“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?
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.