Michael Andrew Reborn Professionally: GMM presented by SwimOutlet.com

Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.com

It has been a long road for Michael Andrew, the youngest swimmer to turn pro at the tender age of 14.  Peter Andrew, his coach and father, said:

“I think this (2018 U.S. Nationals) is the beginning of his career…because there is no more age group (swimming)… He’s got to step up.”

Michael did step up at the 2018 U.S. National Championships winning four national titles.  At only 19 years old,  it was a timely breakthrough performance netting him a position on Team USA through the 2019 FINA World Championships.

Michael’s often maligned training method, USRPT (ultra short race pace training), has taken hold in parts of the global swimming community, and it is gaining ground, but many critics stand firm that it does not work, or rather, it only works for the 50 sprints.  I have opinions about USRPT coming from the 1980s era of grinding distance, but it’s hard to argue against Michael’s closing speed to win the 100m breast at U.S. Nationals.

1ST QUESTION:  What do you think about USRPT now, after witnessing Michael’s incremental success over the last 5 years?

2nd QUESTION: Has Michael’s decision to go pro so young turned out as you expected?

3rd QUESTION – PREDICTIONS FOR PAN PACS: Based on the Pan Pac psych sheet, Michael’s swimming 100m breast, back, butterfly, and the 50m freestyle.

100m back and fly – PBs mark a success under the pressure of being on his first USA National A-Team.

100m breast – Getting on the podium is a success against the Japanese block of breaststroke talent.

50m free – Michael nets silver, 21.3.  Caeleb Dressel wins in 21.2. HOWEVER, I’m shaky on this, nervous about my prediction.  Here’s my conflict:  I was on deck at NCAAs to witness Dressel’s 17.6 50y free, and I’ve watched Michael’s back half speed in the 50m free race video at Nationals in Irvine over and over again. Michael is swimming great right now. Dressel’s taper appears to be in question after nationals. I think the extra time/rest will benefit Dressel more in Tokyo.

But who cares what I think… What do you think?

Follow Michael Andrew on Instagram here.  

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This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.

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Togger

USRPT clearly works for the sprints, unclear how useful it can be for mid-distance yet.

Be interesting to get Michael and his dad’s view on how far USRPT has affected his freestyle stroke (which breathing seems to screw up, presumably less of an issue if he’d been grinding heavy yards with mid/distance technique over winter).

Think he gets silver in the 50 free and 100 breast. Unless Troy’s had him on 14 km a day this week.

fluidg

I know from personal experience that RPT works for 200s and I suspect it works for any distance. It’s a matter of breaking the distance into smaller, proportional pieces. For 200s, I do sets of 4×50 on short rest, with recovery between rounds. The goal time for each 50 is my 200 split, which in training requires an all-out effort, especially on #4. People think USRPT is easy. If done right, it is the most unpleasant, painful and mentally demanding way to train. I’m not saying longer distance sets aren’t painful and demanding, but it’s a different kind of effort. One of the most important aspects of USRPT is repetition. You do the same exact thing over and over. The… Read more »

Vic

Coach Troy just presses the stop watch and records times. He doesn’t give MA swim sets. At least not yet.

AA aa

MA uses USRPT for sprint training. It is possible to use USRPT for distance training but that’s not what he does.

20×100 at your per-100 pace for your 800 would prepare you well for a distance event but not for sprinting. Likewise 20×25 on :25 at per-25 pace of your 100 would prepare you well for a 100 but not for an 800.

Someone who wanted to only use USRPT but swim a range of distances could probably do so if they wanted.

But MA trains for sprints. Why do people expect him to do otherwise? And why is his personal focus on sprinting an indictment on USRPT as a whole for distance or middle distance?

fluidg

Kieran Perkins dominated the 1500m doing RPT, and half the training distance of his American counterparts. His bread and butter set was a broken 1500—15×100 on 1:05 holding under 1:00. His workouts were rarely over 10k.

Blackflag82

Half the training? Perkins averaged 8k a practice and generally swam 80k+ per week. He also did almost half of his workouts at a relatively slow pace and was doing things like stationary biking 5 days a week. Yeah, he used rpt, but arguably there was more in common with “traditional training” than there was with anything resembling usrpt.

https://coachsci.sdsu.edu/swim/bullets/trainh35.htm

Blackflag82

I’m curious if you have any examples of mid distance or distance swimmers at an elite level who use usrpt? 30×100 at 1500 pace is a great set as shown by Perkins decades ago…but it was part of 80k+ weeks. Race pace sets and usrpt are very different things, and I have my doubts that usrpt can work for anything over 100 and maybe a 200 IM.

Top Dog

Top Dog

MICHAEL

I came from a program that was heavily focused on quality over quantity, but we still had somewhat of a base that we would pull from. 50s at race pace, 1:00min to represent 200s and 2:00 min to represent 100s were weekly sets building up to 28 or so total 50s throughout a training cycle. But we still mixed in a lot of kick sets and heavy fin work. Still rarely went over 6k a practice. Certainly a far cry from USRPT but nowhere near these 10k and 12k practices I would hear friends of mine talk about from other teams. We certainly had some national and Olympic trials qualifiers in a variety of distances in this training program. I… Read more »

Gorb

Disagree. We don’t know if usrpt works for sprints because we are dealing with a sample size of one. What we do know is that it works for Michael, and we don’t if another type of more traditional training would work better for him.
My opinion is that Michael would be successful with many different styles of training because he works hard and is an exceptional talent.

Lpman

Great swimmer, no doubt. To me, he has not lived up to the hype. At this point in his career, I thought he would not quite be Phelpsian, but the next closest thing. He has a good half second drop in all of his 50 strokes to compete with the best. He is able to perform at his peak for multiple meets, but I think his endurance suffers from his training. I think he also benefitted because not everyone was at their best for Pan Pacs. Regardless, tremendous swimmer, and I wish him the best.

Steve Nolan

Like, what hype is he not living up to? Obviously he had a biiit more press than most swimmers from his tween years until now, but I feel like it’s hard to have expected MORE out of him, to this point. At least reasonable people shouldn’t have expected more. He won 4 LCM national titles as a teenager across a range of strokes. That’s pretty good!

MICHAEL

Agreed and I still feel like it’s hard to compare what Phelps did at age 18-19 and what MA had done at 19, mainly because I do feel like the competition is tighter. For example, in 2003, Niel Walker won the men’s 50 Free in 22.37 at age 26. The fastest 18 year old was 23.55 and the world record was 21.64. The 100 Free A final was won in 49.43 by Scott Tucker and the 8th place finisher was 50.99 (and only 1 person in the B final beat that 8th place time). Blake peroni won the men’s 100 Free in 48.08 and 8th place was 48.65. And a number of people considered this somewhat lackluster given that nobody… Read more »

Rafael

And we have to measure how is he against the competition.. No need to have a Phelps like results, but pick what Milak is doing..

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo

You can’t just base Phelpsian performances off times now, but also by margins they beat the competitors by. Phelps beat everyone else in the 200 fly by 3 seconds at 2007 worlds, 2.7 seconds in the 200 free, won the 400 im by 3 seconds, etc. Swimmers will get faster as time progresses.

Franklin Guill

I think Michael Andrew is a talented athlete and his training has done well for him. However, other than the 100 Breast which is most likely his best stroke, he really cannot swim 100 Meters well. At nationals he began to fall off in all other stokes. He did not make the top 2 in the 100 fly or 100 back. He fell short in the 100 free. USRPT is good for 50s but not for 100s which to me separate the top swimmers from the others. Plus I do not see him getting a world record anytime soon but I could be wrong.

Swimnerd

The problem with his 100 free is A) his breathing and B) his stroke is short vs what the 100 LC requires. His 100 fly was still top 3 and I truly believe his 100 back will be the surprise of his Pan Pac meet. Let’s not forget in yards the kid goes 18 high and in the low 3:40s in the 4IM. It takes time to swim LC well, heck Dean Farris and Tate Jackson just put together good 100 frees this summer. He’s doing fine and I’m excited to see him continue to develop. Just because somethings different from the traditional norm doesn’t mean we should condemn it. His 50s are world class and the 100s should be… Read more »

He didn’t swim the 100 back at Nationals.

franklin

oops I meant the 50 back

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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