Thanks to Florida Swim Network for the video of Andrew breaking the record.
This weekend in Clearwater, Florida at the aptly-named NASA Showcase Classic, Michael Andrew is wrapping up his run as an 11-12 year old that has resulted in over a dozen National Age Group Record-breaking swims. Before he said goodbye (and presumably takes a hiatus from his dominating performances, at least while he catches up to the 13-14’s) he’s taken the opportunity for at least one more mark.
Andrew twice broke his 11-12 mark in the 100 IM, first with a 54.14 in prelims and then a 53.86 in the finals. His old record stood at 54.66.
There’s still one more day of competition, where he could take a run at his 100 breaststroke record and become the first 11-12 to break the minute barrier. But if this race is the end, it becomes a fitting end. He’s shown versatility in breaking records in every discipline; he’s broken them in every distance from 50 to 200, but is still slightly better at the sprints; and most importantly he’s set some Morton-esque marks that could stand for decades into the future.
Take this 100 IM. The second-fastest swim in history belongs to Tanner Kurz. That mark, which stood for a relatively long time (nearly 6 years), is a 55.56. That’s 1.8 seconds slower than where Andrew left the mark. Further down the list are names like Gray Umbach, now the #1 senior recruit in the nation, who is heralded as one of the best age group swimmers ever, in 3rd. Sean O’Connell is 7th; he’s a 13-year old who people are only now beginning to hear about but is on pace to become an incredible high school swimmer in the next few years. Maverick Smalley, the legend of the age-groups, is 10th.
These guys were amazing swimmers for their age, and none of them would have been able to even stay at Andrews’ feet in this swim.
The big question now, as it has been for the last year or so, is what is going to happen as Andrew starts to race in age groups where his peers are much closer to his size. I don’t know the answer to that, but I think there’s a lot of people who are going to be intrigued to find out.
Full Meet Results available here.