2018 U.S. Nationals Preview: Michael (Andrew) Wilson On Fire in 50 BR




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At different points in their histories, for different reasons, you may not have expected the names Michael Andrew and Andrew Wilson to grace a headline predicting a U.S. National title. Andrew, home-schooled and home-trained, furiously took down an expansive list of NAG records while an 18 & under, but he’s so versatile in sprints that it wasn’t until recently that the 50/100 breaststroke races have become primary events for him. Wilson was a dynamite swimmer at Emory University, making a name for Division III, and just in the last couple of summers has he wrestled his way to relevance on the national stage.

Though American record holder Kevin Cordes might be the slight favorite, Andrew and Wilson (that sounds funny) are going to be neck-and-neck with him, along with a slew of other competitors. Cordes’ 26.76 stands as the American Record, while Andrew has been 27.12 and Wilson 27.18.

Kevin Cordes (Photo: Rafael Domeyko)

Andrew and Wilson might be newer to the scene, but there are some regulars, too. 2016 100 breast Olympic bronze medalist Cody Miller and 2017 World Champs 200 breast finalist Nic Fink were 27.24 and 27.31, respectively, at 2017 Nationals.

A couple collegians (or recent grads) are going to be in the mix as well. Connor Hoppe, who just finished up at Cal, was 27.28 at Nationals last year. Ian Finnerty of Indiana has not been fantastic in meters this year after his sub-50 showing in the 100 SCY breast, but the 50 breast is just one length, and with a full taper, he could end up surprising.

Teenagers Reece Whitley and Max McHugh should have eyes kept on them. Whitley, who is better at the 100 and 200, was 27.71 at World Jr Champs last year. McHugh blew up in yards this year, and had an unofficial 22.6, but probably more like 23-mid, medley relay split at a Wisconsin HS sectional meet. He was 27.83 at YMCA Nationals last year, but has definitely progressed since then.

Stanford’s Matt Anderson, Michigan’s Jacob Montague, and recently A3-signed Conner McHugh (Max’s older brother) are all on the edge of making this final, with Anderson and Montague at 27-high and McHugh at 28-low. Cal post-grad Chuck Katis, notably, dropped a 27.96 at the Mesa PSS, so you can’t count him out either.

1 Andrew Wilson 27.18 27.43
2 Michael Andrew 27.12 27.12
3 Kevin Cordes 26.76 27.70
4 Nic Fink 27.31 27.44
5 Ian Finnerty 27.54 27.60
6 Cody Miller 27.24 28.35
7 Connor Hoppe 27.28 27.28
8 Reece Whitley 27.71 27.71

Dark horse: It doesn’t seem likely, with the 100 fly right before it, but Caeleb Dressel could throw down a 26-something and nobody would be surprised. His 27.89 PR is from this year, and considering the 47-low/21-low freestyler goes 49-mids and 22-lows in season, he may well be able to lop off a second-plus in this event, one he’s newer to in LCM.

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2 years ago

Cody Miller has a season best of 28.35 not a world record time of 25.46

2 years ago

By the time he would be done his start and pullout, Dressel would do maybe 9 strokes for a 50 breast and go a 23.9

Swimmer A
2 years ago

Are Max McHugh and Conner McHugh related to Brendan McHugh, the 2014 National champ in the 50 breast?

Reply to  Swimmer A
2 years ago

I believe so, and I think there’s another McHugh brother who currently attends UPenn

Reply to  PNW
2 years ago

There are two different sets of McHugh brothers. Minnesota Gophers Conner and Max are originally from Wisconsin and are unrelated to Penn Quakers Brendan, Dillon and Colin, who are from New Jersey.

Neither set of brothers is related to Penn State distance swimmer Ally McHugh.

Reply to  Jared Anderson
2 years ago

Former Penn swimmer and Door County vacationer, and good friend of Dillon here. This analysis is the correct one.

Reply to  Swimmer A
2 years ago

Very simply – no

Swimmer A
Reply to  Kevin
2 years ago


About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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