouldn’t with your average non home-schooled, non home-coached athlete who doesn’t have a training pool at home. The father’s training methods seem to be working well for now, obviously. Overall I’d say it’s an interesting experiment with some very obvious advantages and disadvantages which I’m sure that he and the parents have considered. I’m very interested to see how it plays out, and wish him the best.

        • liquidassets says:
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          I also forgot to say, he and his family have made their decision so it’s best to just observe and see what happens rather than argue about it. If it works, power to him and folks can learn from that. If it doesn’t work, others can learn from that too. While I don’t think I’d ever let my child do this, I honestly don’t know for sure because I’ve never been anywhere close to being in that position.

          • liquidassets says:
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            I just saw the video interview of him in the other article on here and now I think this could end badly. Rather than more mature, like I had heard about him, he actually seems more naive and impressionable than the average 14 year old. He should have waited.

      • SwimMom says:
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        I take offense to your comment about it being so much worse that he’s homeschooled. It seems to me that he does a LOT of traveling to swim meets. Do you have any idea how much public school he would miss to attend meets? Homeschooling allows for a lot of flexibility.

        I homeschool my kids and they’re also both swimmers. As with Michael’s family, homeschooling allows us the flexibility to do a lot of traveling that we could not do if the kids were locked into a public school schedule. Intellectually, my kids are beyond their grade levels in all subjects and they are very well liked by other kids so the “no socialization” argument against homeschooling is always laughable to me. My son is 12, 6’2″ and 150 lbs. He doesn’t yet have the bulk that Michael has, but he is going to be HUGE – he is expected to be 6’8″ to 7′ tall. His dad is 6’5″ and I’m 6’1″. I am excited to see his swimming progress in the next few years. I am also excited to see what the future has in store for Michael Andrew.

        • BangorBoy says:
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          “locked into a public school schedule” – by this I guess you mean mixing with other children in a working-style environment, enjoying various extra curricular activities and maybe even scheduling some time for FUN. I’m sorry but home-schooling always feels a little suspicious to me, like parents don’t want their children to know what else is out there in case they deviate from their control

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    Someone should talk some sense into his parents.

    • Kate says:
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      Thank you Paul. Finally a straightforward comment I can get in with. When I saw that his parents are acting as his agents my blood ran cold. And that list with Andrea Jaeger and Michelle Wie on it…..look what happened to them. Andrea flamed out and also had to deal with a psycho father and Michelle Wie has never done what was expected of her. To expect kids to deal with emotional pressures as adults is never wise. That kid may be 6’4″ but he is still a kid.

    • Lane Four says:
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      Does anyone remember the name Todd Marinovich? Dad tried to turn him into a football genius and although he climbed the ladder with good success, he crashed and burned so fast it was horrible to watch. I become extremely nervous when I hear about parents taking over the reigns of their child’s complete life. All we can do is sit back and just see what happens. I am hoping and praying that Michael will be the exception and flourish. Maybe a certain Mr. Phelps should step in and give Michael some very sound words of wisdom.

    • Kevin says:
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      I agree with Paul after watching video of NAG spash and dash 50m record, It looks premature to reject a possible NCAA team experience and degree in case his swim career does not always get him a front and center lane. I wish him well but wouldn’t be surprised if his endorsement contract with P2Life/sponser is tied to future records and inflated expectations. Inflated like the claims of certain Creatine formulations.

  9. Swimmer says:
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    He is going to burn out.

    • bobo gigi says:
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      Why are you so pessimistic? It’s good to be optimistic.

    • kp says:
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      Burnout?? What makes people burn out are the insane high yardage programs that most kids train in, along with the overuse injuries that come with them. And to swim tired most of the year, and put all your eggs in one basket (peak for one or two meets) and get sick or something before or during those 1 or 2 meets?

      As far as many of the other comments– From all I can tell, Michael’s parents are loving and truly want him to have fun. One can get a great education without attending traditional school or college. Some of the most well educated people I know are self-educated. Especially with computers now– the sky is the limit.

      We have a tendency sometimes to think of money as a “dirty” thing. The desire to make money in the absence of other values is what can make it that way. This is FAR from the case in Michael’s family. Just listen to the interviews.

      I agree with Peter Andrew that traveling provides the best education. I was lucky enough to go around the world on Semester At Sea, and the experience blew away my four years at a very good liberal arts school.

      As far as the NCAA being the be-all-end all as a preparation for Olympics, we’ve seen some NCAA stars never make that leap. No guarantees. The one thing that I’m sorry about is that he will miss the day to day camaraderie of being on a team, as well as the unmatched excitement of duel meet competition (My own BEST memories of both swimming and coaching– going home having lost our voices from cheering, with meets coming down to who wins the last relay!!)
      But you can’t have everything. Most of us will never be elite swimmers competing on the international stage. Perhaps Michael will have that.

      If this works out, people will be lining up to train with or learn from Peter and Michael.

      And lets be grateful– Michael may someday be representing the USA!!! I am thrilled that his folks found a way to stay here. Go Team Indie, and where can I get one of those shirts?!!!

      • SprintDude9000 says:
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        From a physiological perspective he clearly won’t burn out (in fact it’s virtually impossible using Rushall’s method) but psychologically? We’ll have to wait and see. His lack of team mates and school mates (he is homschooled) leaves me slightly worried. Hopefully I’m proved wrong though as he is a massive talent and interesting to follow!

        • Braden KeithBraden Keith says:
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          SprintDude9000 – I’ve sen several comments talking about not having teammates, which I’ll address by saying that as the article states, he has at least two training partners (not including his sister) right now, and the family is seeking ways to bring in others.

          Peter shared with me a story of Michael going to the Eastern Zone Select camp and afterward telling his parents how much he enjoyed having friends during practice, so they are looking for more opportunities for people to train with him. They’ve had interest from a lot of local swimmers in becomign a full-time training partner. Needless to say, they haven’t fully solved that problem left, but he’s not totally isolated, and they are seeking for ways to get him in a group training setting.

          I would reject the notion that swimmers should have no choice for training but to join a club team if they can’t find a club team that meets their training style. Especially somewhere like central Kansas, where there aren’t a lot of options.

      • lem says:
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        I think ALL of us can agree that swimming is an expensive sport for a family to provide to their kids who train with USA Swimming clubs, especially when you consider monthly fees, meet fees, swim suits, travel, etc. etc. etc, so you can’t blame the family for taking a deal – especially when you consider the expenses they’ve incurred over the years traveling to meets all over the US to showcase Michael’s talent – but interestingly enough – staying away from meets where they could REALLY see where their son stacks up against the Ryan Hoffer’s and the Maxime Rooney’s of the world……opting instead to visit “Championship” meets where he can swim against the 20 year olds and perhaps get more EXPOSURE.

        There is no doubting this family is a good family – very close – and supportive – but I do agree with the “Marinovich” syndrome – in a way – but not to an extreme level.

        There’s no question – based upon the places where Michael swims and the number of postings on this website that the family is seeking EXPOSURE – which I can’t blame them for. They may be in a position where they need to go “pro” in order to continue to fund operations – which with what they’ve already invested – it’s either spend more – or cut your losses – and when you don’t have the necessary funds – then it’s continue to attract new investors.

        What I’m intrigued with – and what I think the parents are missing – is IF Michael was a valuable and worthy endorsements – sports agents (representing various swimming manufacturers and other entitites) would be meeting up with the Andrew family at every meet they attend – offering the possibility of an endorsement deal – but instead – the Andrew’s family are representing themselves for now.

        A nutritional supplement company, which I believe is like an Advocare or the multilevel marketing business, may bring in a temporary cash tranche to help with some of the expenses, but I believe they have a better opportunity to solidify their financial condition by simply finding the space to coach a USA Swim Club and bring a MASS of new kids into their facility that could satisfy 2 concerns – Money – and Michael wanting to swim with other kids.

        Going pro serves only 2 purposes – I want to be recognized as being one of the best and being PAID for my efforts. Until Michael steps up at COMPETES against the BEST in his age group – I think the jury is still out and this is just a means to gain more EXPOSURE – because the endorsement he signed – just isn’t enough to warrant him as the best.

      • No Diva says:
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        I agree with your first paragraph–lots of garbage yardage and over use injuries by the age of 13. I applaud these parents that are looking for another way. We have several in our state doing the same thing. There is no guarantee that he would be any faster longer with another training method. Our mantra is this: take success when it is offered to you! There are no guarantees and everyone prematurely predicting long term failure for him couldn’t guarantee long term success with any other training method. At elite levels it’s really about genetic freaks–and lets face it: he’s won the genetic freak lottery!

    • Lou Sharp says:
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      Thank you for your astute comment. It is obvious that you gave it a lot of thought (-:

  10. duckduckgoose says:
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    Best of luck to him, but I wonder about socialization issues. He’s 14, home schooled, coached by his dad, and won’t swim in college. Foregoing opportunities to be around peers your own age in adolescence raises some alarms about personal development outside the pool.

  11. Sean S says:
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    They say they made this decision together but as a 14 year old there is no way he understands the full implications of this so it is really only his parents choice. I understand that the commitment they have put into his swimming isn’t cheap but I think this is a huge mistake. If he was a superstar going into the 2016 Olympics and he turned pro I would get it but to do it now is just crazy. Swimming with his dad as his coach, with no teammates and now these gigantic expectations that come with turning pro at this age it is hard to imagine he won’t burn out. I hope that he doesn’t, but it would be very understandable if he does. I also can’t imagine this sponsorship is for all that much money, I doubt the cost of 4 years at a high level university will be covered by the time he is ready to go to college unless he adds several more sponsors.

    • Philip Johnson says:
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      I agree that no 14 year old boy really knows the full consequences of this decision. but the best we can do is wish them luck.

  12. Ben says:
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    Congrats to Michael! With the amount of travel he and his family does to compete at elite level meets it makes sense for them to lighten the load any way they can. We probably will see him struggle, emotionally more than performance-wise, as he gets closer to the college recruiting time. But maybe not. I’ve said it before on this site, I’ve met Michael’s parents and observed them on deck. It’s without a doubt that Michael is his toughest critic, his parents really are parents first not coaches.

  13. ArtVanDeLegh10 says:
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    First, not too many NAG record holders go on to be great college aged swimmers, let alone international players or Olympians.

    Secondly, he obviously is a stud, but remember back when you were an age group swimmer. Usually the fastest swimmers were the ones that matured sooner than everyone else–aka, the biggest/tallest. He’s 6’4, 178.

    I liked the Todd Marinovich comparison, although we really don’t know what his life is like at home. The Marinovich story was eye opening. If you haven’t heard about it, find the 30 for 30 on ESPN and watch it.

    Does anyone actually think that Michael will be seeing any of his endorsements/money? If not (and I doubt he’ll see any of it), it certainly leads me to believe that his parents are just trying to make money for themselves/get more publicity.

    • Patsy says:
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      It does sound like his parents really care for him though, even though they might seem a bit unconventional in their choices for him…

      • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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        Patsy, his parents are from South Africa (though now US citizens). For them swimming is about the Olympic experience. The NCAA experince is a big part of the US swimming culture. It’s unconventional for US swimmers because we believe the path to elite swimming runs through the college ranks. Outside of the US, if you’re fast, you’re focused on the Olympic stage.

        • rory connell says:
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          mel i think you need to reexamine the ncaa landscape
          look @ auburn, arizona, usc, floridae etc etc & how many internationals are not only coming swimming collegiately, but staying or coming back post grad or pro to train. they are littered through every program in a good way. i love it! its what makes NCAA swimming the fastest meet around.
          Salo has how many swimmers under his guidance from how many different countries?
          USA is the melting pot, where all good things come together to be better.
          Sergio has foreigners down @ Bolles because their training environments are that much more competitive back in their home countries, NO WAY!
          Fast international level swimmers want an education PLUS the swimming side & they come to the states in droves.

          • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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            I agree, Rory… The NCAA has become the biggest international pro-producing platform (and you get an education as you develop…I did). Still, it’s not for everyone. Many international elites stay home and focus on the Olympics. In the US, however, 99.9% of us look through the NCAA lens only. The US path is not the only path to the Games. That’s all I’m saying.

        • duckduckgoose says:
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          Good point about non-American perspectives on NCAA swimming. Katie Hoff’s mom played basketball at Stanford, so that family clearly understood what benefits, opportunities, coaching, and training infrastructure are available at a college swimming power.

        • swimm says:
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          not everyone makes the Olympics, and he has not secured a spot. Even if he is amazing, 3rd, 4th, 5th place at trials is amazing, and who knows if he will be top 2 or the unlucky 3rd, or even final. Which leaves him with no endorsements, no NCAA, and a maybe even given up a little bit of enjoyment in life and swimming along the way

  14. ????? says:
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    WHY? Unless the family is really, really hard up for money in which case the college scholarship is the safer bet, and it doesn’t seem they are with their own pool and all the traveling they do, this is strictly a PUBLICITY stunt, and it is working since I’m bothering to write on some web site comment page.

  15. ????? says:
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    an ego driven publicity stunt. “See how good MY KID is !”

  16. ????? says:
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    Shame on P2Life.

  17. Dr. Evil says:
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    In the music world, teen age talents like Justin Bieber and Austin Mahone along with many others have had very successful professional careers and no one tells them to hold back or it was a bad decision.

    NASCAR’s Kyle Busch actually had to graduate early from high school before he was allowed to race in the regular series, and has had a great professional career. His parents along with many other parents in that series have played an instrumental role in their development and management.

    This weekend, two teenagers went 1-2 in the ARCA/ReMax series. It is the developmental series right below the regular NASCAR level. They are professional athletes and I don’t think anyone is telling them with the talent they have to wait or hold back because it’s a bad decision.

    DR EVIL HAS SPOKEN!!

    • ArtVanDeLegh10 says:
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      There have been a lot of young music talents, but most of them fade out hard as they get older. I know it’s a lot different, but look at child actors/actresses that are stars at a young age. 90% of them end up having drug problems later on in life. Zach Morris is one of the only ones still going strong-haha.

      Look at all the swimmers that have gone pro early from the USA. Other than Phelps (and I suppose Hoff–depends on how you want to look at it), how many have actual had more success after they went pro? Not too many.

    • bobo gigi says:
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      Plese, don’t call Justin Bieber a music talent!

    • Braden KeithBraden Keith says:
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      And how about one more for you Dr. Evil – Cody Simpson, Australian, who probably gave up a pro swimming career, and probably gave up NCAA swimming scholarships, to pursue his music career…now an international superstar.

      • aswimfan says:
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        Cody Simpson was team mate of Cameron McEvoy, and he was apparently very good.

        • Scott spranklin says:
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          Cody Simpson swam with Denis Cotterell at Miami and was a multiple QLD Gold medalist at State Titles, QLD by far the most competitive state here. He parents swam for Australia too..

    • Steve Nolan says:
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      Yeah, but it’s the part where it goes horribly wrong and the kid’s life is ruined that we’re looking out for here.

  18. ole 99 says:
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    Anyone know which flag he plans to swim under, USA or South Africa?

    • bobo gigi says:
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      First, and many people forget that, nobody knows if he will swim on the world stage one day.
      Second, if it’s the case, the qualifications would be of course much easier in South Africa. But if he’s a big talent and wants to win many medals, especially on relays, he will swim for USA. His life with his family is in USA. And his first name is Michael like Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan or Michael Johnson.

      • beqchmouse says:
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        South Africa may be an easier international team to make, but they’ve also been asking their second tier athletes to pay their own way to the big international meets lately.

    • Braden KeithBraden Keith says:
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      ole 99 – his dad confirmed that it’s USA all the way. Sorry this didn’t make it into the article.

  19. SWIMGUY123 says:
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    Interesting decision. Agreed, he is a huge talent, but he’s physically huge himself so young. NAG records don’t always tell the tale for who will be the best when it’s all said and done. Who is this quarterback going to Stanford who might walk on to the swim team?

  20. PAC12BACKER says:
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    Very well written article with a lot of background information on other young pro athletes across all sports. Kudos to Braden. I keep thnking maybe this kid should have tried other sport discplines before going whole hog into swimming as a sub 10 year-old. Maybe he would have had uber talent in other sports (i.e. higher paying sports).

    The smartest thing is the race-pace sprint training philosophy. Some of the other decisions…well good luck with that.

  21. cynthia curran says:
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    Too young, he may not end up being that good and if he doesn’t make a world team he will lose his conrtact. People here complained about Katy Hoff turing pro but she had at least place in several events at worlds this kid has not done this and males usually are not stars in swimming before age 18 with the exceptions of Michael Phelps and Rick Demont and so forth.

    • aswimfan says:
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      You forgot Ian Thorpe, the youngest ever world championship male medalist, and second youngest ever male WR holder after Phelps.

  22. WHOKNOWS says:
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    Great publicity for Michael Andrew… keep up the good work… I have never seen such attention to a young male swimmer as what you have produced here. When is his blog and web page going to appear which list all his endorsements?

  23. CoachK says:
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    Hard not to question this decision, especially when one considers Missy Franklin turning down lucrative swimwear endorsement deals to see him pick up an endorsement with a relatively small player in a relatively small industry. That said, not every one should follow the same path as Missy. But is Michael really all that much better then other, college-bound swimmers like Ryan Murphy or Jack Conger (ie, the people he will be competing against in 2016 and beyond)? Not saying yes or no, but its an interesting question to ask. Also interesting to me that he, for lack of a better phrase, trains in a vacuum. While he is exceptionally fast for his age in meets, I’d venture to say there are 14/15 year olds at clubs like NBAC, NCAP, or MAC that could train at or above his level on a daily basis. If he trained in that environment, all else being equal, would he still have chosen to go pro?

    This post solely raises the question regarding his decision to go pro…I’ll leave debating the longterm growth potential of Rushall’s method to another post. Would love to see an interview/video feature a la FloSwimming on his training.

    All told, it is not my place to judge this decision…if this is what the family decided was in Michael’s best interest, then I wish them the best of luck.

    • aswimfan says:
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      Well, Michael Andrew’s family is (my guess) nowhere nearly as wealthy as Missy’s parents.

      What fit for Missy (and her family) may not be possible for Andrew (and his family).

      • Liliana says:
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        I doubt that a deal with this company will make them any wealthier or even cover for their expenses. What do you think, how much money a 14-year-old kid, an age-group record holder is paid to endorse a product? In my eyes this is just a cheap publicity stunt. If he signed a long-term deal with some swimsuit company, like Phelps did with Speedo when he was 16, I’d understand. But this is simply a joke. Somebody needs to stop his parents from leading this talented kid to nowhereland.

    • DR EVIL says:
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      “I’ll leave debating the longterm growth potential of Rushall’s method to another post. Would love to see an interview/video feature a la FloSwimming on his training.”

      No need for that “CoachK”!

      All you have to is a simple literature search (try Google Scholar) on Dr. Brent Rushal and you can read all about it l!!

      DR. EVIL HAS SPOKEN!!

      • CoachK says:
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        Dr. Evil…

        Read it long ago, along with virtually every other piece of scientific swimming literature I have gotten my hands on. That’s why I’d love to see an interview with their interpretation of the literature, direct from the horse’s mouth.

        CoachK has spoken.

        • DR EVIL says:
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          CoachK

          Well if you have read as much “research literature” as claimed, I doubt a video “interpretation” would help you out!

          Time to go to class…!!!

          DR. EVIL HAS SPOKEN!!

      • coacherik says:
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        I agree with CoachK. I would be interested in seeing how they are applying this in 3 x 40 minutes blocks. How often is this schedule kept? What kind of warm-up is done for these individual training sessions (combined land and water, because I see three workouts and three warm-ups).

        It would also shed more light on their given situation if we got to see a microcycle of these 3 x 40 minute days or other parts of the season. Being able to see a weeks worth of training would be interesting and more informative then reading 4-7 sentences or a single phrase summarizing a 42 page paper with 10 pages of single-spaced references.

        Don’t be afraid to show your hand, Peter and Michael Andrew. Its only a window into the Xs and Os and the application of the training is the biggest component. If you are doing it better, letting people in on it won’t effect your results and goals.

        ..coacherik has spoken…

  24. tomr says:
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    Hope the best for him but fear the worst. A long way to go for him but hope it all works out

  25. whT says:
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    why didn’t he listen to any Missy Franklin interviews

    • zebrafeet says:
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      better yet, why didn’t he read some of the comments from Dagny.

    • Justin Thompson says:
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      Why should he listen to the Missy Franklin interviews? Is that the only way to become great? I guess Phelps made a mistake and should have tooled around in SCY for 4 years?

      • MickeyT says:
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        When Phelps turned pro he was a world record holder and world championships gold medallist…. quite different circumstances I’d say…

  26. Kirk Nelson says:
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    I think this is a terrible precedent and incredibly short sighted. Michael Andrew certainly seems to have the talent to make it to the top, but nothing is guaranteed. But good luck to him. I’d love to see him succeed!

  27. aswimfan says:
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    People who compared Michael Andrew to Thorpe and Phelps are crazy.

    At 14, Thorpe won selection to Pan Pacs and won silver in 400 free at Pan Pacs in a time that would have won silver in 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
    At barely 15, Thorpe already won individual world championships gold.
    Just turning 15, Phelps qualified to 2000 Sydney Olympics and finished 4th in 200 fly. And still at 15, he broke 200 fly WR in worlds trials.

    Now, we can start comparing Michael Andrew to Thorpe and Phelps if he wins selection to Barcelona.

    • Steve Nolan says:
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      Exactly. He’s obviously talented, but he still needs to make another leap (or two) to get anywhere near where he’s expecting to go.

    • bobo gigi says:
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      MP has finished 5th in Sydney. And I remember very well when the TV journalist here in France had said before the race he would be a big champion in the future. He was right about that!
      Of course, absolutely no reason to compare NOW Michael Andrew to Michael Phelps. It’s really stupid.

    • Swimmer says:
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      It is very different swimming sprint freestyle (especially the 50) and winning nationally at such a young age, as opposed to those events of Phelps and Thorpe. If you look at any National-level meet, the field for 50 and 100 free is on average about age 24 or 25.

    • beachmouse says:
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      In track & field right now, there’s great debate about whether 17 year old Mary Cain- great teen prodigy being coached by Alberto Salazar- should go professional this summer. But again, she’s at least racked up IAAF A qualifying standards in the 800 M and 1500 M in recent weeks and looks poised to pick up her World Championships A time in the 5000 M as well leading up to US Trials this year.

      Andrew doesn’t even have a corresponding FINA World Championships B standard yet. I wish him the best, but it just seems like a very risky move at this time.

      • Philip Johnson says:
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        she already ran an A standard in the 5000 m as she ran a 15:45.46 a couple of days ago.

        • beachmouse says:
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          Ah. I’ve literally been in and out of the wilderness and not checking Let’s Run like usual so hadn’t heard she got her time there. I tend to see an IAAF/
          FINA World Championships A qualifying standard time as a sign that an athlete has reached the point where they’re reasonably competitive on sthe World stage. Cain is there now, and has even raced respectably at Diamond League level as well as having, IIRC, what’s probably the global standard for a clean 17& under. (The two girls ahead of her at 800M were Chinese Of A Certain Era)

          Andrew right now could get World Cup invites to the Middle Eastern stops that seem to have problems drawing a lot of quailty swimmers, but I’m not sure where else he could get an invite at the big senior level international meets.

      • Philip Johnson says:
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        an A standard to compete for a spot, I’m not sure if it’s good for the international stage.

        • Rafael says:
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          I´m checking out a little of IAAF.. but the real “next big one” is the Japanese Yoshihide Kiryu.. 17 year old 100m dash 10.01 fastest ever by an under 18 guy.. and probably the first asian (maybe first non-black also) guy who can run under 10 seconds..

          • Wirotomo says:
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            The first black guy under 10 seconds in 100m dash is Christophe Lemaitre (France) in 9.92 seconds.

          • Wirotomo says:
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            Sorry i mean the The first non-black guy under 10 seconds in 100m dash is Christophe Lemaitre (France) in 9.92 seconds.

  28. Gong says:
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    He hasn’t done anything yet folks! No international medals or top finishes anywhere. Typically you turn pro based on results. His results are great for his age, and modest for an upper level swimmer (of any age).
    If he’s planning on being a top sprinter-good luck. I don’t care what he’s going now at 14. Vlad, Manadou, Cesar etc aren’t going anywhere and are the best ever-they will get faster too. Huge roll of the dice for Michael.
    P2life is a multi level marketing (pyramid scheme) company like Advocare. This whole thing reeks of impending disaster.

    • Steve Nolan says:
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      P2Life’s website is terrifying and hilarious at the same time. (This Brendan Hansen quote is fantastic: “P2Life was very important to me during my comeback to make the Olympic team. I was able to recover much quicker between grueling workouts. Simply put I was able to work harder. It certainly came as no surprise that many of my Olympic teammates were also taking P2Life.” Just replace “P2Life” with “STEROIDS” and it’s a bucket of laughs.)

      And this is beside the point, but Vlad, Manadou and Cesar aren’t the “best ever.” Got some real fast times, but not all-time greats or anything.

      • Peter says:
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        How can you say that?? Their Performance Range is tested safe from a 3rd Party company. Ands are all the athletes. You can’t be so naive to think that all the Olympic athletes who take P2Life are not tested on a monthly basis and they all come out clean??

        • Steve Nolan says:
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          Hahahhha oh no no no I’m not saying P2Life = ‘ROIDS!, just that ya hear those types of things about illegal PEDs all the time. On a ridiculous website full of literal pyramids, it stood out as funny.

          • Peter says:
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            I’ve done some reading through their site and it actually is rather admirable. It seems that their goals are actually aimed and bringing (much needed) funds back into swimming, while almost everything else is taking it away. Swim teams a closing down left right an center due to poor funding and here it seems they are allowing coaches, clubs and athletes to make income or to fundraise. They are cutting out huge retail stores like GNC and giving the money back to the coaches and clubs. Respect.

          • Steve Nolan says:
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            Or they’re a giant pyramid scheme. *You say tomato, I say potato*

      • John says:
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        Last time I checked Cesar IS the best ever as is Vlad. They both hold the world/ncaa records. Cesar is the fastest human ever. Period. Good luck living up to those standards Michael, and starting the pressure at 14.

        • Steve Nolan says:
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          Well, that’s not really how I define “best ever” (I’m more interested in how they relate to their peers) but sure, whatever works.

    • aswimfan says:
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      Agreed.

      Even Magnussen, the holder of textile WR (aka fastest ever in 100 free) didn’t produce mindboggling results until he turned 19/20.

  29. 0
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    Hope this works out for him, but it really hasn’t for a number of other athletes who made such a big commitment at a young age. I’m thinking about Dagny for one…
    I feel like he could’ve benefited from at least making a US National team before making this choice. I hope he consulted people who went through a similar situation before deciding.

  30. Canaan Campbell says:
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    As a good friend of Michael, I believe he will succeed. He has the right mind set and is very mature for his age, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve never seen him not smile during a swim, even after an event he may have not performed as well. I had a great opportunity to spend time with Michael and his family at the Minnesota Grand Prix and they are the most humble and kind people I’ve ever met. Before every race they wished me luck and after every race they congratulated me. He is going to continue to improve, he has the right mind set to succeed at the highest level, and he has a great support system with his family. I can’t wait to watch him continue to improve and turn his dream into a reality! Good luck Michael, I believe in you! Oh and he is very social and VERY funny and easy to talk to.

    Sincerely,
    Canaan Campbell

    • True Fact says:
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      This is so true. He goes to so many of the same meets as me and is so nice and humble. Good luck, Michael!

  31. Swimmer says:
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    What did the guy in second place get?? He was hardly behind him.

  32. Sean Justice says:
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    Well I hope that this works out for him, but sadly history is not on his side. There are plenty of NAG record holders that did not make the Olympic team or had great college careers. Given that, maybe cashing in now is not a bad thing.

    All the best to him.

  33. Swimmer says:
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    I’ve been following this kid ever since I saw him break records at age 12 in Fishers. His success is very impressive, although it is sad he will never get to experience being on a swim team and training around teammates who push you to do your best. I feel like that is one of the greatest aspects of swimming, the team! I mean, he trains in a two lane pool in his backyard, very sheltered environment compared to typical practices. High school and college swimming are the best times ever, but I suppose he isn’t missing much because of the whole home schooling thing. Anyway, I wish him the best of luck and hope to see him at Rio!

  34. Rocky IV says:
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    Speaking of similar examples, this reminds me of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. He is trained perfectly and seems to be unbeatable. But, Rocky has the heart and drive of a champion and defeats him in 15 rounds. Does Michael Andrew have the heart of a champion and love for the sport? Even more important, can he maintain love for the sport without enjoying being on a college team? Even if Andrew is the most physically gifted/ well-coached specimen, he has to always like what he’s doing or else the Rocky’s of the world will be much more successful.

  35. Steve Nolan says:
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    Yo, are you guys anchoring these posts to the top of the blog here? Impressive.

  36. easyspeed says:
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    For the good but not great swimmer, college is the way to go. How else is he or she going to make money? Might as well get a free education if you can. But for the swimmers who are winning events at the big meets (Olympics, Worlds), setting records BEFORE college.. one shouldn’t even THINK of wasting time with NCAA. If anything, it would probably hurt your career (the crazy meet schedule, breaks from classes and short course yard format). Of course if the NCAA took my suggestion of allowing pro athletes to compete, this would all be a moot point. Come on NCAA- wake up and see the light!

    • Philip Johnson says:
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      Yeah, this can apply to the young Phelps, Franklin, Ledecky. But Andrews, besides some of these age group records, is a question mark. I’m happy for him, but at the same time I’m worried.

      • easyspeed says:
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        Agree that Andrews did this prematurely. He may or may not be world class when he is 18. The three you mentioned tho, pro all the way- forget the NCAA.

      • 0
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        Considering how tall he is (He is almost as tall as Cielo already and taller than Ervin!!!) I think he made a really risky move.. We know he is 14.. but I don´t think he will grow much more now.. maybe at most he will be Agnel height..

    • bilbro baggins says:
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      Agreed, better to die rich with a high school education than die comfortably with a college education and the lingering question of “What if I took that contract from that nutrition company when I was 14?”

      • easyspeed says:
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        Newsflash: you can turn pro and still go to college; the two are not mutually exclusive.

        • So Very Opinionated says:
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          No, you can’t. As soon as you take money for an endorsement, you lose your amateur status and cannot compete in college.

          • SwimDadATL says:
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            I think he made it clear that he was not motivated by an education. He could surely still go to college but would not be able to compete. Given Missy’s plans to compete for 2 years then turn pro – I doubt she is going to drop out of Cal at that point – she just will not be able to compete for them any longer in NCAA meets

          • easyspeed says:
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            Newsflash: Yes, you can. You can’t COMPETE for the college, but you can still go to college to get an education. If sign a big endorsement deal, paying for a college education is a drop in the bucket. I was responding to Bilbro’s comment, who seems to believe that if you go pro you can’t get anything past a high school education.

  37. Eddie Rowe says:
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    They’re willing to do all of this for what’s three years out, the 2016 games. Have they thought beyond that? Obviously with proper management, the money he makes in three years of endorsements (assuming a poor showing in 2016) or say seven or eight years of endorsements assuming a good showing in 2016 is enough to live comfortably for the rest of his life. Have they thought about higher education, career goals, etc? Actually DOING something once he “retires” from swimming? Or is going to live a life a privilege forever?

  38. WHOKNOWS says:
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    How can a 14 year old sign a contract? There must be some legal safeguards here.

  39. jman says:
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    Interesting. Only going by the picture of his face i’d say he is close to full physical development. If you look at Phelps even at 16 he was still baby faced.

  40. Maria says:
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    I hope it works out for him, we tell every little kid to go after their dreams, and then give them a hundred reasons why they can’t or shouldn’t. Here is a kid going after his dream, good for him! And, lucky kid, to have such supportive parents.

    Overall a fair article, but I’d love to hear P2Life’s comment. Didn’t the writer ask? It seems getting a comment aside from the family’s is left mostly to people making random judgment calls, some clearly without any basis other than an uniformed personal opinion.

    Steve Nolan, I am certain that the 3rd party would test for illegal PEDs otherwise what is the point of giving out a label. Having athletes test positive for illegal PEDs would mean the end of the athlete and the end of the company. Check your facts before you call ‘steroids’, not cool.

  41. NMCOACH says:
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    Braden,

    What are the possibilities of doing a comparison of the age group accomplishments of the following swimmers?

    Jesse Vassallo
    Tracy Caulkins
    Chas Morton
    Michael Phelps
    Michael Andrews

    Would be very interesting to see…Chas Morton was one of the most phenomenal age group swimmers to event come along in the US. I believe Jesse was a finalist at the 76 trials in the 1500 at age 14. Did I leave out anyone else?

    • NMCOACH says:
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      Meant to say “ever” come along in the US. I know Missy was also unbelievable at that age as well.

      What do you say Braden? Can you do it?

      • Braden KeithBraden Keith says:
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        Sure it can be done, but there are limitations of course. Exact records of NAG Records from that era are hard to come by, though they could probably be manufactured in some dimensions by the all-time top 100 lists.

        Ryan Murphy and Maverick Smally would be good names to include probably, as they’re more recent examples who have made their way from age group phenom through the age where they were/were not internationally succesful.

        • C Martin says:
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          It can be done (easily by anyone in fact). Any swim by anyone from 1996-onward can be accessed here: http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1470

          When I first saw this headline, I thought to myself, “Wow! Speedo (or any other big name brand)!” like Michael Phelps when he was a youngin’. It’s a step though (a big step in fact, giving up 8 years of swimming at the high school and colegiate level) towards a promising future.

          Also alluding to Michael Phelps, here is an interesting quote from Kanye West in “The One” –
          “If you ever held a title belt, you would know how Michael felt
          Tyson, Jackson, Jordan – Michael Phelps”

          • C Martin says:
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            Could we possibly be adding another Michael to the list in a few years?

          • Braden KeithBraden Keith says:
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            C Martin – Note that the USA swimming database before about 2001 focuses on biggest national meets. Also, several of the swimmers mentioned were age groupers pre-1996. Further, it shows no records, so it’s very difficult to compare in a historical sense just from that database.

  42. bilbro baggins says:
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    Giving up NCAA eligibility before high school? Must be pretty confident in the forecast and longevity of his career (not him of course, I mean his parents who made the decision for him). This kid could have gotten into some great colleges even if he didn’t improve much… must have been one hell of an offer from this nutrition company.

  43. L.G. says:
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    Doesn’t he have dual citizenship? Maybe his choice will be to go for the other country if he doesn’t have a chance here.

  44. coach t says:
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    please, tell me this is a joke!!

  45. 0
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    Way to young to do this. Enjoy life. You will regret these decisions when you are old enough to understand what you have given up. Shame on the parents for taking away his opportunity to swim at the college level.

  46. 0
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    I’ll echo the observations of Gong and others on this thread. My first impression is that there are many “red flags” on this one regarding Michael’s going pro at such a young age, particularly “cashing out” now with a mediocre nutritional supplement endorsement when potentially significantly more lucrative financial and educational opportunities would be available once he (1) completed high school (2) completed college (3) actually made it to the superstar level in USA Swimming. Missy Franklin in at the top of her game right now but has the haul of Olympic Gold medals to show for it. She – at 18 – could turn pro now, but has chosen to continue her college career at Cal and to have a college swimming experience as a part of her life. Michael is an age group phenom who has yet to prove himself at the elite USA much less international levels of competition. Does anyone really expect the general public to flock to P2 Life because a 14-year old kid endorsed it?
    I’m sure this will open up a lively discussion about what a healthy level of “involvement” from spots parents . I’ll start it off with a few — Are Michael’s parents genuinely looking out for Michael’s long-term interests in swimming and beyond? Or do they see Michael as a sports “franchise” for fame and fortune? Is dad Marv Marinovich 2.0, with regimented micromanaging of his son’s training and development in the family’s own training pool using some arcane Rushall training method? Marinovich had visions of producing a super athlete using all the techniques and programs, but the result was that son Todd turned out to be Headcase Extraordinaire at USC and a flameout in pro football. I’d sure hate to have that pattern repeated with Micahel Andrews.

  47. SWEswimmer says:
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    The funny thing is we have equally good 14 year olds in sweden! The only difference is we swim only in LCM and SCM whitch benefits us. No mather the age he is still as far away from Rio as a 20 year old doing the same times.

    • aswimfan says:
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      Please tell us more about that young swedish swimmer.
      What events does s/he specialize in?
      and what are her/his times?

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        Aswimfan.. I could name some guys in BRA that except the 50 free have some better results already.. and are not already over 1.90m like Andrew..

        • aswimfan says:
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          Yes, I am a bit wary about Michael Andrew who only broke records in sprint events, which could very well due mostly to his tall height already.

          But we’ll see.

      • SWEswimmer says:
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        He breaks similar rekords in Sweden.he specialize in the sprint events as well. If I remember correct, he does around 25,3 on the 50fly

        • Rafael says:
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          What´s the guy name?

          • Braden KeithBraden Keith says:
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            I see a 14 year old and a 15 year old who go 1:06’s in the 100 SCM breaststroke (Daniel Kertes and Teodor Widerberg.)

            There’s an Erik Hinderup who was born in 1998 who’s been 24.6 in the 50 free long course, so close to Andrew (though not sure if that’s before or after his 15th birthday, and Andrew one would presume will continue to drop time before he turns 15 next April).

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            Felipe Ribeiro at 14 (he just turned 15) went 24.11 50, 52.23 100 and 1:54:97 200.. basing on a pic I saw of him with Matheus Santana (who is about 1.88 by now) Felipe is about most 1.80m.. now he is at 23.92, 51.23 and 1:52:87

          • aswimfan says:
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            an Australian, Kyle Chalmers (at 14 yo) swam:

            23.14 (50 free), 50.86 (100 free), 1:53.48 (200 free)
            25.24 (50 fly), 54.79 (100 fly)
            27.26 (50 back), 58.19 (100 back)
            2:14.41 (200 IM)

            all in LCM.

            Not sure Michael Andrew’s LCM times in other events bar 50 free, but i assume Chalmers are faster in all those.

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            Aswimfan

            Braden answered me the times on the article of Michals Andrews interview explaining his decision.. some good times.. but nothing near his 50 free.. to be true.. his 100 and 200 are very subpar compared to the 50..

  48. CoachGB says:
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    Peters parents probably trust the p2life company as the owner an American lived in South Africa for a number of years and may have previously known him, He is an outstanding person himself. Being from another country they haven’t been ingrained in our scholastic athletic mentality. They are taking their shot doing it their way just like the training system. It will give everyone a lot to follow and we can enjoy seeing if it will have any effect on showing it a different way.
    Personally disagree with it but this is still a Free Country. Something for all to watch.

  49. SwimmerParent says:
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    I wish Michael luck as his efforts are certainly impressive so far.

    However, this decision gives up a lot more than I think is realized. Missy Franklin, Ryan Murphy and Jack Conger (among many others!) will likely all receive (more) significant national and international rewards for their efforts. They will also receive a “free” college education because of their abilities. They will very likely get NCAA individual and NCAA team championships in the next few years. They will develop a sense of TEAM and pride and a sense of community that will now allude this young man. I have really enjoyed following Natalie C., Ryan L. and Nathan A. (among many others!) and seeing their beaming pride about their colleges.

    One of the best things about this sport is that the draw and ability to become a professional is so small that swimmers don’t follow the path of college basketball players who leave school early and are done with their profession at 24 and have nothing to fall back upon…like that diploma, sense of community and pride.

    • anonymous says:
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      One person’s “diploma to fall back on” is another person’s time wasted in a pagan factory. Many Christians do not value the same thing that the world values.

  50. Have you lost your mind?! says:
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    What is this kid thinking? You are NOT Michael Phelps who MADE the Olympic team at age 15 and made the A final in the 200fly. You are a kid who is huge for his age and has set only 3 records. Now i think its great you are able to do that. But i don’t see him making the 2016 team either he should swim in high school and college and get the experience. I think this is a bad move.

  51. 0
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    What are Andrew other PB on LCM???

  52. Swimhawk says:
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    One of the nicest families I have met. I have seen many races and practices in person. They are very laid back. If anything his dad has to hold him back. He truly has amazing talent mentally and physically. He has many friends and to be honest, swimming high school would be a joke and waste of time. I’ve had it with everyone’s opinions on why he is making a bad decision considering none of the posters can probably swim a 23 second 50.

    Best of luck MA, I hope you achieve all your goals.

    • L.G. says:
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      Anyone who says swimming high school is a waste of time, doesn’t know about what high school experience does for them. No one is too fast to swim high school!

      • Eagleswim says:
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        Phelps probably was… Not saying this kid is anywhere near phelps level, but there are certain cases where foregoing some hi school swimming would be advisable… I personally would have gone pro before my senior year if I were Franklin… I applaud and respect her for keeping her eligibility, but I don’t think anyone would blame her for taking the money, and the decision would certainly be justified… That being said, I think this kid (read: his parents) is making a huge mistake

      • Michelle says:
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        Depends on what state you are talking about – many elite swimmers in MO do not compete for HS because of the archean rules about swimming club during HS season – and if your event is a distance event or 200 stroke – it may not be a high school event and no HS coach is going to keep a distance swimmer in shape when they are trying to win the 50 free or 200 Medley relay at state – sad really.

  53. Jg says:
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    Young Kyle Chalmers has a sponsorship with Engine Swim. His stated aim is to do well at the TransTasman ( Australia & NZ age) annual meet & just generally improve.

    It is common for outstanding age groupers to get small sponsorships to help out with expenses & experience the world of commerce.

    Which is possibly another reason few Australian swimmers go on to NCAA as their amateur rules are old fashioned .

  54. Jg says:
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    There are many stories of champion 12 -14 year old speed demons . If they end up at the right place & it is different for all – then que sera sera .

    One of the more amusing tales is the travels of Te Haumi Maxwell who was bettering Thorpe’s 11 12 13 & 14 records. His parents sought every opportunity & today he is at university doing well . Not so much his swimming which is some sort of inside job – if it exists at all.

    Ironically the squad from which I believe he was moved on from at age 11 has 3 freestylers on the Australian team including a world number 2 .

    Such is life.

    • Bourdais says:
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      I just looked at that guy’s Swimming Australia profile. According to that, he swam a 22.48 LCM 50m freestyle a fortnight after his sixteenth birthday, and a 48.48 just a year and a half ago, when he was seventeen. Those are absolutely ridiculous times. If he’d done the 48.48 four months later at the 2012 trials, he would have been the fourth fastest 100m swimmer in the reigning 4x100m World Championship country. As you said, NAG record holders at 11-14 are not unknown to burn out and go nowhere as an adult, but Maxwell seemed to make it. He wasn’t just an age group star, he was swimming international level times, at 17. What happened? Did he just lose the desire to train and compete?

      • aswimfan says:
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        Swimming Australia made a mistake in his profile page (the 50 free time is correct though, 22.48)

        Te Haumi Maxwell never swam 48.48 100free LCM.

        Te Haumi recorded his best ever when he was still 16: 50.34 (swam at february 2011 NSW open).

        After turning 17 he never again broke his best in most events.

        But Australia seems to have a legit future star in Kyle Chalmers:
        At 14, he swam these times:

        23.14 (50 free), 50.86 (100 free), 1:53.48 (200 free)
        25.24 (50 fly), 54.79 (100 fly)
        27.26 (50 back), 58.19 (100 back)
        2:14.41 (200 IM)

        • Braden KeithBraden Keith says:
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          And, one would note, Chalmers signed an endorsement deal at a very similar age and level of accomplishment as Andrew has. Chalmers’ times at 14 were better than Andrew’s are so far (except the 200 IM), but remember that those are swims done throughout the completion of his 14th year, meaning Michael has about 10 months to catch up for a fair comparison.

          Really quite similar situations, in fact. Both have parents that are elite-type athletes, both very tall for their age, both have given a go with much success in other sports…

          • MickeyT says:
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            It’s probably worth noting though that for Australians there is no downside to “going pro” as there is no NCAA-type competition here – it’s all about nationals and in the future, olympics/worlds. So Chalmers has given up nothing for this deal, compared to potentially a free college education…

  55. DutchWomen says:
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    Two things….one for and one against the young phenom….or should I say his coach.

    1. The young man is obviously a devout Christian and through this and other interviews it is quite easy to conclude that he sees his swimming ability as a “gift from God” and as such wants to honor God with said gift. That is the END of the story folks, anything more you make of it is a witch hunt on your end. Whether or not he is wrong or right is not for you to decide. Forget not there are over 2 billion Christians worldwide who believe the same things he does, and in this country the atheist types are still the minority. Live and let live!!

    2. Does anyone find it ironic that the good Dr. Rushall, who loathes strength training in the sport, is now championing his race pace training through one of the most physically talented 10-14 year old boys we’ve ever seen? Dr. Rushall, please, tell me, would we be debating the merits of Andrew going pro were he 5’5′ 120 at 14 and not 6’4 180? And you are still going to tell me that strength doesn’t play a role in fast swimming?

    I believe in race pace training, don’t get me wrong, and I incorporate it into my programs, but to argue against strength training by pointing to one of the tallest, strongest 10-14 year olds in age group history (with DUTCH genes by the way, anyone who has spent time around South Africans knows they have the genes of Greek Gods) does not give your argument much merit. Rushall will point to a study done in the 90’s that shows no correlation between strength training and swim speed….I simply say, if strength doesn’t help you swim faster, why are men faster than women?

    • Daven says:
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      I like the second comment and while not too familiar with the work of Rushall, I find it odd that, at least to me, that Michael would not focus on some type of strength training in the future. Judging from that view of the 50M free he had 19.50 cycles (two arm strokes) or a tempo of 1.2 where the finals of the Olympic Trial final ranged from .93 to 1.08. Without all the specific data it looks like that implies cycles ranging from 20.0 to 24.2. Granted he traveled a bit farther per cycle (he also had a slower time), I am not sure how he could improve the number of cycles without losing efficiency without getting stronger. But at only 14 he will likely get stronger regardless of the type of training. Best of luck to him and his swimming career.

      • Eagleswim says:
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        I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but one of my former coaches, who used to be on the US national team, once told me that tempo doesn’t change overall from the junior national level to the Olympic champion level, so the main difference is distance per stroke… The easiest way to improve this, ESPECIALLY for a young swimmer, is through technique. Strong swimmers with the fast twitch muscles enabling them to have a ridiculous tempo are a dime a dozen at the high school and even mid-major D1 level… The only way to be great is through technique, which your comment seems to ignore

    • duckduckgoose says:
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      Tim Tebow, Caitlin Leverenz, and Tom Shields are devoutly religious and all completely exhausted their collegiate eligibility before turning pro despite early athletic success. Missy Franklin experienced more athletic success than those three plus Andrews before graduating from high school, is deeply religious, and plans to swim for two years in college before turning pro. Tebow’s a good guy, physically blessed, and his faith is extremely genuine, but that hasn’t made him a productive NFL QB. Thoughtful people can discuss the merits of religious athletes’ decisions, outlook, successes and failures without it being an athiest witch hunt.

      • DutchWomen says:
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        We can certainly discuss the merits of religious athletes turning pro. What we shouldn’t do is rail on the kid for being religious in the first place, and some of the above comments regarding Michael’s religion were borderline close to doing just that. The issue is not turning pro. The issue is attacking his freedom of religion in the first place with off the wall comments like “don’t push that on me” and so forth. If you think a 14 year old kid is going to push religion on you…you need some thicker skin.

    • PAC12BACKER says:
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      Of course men are faster than women primarily due to strength and secondarily due to less coeff of fluid drag due to avg height over cross-section ratio. Roughly a 10% time difference over all events at the highest level.

      Rushall is not discounting strength, only discounting dryland weight training programs that don’t specificially simulate a swimmers stroke mechanics and motion.

      My thoughts are a little different on this but similar in that you don’t want to increase muscle volume, and thus drag, without a clear benefit in the power output per stroke.

      • DutchWomen says:
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        And it is quite possible to elicit major strength gains without unnecessary or unwanted hypertrophy. Having said that, there is a lot of talk about “big” muscles creating drag and so forth….yet stronger and “bigger” males the same height as women still swim faster…..so that tells me the larger cross sectional area of muscle in the male and thus more “drag” isn’t enough to slow him down compared to the female…which tells me that the added “drag” from larger cross sectional area isn’t as big of a deal as we think it is.

        Again….With men and women of the same height (doing away with height to cross sectional area ratio), the males still swim faster…much faster, and it’s not even close. They do this with a lot more drag (form and surface) but also a lot more strength.. Liv Jensen went 21.48 two years ago at 6’3”…. how many 6’3 males go MUCH faster than 21.48? That is an average high school time at best.

        “Rushall is not discounting strength, only discounting dryland weight training programs that don’t specificially simulate a swimmers stroke mechanics and motion”

        The huge misunderstanding here is that swimming and strength are not as specific as Dr. Rushall would like you to believe, and again there are countless examples to prove him otherwise.

        1. Take your average high school male/female swimmers, with absolutely no weight room or dryland training. No specific strength training whatsoever. The male will still be faster all else equal because he is stronger, in a general sense…..this has nothing to do with specific swimming strength or simulating stroking patterns as neither of them have done it, and everything to do with the fact that the male is simply, in a very general sense, “stronger all around” and has more ready and available strength to then put into swimming movements.

        2. Women cheating with T and HGH….If getting stronger, in a more general sense and not just specifically, did not help one swim faster….why do females cheat with T and HGH to get stronger? Regardless of whether or not they are doing 100% specific swimming motions in the weight room, if they’ve got higher T or HGH levels they’re getting stronger and faster….why? General strength absolutely plays a role in fast swimming.

        3. Growing bigger and stronger helps you improve as an age grouper…..swimmers don’t grow bigger and stronger specific to their swimming motions….they just grow, and get faster, in a very general sense.

        Look we’ve had four women under 21.50….

        Jackson
        Vanderpool-Wallace
        Coughlin
        Jensen

        Now look at their physiques, look at what they’ve done in the weight room, and compare that to what Rushall is telling you about weights.

        It is as simple as this…..

        Jackson going 21.27

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9MJgY0KKCk

        Watch her leg power off the start and off the wall. I am just not sure any logical, rational human being with an eye for swimming and coaching could look at that start and turn and not see how strength training plays a part. Strength is the base of power, and the more powerful you are you are going to come off the block and wall faster. Pretty simple.

        If Rushall were correct, where are the 6’6 150 pound males dominating the sprints at the Olympics? Manaudou is 6’6” 218 and I just cannot wrap my head around him being faster with 60 pounds less muscle!!

    • aswimfan says:
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      Dutchwomen,

      You are correct, dutch are statistically the world’s tallest people.

    • DR EVIL says:
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      Dutchwoman:

      Let me add just a little new information to your post. Actually U.S. Swimming conducted a study of our 2000 Olympic Trials Qualifiers for the year leading up to the Trials. Measured all kinds of parameters, but there was a consistent finding throughout the analysis for all strokes and all distance that is posted below.

      BTW….Rate of improvement for overall strokes and distances was +0.51% for men and +0.63% for women.

      Here is a quote directly from the study for male and female sprinters:

      “Female sprinters as well as male sprinters and distance swimmers have
      tendency to increase dry-land workload volume with age. But it doesn’t seem
      to have an influence on performance progression since there is a negative
      relationship between improvement and dry-land hours per week for sprinters
      as well as distance swimmers.”

      Sokolovas Genadijus, Tuffey Suzie, Riewald Scott. (2000). Demographic information.
      In The Olympic Trials Project (Chapter 1). Colorado Springs, CO: United States Swimming.

      DR. EVIL HAS SPOKEN!!

  56. 0
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    The biggest issue I have with this story is that he’s swimming in a TWO-LANE POOL. That just sounds absolutely horrible.

  57. Tim says:
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    Watching that video of his NAG 50 free, I see two definite areas to work on in his freestyle technique: he has a short recovery with his left arm and doesn’t extend it very far before his hand enters the water; his right hand (or at least his fingertips, based on the splash) drags through the water on the recovery.

    I’m not his coach, so I don’t have any say in his training, but I’d certainly work on his technique. Clearly he’s not a bad swimmer by any means, but those are pretty sloppy deficiencies in his stroke that I (as his hypothetical coach) would focus on fixing.

    Fix his technique and I see a good deal of upside for this kid.

  58. Jimmy says:
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    I thought people went pro after producing real results. He’s been 23 in the 50 free LCM. There are thousands of people who can go 23. Sure, he has potential, but he could be 23 for the rest of his life. He could get slower. Who knows. Show me real results and I’ll be impressed.

    • KevinT says:
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      I agree with you Jimmy. My very first reaction when I read that Michael Andrew went pro was “But how? What has he done yet?”

      I always thought that in order to go pro in swimming……..you have to get a gold medal on a grand stage. Whether it be worlds, the olympics, or pan am games.

      Even if he goes a 22.9 in the 50 LCM free as a 14 year old……..it won’t be nearly enough to medal on a grand stage. A 22.9 as a 14 year old will be an extraordinary feat and I will be extremely proud of the guy if he does it. But like I said it won’t be nearly enough to medal on a grand stage.

      I can’t see a swimmer going pro unless he/she either breaks a world record or at least gets a gold medal on a grand stage.

      I don’t want to knock the guy. Hell, I wish him all the luck in the world. I hope he breaks every world record known to man. I am just saying that it’s very odd that he is going pro without having been proven yet.

  59. DutchWomen says:
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    Something we haven’t thought about here –

    1. We (as in the armchair swim coaches and fans) do not determine the market.
    2. The market will or will not determine when professional swimming is attainable, regardless of the age.
    3. If Andrew can help P2Life market and sell drinks to the 10-18 crowd, he is worth whatever they are paying him. That is the beauty of the market!!

    • KevinT says:
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      Who knows…….maybe in a couple of years all of us nay sayers will be eating our words. I hope so. Like I said before I wish this young man all the luck in the world.

  60. Rebecca says:
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    So many opinions from so many people who know so very little about Michael and his family. If you really knew them, you would not be worried for Michael. You would be happy for him.

    • fluidG says:
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      Well said!!!

    • So Very Opinionated says:
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      I’m not worried for Michael based on his family, support network, or character. I’m worried because, compared to his peers (all swimmers, not just swimmers his age) he isn’t very good. Is there a chance that he continues to improve and his times aren’t connected to his early physical development? Yes. Is it likely? No. He can have the best family in the world, but it doesn’t make a 23 50 free into a 22 or a 21. As a pro, fast is what counts. World Championships (in the real pool) is what counts. The Olympics is what counts. NAG records are worthless to a pro.

      • Braden KeithBraden Keith says:
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        So Very Opinionated – are NAG Records worthless to a pro? I bet you that there’s a whole lot of 14 year olds, whether they know it or not, who aren’t nearly as fast as Michael who have sold a whole lot of suits, and in many cases more suits than a lot of National Teamers. I worked at a swimshop for a while, and all day long people came in telling me about this suit they saw on local 14-year old swim celebrity that they want for their kid too.

        • SprintDude9000 says:
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          You are absolutely spot on Braden, I have witnessed this myself also.

          • Hmmmm? says:
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            Strangely, P2Life still doesn’t name him on its list of athletes nor is there any news from P2 about the signing more than a week later.

  61. So Very Opinionated says:
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    I don’t think that anyone wishes ill for young Michael, nor do most of the posts think that his parents have some nefarious purpose in having their son go pro. I think his parents have the best intentions. And the road to hell is paved with those.

    The reality is that there is a limited market for professional swimmers. There are finalists from the London Olympics who can’t make steady money (let alone a living) from their swimming. If a 21-year-old 2-time Olympian struggles to make a living from swimming (Chloe Sutton), an early-developing 14-year-old with a limited slate of events and no competitiveness on the world stage is kinda hosed. If he swam the 400/200/100/50 he might garner some interest because of his potential, but 14-year-old “sprinters” are a dime a dozen and a 22.7 (which he hasn’t even gone yet) would have left him on the outside looking in … of Semi-Finals at Olympic Trials. He doesn’t have the speed to make the US team, but even if he did no one would notice him at an international competition because his times aren’t very good for adult competition.

    I believe his parents are good, well-intentioned people who only want the best for their son. However, they are obviously woefully ignorant of the earning potential of a swimmer, particularly one who hasn’t accomplished anything significant in comparison to those he will be competing against for sponsorship dollars. He is bigger, stronger, and faster than other kids his age. But he is stepping into a man’s world and unless grows his slate of events or grows another foot taller, he doesn’t have any meaningful accomplishments to take work away from those who do. Harsh, but true.

  62. Tom H says:
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    Michael Andrew and his family are a class act. I think anyone who has met them would agree. Michael Phelps was one of the first swimmers to skip college swimming. The people who doubted that it was a good idea at the time were proven wrong. I wish Michael and his family well. I expect and pray that he will continue to excel. I don’t doubt that they made the right decision for their family.

    • aswimfan says:
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      Are you comparing Michal Andrew and Michael Phelps again?

      If you do, please check out Bob Bowman’s tweet.

  63. SwimMOM says:
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    They will need to make a lot of money to make up for the price of a 4 year degree in the NCAA. I honestly can’t understand making this decision at such a young age. I’m sure they have all the best intentions but they are very ill advised. If he is expressing interest and enjoyed training with team mates after only having a taste of it at a camp then think about how much he will miss when he can’t swim for a college team.

    • DutchWomen says:
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      For all we know, his deal could have college tuition included. There is a lot we do not know and should not pretend to know. Uneducated people should not have an opinion, and uneducated we all certainly are.

      • So Very Opinionated says:
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        No one in their right mind would give a contract to a 14-year-old with no significant adult accomplishments that included college tuition. Again, Olympic finalists can’t get that kind of deal; someone who can’t even crack the top 50 in the world would never get it.

  64. Shame on P2! says:
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    I think if you go back through the years and look at NAG records for sprinting they come and go like the wind and many of these kids never make it to the next level or are competitive internationally. He is a giant kid with poor stroke mechanics from what I saw in the video. I have a child very similar to him that was making similar strides at that age but within a couple of years when everyone caught up in size he wasn’t as amazing anymore. I would never have imagined turning him pro at that age especially with a supplement company. Should a 14 yr old even be taking a supplement? I would be interested to see what a sports nutritionist or what a USA team doctor would think about this. I would think you shouldn’t start taking these kinds of things at that young of age. So I guess my beef is more with P2 than with the parents or Michael. Are they really going to try and hook in kids this age to sell their product to? How about we look at a Chocolate Milk ad instead? That is supposed to be the best recovery drink anyway.
    His video was a bit odd, I would think that P2 would have liked to be more involved in that one and leave the comments about religion out of the interview. It was almost like he was trying to be Tim Tebow or something. There is a lot of growing mentally that occurs between 14 and 18 when HE should be considering these eligibility questions, I hope the deal was worth a ton of cash for him and they use it wisely.
    I have no ill will for Michael I would just suggest he continue to work hard and they think about finding other coaching options for him or at least work with a stroke specialist for a little bit to fix some things. Maybe a few weeks at a swim camp with a college coach or a High School program like Bolles or another top program may help him.

    I hope that he continues to excel but will not be surprised if I don’t see him in Rio. Maybe the next Olympics, but Rio is a pretty far reach goal.

    • Danjohnrob says:
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      I must admit, as a former age-group coach, I agree that I thought his stroke could use some work! He’s muscling his way through the water, rather than seeming to have a “feel” for the water, as I’ve seen with smaller kids who have had big success in age-group swimming. I taught Nick Brunelli to swim, and I must tell you he was a natural; he just had a feel for pushing the water I’ve never observed before. It looked like he was pushing against concrete instead of water he got so far with each stroke!

  65. ... says:
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    What’s the deal with this quarterback/swimmer? Sounds a lot more interesting than a kid who is 6’4 and 185 swimming a 23.4 in the 50.

  66. Sprinter says:
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    What exactly is Brent rushalls method?

  67. Sprinter says:
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    What is Brent rushalls method?

  68. RB says:
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    I do hope he has done his research on what he wants out of this. Hopefully he has taken a good look at the people who have gone professional before college. Sutton is still living at home without a college degree. Ziegler just graduated, but it was a rocky road. And of course there is Phelps. Hopefully this kid understands the risks involved.

  69. .... says:
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    why do i have a feeling that out of nowhere, it will be michaela that makes the 2016 team instead of michael?

  70. John says:
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    Noel Strauss was a 23.8 and 51.59 in 1987!!! He still holds the 13-14 NAG Record in the 100. Chas Morton got all the hype back in the day as an age grouper, but Strauss was a beast too. Much like Chas, he was able to excel at the age group level and still go onto be a solid NCAA swimmer.

    Noel Strauss
    Noel began competitive swimming at age 5 for the Little Rock Dolphins and won his first state championship the following year. At 12, he set his first 14 National Age Group Records and was National Age Group Champion 17 times. At 13, he was the youngest-ever male Junior National champion, winning the 50 freestyle and qualifying for Senior Nationals in that event. In 1988, he was Junior Nationals Champions in the 100 freestyle and the youngest-ever make qualifier for the Olympic Trials. He was a member of the LRCC Senior National Championships team in 1989, a gold and silver medal winner at the 1989 National Olympic Festival and the 1993 Maccabiah Games in Israel, and a qualifier for the 1992 Olympic Trials. Noel swam for the University of Michigan, where he was a two-time NCAA All American.

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      And being a NAG record still did not make him achieve the most important thing for a PRO Swimmer.. the OG..

      NAG records is just something for the show to compare kids.. but the real game begin when you compared anyone at any age to the swimmers who are at OG.. putting some hype and expecting good things from young beats is normal.. but this particular situation is near ridiculous

      • John says:
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        Exactly! What if the parents (it is the parent making this decision after all)of Chas and Noel would have had the opportunity to push their sons into the same horrible decision that Mr. Andrew is making? They would have missed out on being part of two amazing college programs and all of the priceless experiences that many of remember from college swimming.

        I am still baffled that people are defending this decision. Simply saying, “You never know how this is going to workout” isn’t a sufficient defense of the massive display of ego and selfishness that I believe Mr. Andrew is exhibiting. Many of us who are being critical of the decision aren’t knocking Michael and his goals, just the pure insanity of eliminating the option of college swimming from a 14 year old swimmers future.

        This is like deciding to leave early for the NBA draft after averaging 10 points a game for the Duke Blue Devils. Most people couldn’t score that many points for an elite college team, but that doesn’t mean you’re good enough to go pro. Wouldn’t it make more sense to go back and develop your game to see if you can get up to 20+ points a game?

    • SprintDude9000 says:
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      Strauss was also [only] 5’11” at 14 according to this article http://articles.latimes.com/1987-08-13/sports/sp-1182_1_800-meter-freestyle

  71. mogadishu says:
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    LOL this is RIDICULOUS!

  72. Graham says:
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    14 year olds are regularly turning pro in the realm of professional surfing, skating, and snowboarding, so this isn’t exactly uncommon in sports and hasn’t ruined any of those kids. Let’s see what happens with Michael.

  73. Danjohnrob says:
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    I certainly wish Michael the best of luck! We could use a sprint phenom in U.S. Men’s swimming! Having said that, I have 2 questions: 1. Does Michael have dual citizenship with S. Africa? I’m sure he would like to swim for the U.S. internationally, but that could take awhile.
    Would it be possible for him to compete for S. Africa to gain some experience first? 2. Who was the youngest man to medal at Worlds or Olympics in 50/100 Free? I’m guessing Alexander Popov, but I really have no idea, and I’m sure the experts here can fill me in!

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      Dan.. for the record.. there are faster 50 kids out there.. who is not yet as tall as him.. and his 100 time is pretty slow compared to other “14 year old phenomenons”

      All these amazing talents, many of them I would say more than 90% don´t become world class swimmers.. people should wait and see.. he will not become a medalist at 15 16 year old…

  74. 0
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    And For The Youngest.. checking only Words

    Bartosz Kizierowski and Jim Montgmory both were 18 when they medalled at Worlds..

    Did not check all OG though..

  75. WHOKNOWS says:
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    1 23.16 Youkes, Shehab 7/12/2012
    2 23.18 Chalmers, Kyle 4/8/2013
    2 23.18 Lim, Darren 3/19/2013
    4 23.47 Andrew, Michael 5/31/2013
    5 23.50 Dressel, Caeleb 8/8/2011
    6 23.77 Romany, Joshua 8/26/2010
    7 24.02 Louzada, Gustavo 12/15/2011
    8 24.08 Jovanovic, Andrew 7/31/2009
    9 24.11 Negri, Benno 4/8/2013
    9 24.11 Gill, Caiden 4/8/2013
    11 24.13 Wilson, Matthew 4/8/2013
    12 24.17 Sricharoenboon, Kittapat 6/10/2011
    13 24.23 Blake, Jack 5/24/2013
    14 24.30 Hoffer, Ryan 4/11/2013
    14 24.30 Brocato, Gregory 7/18/2012
    16 24.36 McGlaughlin, Mark 7/26/2012

    • 0
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      Whoknows

      Felipe Souza went 24.11 as a 14 year old. (2012)
      Louzada I think he was already 15 when he went that time

      • SprintDude9000 says:
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        We have two 15 year olds in Scotland going 23.75 and 23.87 in the 50m free LCM respectively. The slower of those guys actually went a 23.20 in SCM 3 months after turning 15, and he is much faster than Andrew in the 100m (51.97 LCM) and 200m free (1.53.34 LCM as a 14 year old).

      • WHOKNOWS says:
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        My research shows his birthday is 12/20…. so he was 14 at time of swim

  76. Justin Thompson says:
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    I don’t know why people are so up in arms about this. I don’t see anything wrong with this kid chasing his dream a different way than most do by forgoing college. I’m sure the the parents could use the $$ to send him to meets across the country and abroad. Not everyone can afford to hit the Grand Prix series.

    As for how fast he is or isn’t it doesn’t really matter much at this age. Look at all the NAG’s from the 9-10 and 11-12 age groups (granted many wee set in 2011/2012). You don’t see many well known names there outside Ryan Murphy who has yet to do anything significant on the world stage.

    I think the key is that Michael has all the gifts and is well rounded. He’s good at every stroke, has a killer 200IM, 100 Fly, 100 Breast, and 50/100 free and is decent in the 200 Breast, 200 Free, 400IM. He will surely develop in the next 3 years and may or may not be able to make the Olympic team, but in my opinion he has all the tools to be a great swimmer. The main question in my mind is how far this training regime will take him. At some point it would be good to see him try a traditional program, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this kid become the best 100 fly/200IM guy in the nation by the time he’s 20. I also think he should move away from the 50’s because that just promotes a sloppy technique with no stamina.

  77. Swim fast says:
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    I have been fortunate to watch this talented swimmer compete in person several times. He is incredibly talented. However, it’s very disturbing to see how his meets unfold compared to my son who is one year younger.
    About a month ago, At a meet, while my son and the rest of the swimmers had a blast with team mates on deck, Michael Andrew sat alone in the stands with his dad in silence, no doubt visualizing his next race.
    I sure hope all this boys dreams come true, otherwise, there may very well be some regrets.
    He does seem to be very internally motivated though. No one can take away his jaw dropping results.

    • ken says:
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      From a swim parent’s point of view – the most disturbing aspect is when your doing things “atypical” as to how they’ve been done for years. I know there are a few coaches who know about Ultra Short Training – but there are very few who actually embrace it and embrace building upon technical training.

      When Pete and Mike are alone together – they are working together that others don’t believe – but even Jesus had 12 disciples – and I have seen the results and buy into what they are doing. Most parents that judge what’s going on think about the overbearing father/coach (Marinovich Syndrome), but in reality – the entire FAMILY is in this together – success or not.

      I know Michael would LOVE to have other kids training with him – especially his own age and kids that could swim on the same relay with him, sit around the pool deck, and just chill out. I’m sure a lot of kids look at him like a Rock Star – but you’re right – he’s just a kid that is focused on what he wants and TRUSTS his father to help him prepare and the results are showing the success – which only provides more confidence – but scares the crap out of other USA Coaches who have parents that say – why can’t my kids coach be more like that?

  78. Michelle says:
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    My son just attended the Zones Select Camp with Michael and they talked about their respective training – my son is also a just turned 14-year old – but much smaller and a distance/open water swimmer. He was astounded by these methods and Michael just as astounded by my son’s 6 x broken 1,500 workouts – in fact I think my son’s word were that they each thought the other was crazy – but they respected their differences. My son said Michael was a great kid – nice, polite and worked hard at the practices just like the other select swimmers. It is not fair to judge this swimmer or his family for the choices they make – they may by unconventional – but if it is best for their family and lifestyle then so be it – I wish Michael all the success he and his family have worked for!

  79. Triguy says:
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    Wow Darren Lim, 14 swam 22.73 at Singapore nationals

  80. Reality Chix says:
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    Michael has swam against my younger son for about four years now. They both grew in size at a tremendous pace. Mike looks like a man in body but almost the same height, while my son still looks adolescent. BUT Mike swims like a Man. Inside there is still a little fella. The guys play around, do what kids do to socialize. He has been trained to be a gentleman, always congratulates his closest competitors, even when they are a second behind. Now Michael accelerates to pass my older son who is a very good swimmer …and the top of our LSC swimmers are just about TOAST in competition with him now. If you doubt he won’t get faster and faster for a while, just try competing with him. Every race he competes in he just…..wins, or exceeds expectations. I do feel he is Special, but he is also racing through his normal childhood years, no time to play, hang or flirt, talk video games or just clack his antlers with other males in any other arena. I see him alone a lot, no one wants to approach the “star” and he is probably in trouble to be “playing” at a meet when hen should be concentrating and focusing. BUT isn’t that the only time he gets to socialize? This is a wonderful problem for the family to have to face, but only few know the real answer to. Felt the same way when I met Phelps. Cuz it’s lonely at the top if you don’t know who you are yet…you just want to play with the other kids, but you can’t. :(

  81. old-school says:
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    How much $? I’m curious about the terms of the deal. How much for how long. Goal bonuses (like make Rio olympics ) ? Is this enough to cover travel? Allow parents to quit working? If this is say $1k per month, while ok, that barely covers travel.

  82. Billy Beard says:
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    I think it was a dumb idea to go pro im gonna be honest he just disqualified himself from NCAA and hes 6”4′ and hes 180. I dont wanna be a debbie downy but when he dosnt get any faster hes gonna be sitting at his house wondering why he didnt get his education first and worried about the endorsment later I mean Im fifteen and I go 24.00 and Im not looking for endorsments just saying

  83. roadrunner says:
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    I have swam right next to this kid and i’m 14 but it’s truly amazing what he does you will be with him one second and then the next he gone!

  84. Swim Mom says:
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    I think this guy is great. He’s got a great attitude and great family support. Best of Luck to you!

  85. Mike Higgs says:
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    This lad has a physical advantage and with type of programme he is following will restrict him to 50 metres and a weaker 100 metre event. Without the aereobic background he will not succeed in the longer events. The question I would like to ask is how may of the worlds top sprinters were good 1500 swimmers when they were in Age group programmes.

  86. Simone D says:
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    Michael Andrew is now my new swimmer role model. For a kid that is around my age to do that is inspirational. I hope others take hold of this video and try to strive and better themselves in swimming and other sports also. This shows younger children can make a difference. So thanks Swim Swam for showing us this and thanks Michael Andrew for putting the work and strength into swimming so you could succeed in this wonderful race.
    Michael Andrew keep doing what you are doing and make bigger goals. :)

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About Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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