Michael Andrew Gets His Unicorn, Breaks National Age Group in 50 Yard Free

In the movie Gone in 60 Seconds, starring the ubiquitous Nicolas Cage, there’s a scene where his character talks about Eleanor, the car that he keeps trying to steal but can’t, and for him that’s a 1967 Mustang code named ‘Eleanor’. And at the end of the day, with the whole plot on the line, he gets it, he gets his unicorn, his Eleanor.

Well, with just a few weeks until he ages up, Michael Andrew has gotten his Eleanor. He swam a 19.85 in the 50 yard free on Saturday night at the Jenks Sectional in Oklahoma, breaking the National Age Group Record that seems to, ironically, have been the hardest for him to get at the 13-14 level (among his wheelhouse events, at least).

That broke the 20.02 that Arizonan Ryan Hoffer swam in 2013 and makes Andrew the youngest swimmer ever under 20 seconds in the event. Hoffer now holds the National Age Group Record for 15-16’s already at a 19.54, but Andrew’s not far off of that time either.

Andrew now has 8 out of 14 yards-course National Age Group Record offered for 13-14’s. This break means officially that the list of ones he holds is longer than the ones he doesn’t:

Michael Andrew Records:

  • 50 free – 19.85
  • 100 free – 44.16
  • 100 back – 48.10
  • 100 breast – 54.04 (pending ratification)
  • 100 fly – 47.47
  • 200 fly – 1:46.29
  • 200 IM – 1:47.44
  • 400 IM – 3:52.08

Non Michael Andrew Records:

  • 200 free – Maxime Rooney – 1:38.42
  • 500 free – Alex Katz – 4:26.73
  • 1000 free – Matthew Hirschberger – 9:02.37
  • 1650 free – Arthur Frayler – 15:14.17
  • 200 back – Benjamin Ho – 1:45.73
  • 200 breast – Reece Whitley – 2:00.14

Now that the 50 is gone, perhaps we’ll see him change his focus for these last two weeks and take a shot at some of the records that he’s not traditionally associated with, like the 1000 or 1650 free. Either way, this has been another absurd year of swimming for Michael Andrew, and a level of age group dominance that we haven’t seen in a decade.

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7 years ago

Incredible. I was guessing 19.91, but he was even faster. Can’t wait for the race video.

Reply to  sven
7 years ago

And I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him take down that 200 free NAG in the coming weeks, either.

I think the 200 breast is doable, but I don’t think Reece Whitley would allow that to stand for long. 200 back? I’m not sure, but I don’t see why he shouldn’t be able to.

So I’d like to see what kind of damage he can do in the 500.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: big and strong makes you good at the 50 and 100 free. Big and strong doesn’t give you 8 out of 14 records or we’d see dozens of 14 year olds with this speed and range.

David Guthrie
7 years ago

You’re right on. This was the big one they probably coveted most. Definitely some major celebrating going on in the Andrew family tonight! There are no plans to go after anything longer than the 500, but I think everything else is still in play. I have to believe that with a 54.0 under his belt he should break 2:00 fairly easily if he takes another shot at it. The 200 back is definitely a reachable target. I think he’ll break 48 in the 100 tonight.

Reply to  David Guthrie
7 years ago

Definitely some major celebrating is in order! His dad might even let him have a Coca Cola with dinner!

7 years ago

He obviously wanted this record he time trialed it yesterday and today. At this point it would not surprise me if he gets the 200 back tomorrow. I would like to see him time trial a 200 free tomorrow.

7 years ago

Yes he is a very very talented swimmer. But without technique ( as Bob Bowman emphasized in a video you posted ), I am afraid as he progresses through the age groups the records are going to get unattainable.

Reply to  SwimmingOwl
7 years ago

It is ironic that Bob Bowman is talking about someone needing technique to be great.

Reply to  Sean
7 years ago

And why is that

Reply to  SwimmingOwl
7 years ago

I’m glad you agree with the Andrews. They feel the same way, and so they work on it constantly. They just have different ideas of what the “best” way to do things is. I’d be more concerned if we DIDN’T see room for improvement out of a 14 year old.

Reply to  SwimmingOwl
7 years ago

At fourteen:
Cesar Cielo was a backstroke specialist aiming to be a freestyler.
Magnussen and Chieriguini weren t swimming(Both began at sixteen, if i am not wrong).

I think this kid has a lot of time to improve.

7 years ago


Kevin T.
7 years ago

I was hoping for a 19.97 by the day before he ages up. Well, once again, he surpassed any expectations any of us could have had for him.

We are now entering “impossible territory here.” Think about it, if 3 years ago someone would have told you that someday a 14 y.o. would go under 20 seconds in the 50 free, you would have said no way! Same thing can be said about a 44.1 100 free, 47.4 100 fly, 54.0 100 breast. Same thing could be said of his 200 fly! Who would have thought???

My point is this guy is doing times that just a couple years ago were not even imaginable by a 14 year old.

I… Read more »

Reply to  Kevin T.
7 years ago

Wonder if when he ages up they’ll have a crack at Phelps’ 1.54.58 in the 200 LC fly? Taking that down would be a statement as it was WR at the time if I remember rightly and must be one of the greatest ever male age group records (other that comes to mind is Thorpe’s 400 free).

Also, do you know why he swims so much SCY? Because he isn’t eligible for the only really big meet that which is swum in SCY.

Reply to  Tom
7 years ago

Because that’s what’s generally offered in this season. There have been LCM meets this winter (grand prix, etc.) and he’s attended them (and broken a few of those NAGs).

Reply to  sven
7 years ago

Probably the hardest age records..

Phelps 15 years 1.54.58 200 fly
Gyurta 15 years 2:10:80 200 breast
Thorpe 15 years 3:44:35 200 free and 1:46:70 200 free.. but his 3:40:59 at 17 might be even harder..
And SUn Yang 16 years old 14:48:38 1500 free

Reply to  sven
7 years ago

I’m not American so don’t know how hard it is with visas and the like, but surely the appeal of being a pro is partly that he can go round the world competing and follow a pro-style annual schedule where you taper for the summer rather than the time around high school state meets?

If I were him I’d take advantage of the sponsorship and get myself to events in Europe, Aus and South America, there are loads of high quality LCM meets he could do over the next few months, get to see some of the world and peak for Pan Pacs trials.

Kevin T.
7 years ago

One more thing. I don’t see him doing anything over the 200’s for free. None of this 500’s and 1000’s stuff. Why do it? He has more than enough events to train for.

7 years ago

Well, I will admit he blows expectations out of the water on a nearly weekly basis. My assumption is that the kid must have some strong mental base, because in my mind it’s Olympic gold or bust. And I assume that’s the same trajectory his family has worked out for him.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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