13-year old Michael Andrew is certainly not the first 13-year old to ever qualify for Senior Nationals; however, they are so few-and-far-between, especially on the men’s side of the pool, that it is a notable accomplishment indeed.
Andrew swam a 1:50.54 in the 200 IM at the Jenks Sectional Championship meet last weekend to hit his first Winter Senior Nationals qualifying time. He’s still two seconds away from Gray Umbach’s 1:48.08 National Age Group Record in the race, but even in the bottom-half of the age group, Andrew has become just the third 13-14 under 1:51 in this race (Gunnar Bents was a 1:50.34 in 2010). Andrew’s swim is far-and-away the best by a 13-year old, and is about five seconds better than Umbach was at the same age.
Andrew swam at the Winter Junior Nationals last year, and has now graduated to Winter Senior Nationals; he will have to wait until the long course season for a shot at Summer Nationals cuts.
Andrew, when in the younger 12 & under age groups, focused mostly on shorter 50’s (though he had a handful of 100 and 200 National Age Group Records as well). Now that he’s progressed into 13-14’s, he and his father/coach Peter Andrew have shown the ability to adapt their ultra-low yardage, ultra-race-pace training techniques to longer races like this 200 IM.
In other races, Andrew this weekend nearly matched his best time in the 50 free with a 20.96, and also swam best times in the 100 free (46.06), 100 back (51.05), 100 breast (57.03), and 100 fly (49.72), all of which rank him very high on the National Age Group All-Time lists.
These swims are already huge improvements from his times just a week ago at the Missouri Valley Championship meet.