Peter Andrew Explains M. Andrew’s Taper Process Leading into Olympic Trials

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman HodgesGarrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with newly named Olympic coach Peter Andrew, father of Michael Andrew who also just made his first Olympic team. Peter walks us through the process of tapering Michael for Trials and how they decided on his event lineup in Omaha. He also talks about what went well in training for them in the months leading up to Trials and what they expect heading into the Tokyo Olympic Games.

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Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 month ago

MA’s training finally deserves some respect. He is qualified for 3 events after trials , the other one who did that is Dressel himself, and Ledecky (4)

Last edited 1 month ago by Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
PVSFree
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 month ago

And MA could’ve easily qualified in that second 100 fly spot

Svird
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 month ago

Such a unique combo of events too.

And he definitely would have qualified for the 100 fly if it didn’t overlap with the 200im. But his best individual gold opportunity is the 200im, so best not to risk it. He’d maybe be in the mix for a bronze in the 100fly if he dropped from his PSS 50.8.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 month ago

The difference is, MA went pretty much all out all rounds of all events. Dressel certainly didn’t do that, and Ledecky deserves a completely different discussion.

Sqimgod
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Difference is dressel is afraid of 200s

Yabo
Reply to  Sqimgod
1 month ago

Yea the guy who regularly swims the 2fly long course in season is scared of 200s. Gimme a break bro, he just wants to focus on his bread and butter this cycle. Maybe we’ll see him add the 2free or 2IM later but I don’t blame if he doesn’t want to add that to his champ meet schedule

Anonymous
Reply to  Yabo
1 month ago

I disagree. Caleb is said to be training heavily under Troy yet he ditches the 200 free after prelims and expects to be on relay. He should have competed in the 200 free considering he trains a lot.

Unknown Swimmer
Reply to  Yabo
1 month ago

I don’t blame him either – but he shouldn’t expect to be a shoo-in for a 4×200 relay spot then either. Hasn’t proved himself there at all.

PBJSwimming
1 month ago

That was a refreshing interview. I was interested in learning about their approach to tapering and appreciated their transparency.

In many ways, it’s unfair to the Andrew family that the swimming community evaluates USPRT with a sample size of one swimmer.

Hmmmm
Reply to  PBJSwimming
1 month ago

Well to be fair, there aren’t really any other swimmers to judge it on. Some have had minor success, but no one else has gotten close to this level with this training style.

That being said, I think a lot of people don’t quite realize how many programs train similarly to USRPT. Salo has been doing race pace training for years, albeit in a very different format, and it’s worth mentioning that his swimmers often have problems finishing races, just like MA. Also, if you go look at the “Training Block” from UVA that Swimswam published, you’ll see a lot of 25s and 50s at race pace mixed in. MA just takes that philosophy to the extreme.

I actually think… Read more »

Toocool4you
Reply to  Hmmmm
1 month ago

If he was 5’9” and 150, would he still be this good???

CheddaShredda
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

you can flip this question the other way – if dressel and phelps were less genetically gifted (both physically and mentally) would they still be this good?

Toocool4you
Reply to  CheddaShredda
1 month ago

He’s been the bastian of USRPT and while it clearly works for him, doesn’t his physical presence contribute? The others mentioned train differently and are equally if not even better.

USRPT seems to work up to 150. I prefer strong closers myself. Look at brinegar’s final 50 in the 800. Could USRPT work for anyone who trains for more than a 150?

Hope he can bring it in Tokyo but I will maintain that his physical presence means more than his USRPT training.

Grant Drukker
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

I mean, at this point he’s not really more physically gifted than other swimmers. Grevers, Adrian, Murphy, Phelps, Seli, and Dressel all seem more physically gifted from a body-type.

MA is tall, but not a giant like Grevers. He also doesn’t have that much muscle on him. Just think of all those cover photos on SwimSwam of Seli, Murphy and Dressel, and compare that to MA.

I think you should prefer the person with the fastest time. Who cares if you close fast if you still lost?

The Screaming Viking!
Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 month ago

Agreed.

The purpose of all training is this:
1. Improve technique
2. Improve capacity and efficiency of aerobic and non-aerobic energy systems to hold higher intensities for longer duration
3. Build a better physical frame to work with.

Some are gifted with a frame that most others can never equal no matter how much work they do. One of the great things about swimming is that while height, length of levers and muscle mass are major factors in all sports, we also get to factor in buoyancy and the range of motion of a long list of joints. This gives some athletes, who might otherwise be excluded from world class competition by the typical physical… Read more »

Yabo
Reply to  The Screaming Viking!
1 month ago

And yet MAs technique is janky as hell, have u seen how wide is breaststroke kick is? That just simply can’t be faster from a drag POV

The Screaming Viking!
Reply to  Yabo
1 month ago

Actually I saw quite a few very wide kickers at trials. Also been playing with it in the water. Starting to believe the propulsion outweighs the drag of done correctly.

With that being said, I do believe that the last 50 of the IM might actually not just be a fatigue issue. I think it is also more of a technique issue than people think…

anonymous
Reply to  Yabo
1 month ago

It has been studied and he has the most efficient breaststroke.

old swim guy
Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 month ago

MA is just 22 years old. He actually won’t reach his peak until the next Olympics. And he is getting better at the 200IM each year. I do think it will be interesting to find out if he can back off in the first half and end up faster? Maybe he has just found the best way for him to swim the event and it isn’t generalizable?

Xman
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

How Peter explains it you modify it to fit the length of the event you’re training for. So I’m theory the practice would be a lot more 50s or maybe bump it to 75 or 100s.

Basically what distance swimmers do already for pace sets, but increase the quality and provide more rest in between. Probabaly eliminate swims above a certain distance as well if they can’t maintain.

Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

Don’t be silly. If distance swimmers did usrpt they’d be doing 32×100 at 800 pace. Which is exactly what plenty of swimmers do to train for distance

Coach who uses RPT
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

Eddie Reese constantly gave his milers 20x100s @ 1:15 mile pace… That is it… not everyone is as gifted, so you break it down…

Sharkspeed
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

Maybe that’s why distance swimming is so evolved and the shortest distances not?

FluidG
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

NotascoolasUthink USRPT is the opposite of one size fits all. It is specifically adaptable to any distance. Maybe you should learn more about it before forming an opinion. The great Aussie milers did essentially USRPT (fast 100 repeats on short rest) and 1/2 the volume of their American counterparts while lapping them at the Olympics. And MA has only been training for the 200IM for a short time and is already #1 in the world. Give him time for another training cycle or two and get back to us. Also, a reminder that MA broke the 200 NAGs in all 4 strokes plus the 200 and 400IMs. Some people just refuse to accept fact-based evidence.

Yabo
Reply to  FluidG
1 month ago

As like a 14 year old when you can swim pretty much whatever u want off of whatever training you want

Barry
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

USRPT seems to work up to 150. I prefer strong closers myself. Look at brinegar’s final 50 in the 800.

I feel like this is obvious, but it needs to be said anyway. Michael Andrew did in fact win the 200 IM (by a lot). Brinegar did not won the 800 free. What matters is the total time.

There’s this weird obsession with closing 50 splits in distance freestyle races, and it seems like it’s causing people to underswim the rest of the race. Jake Mitchell closed his 400 time trial slower than he closed his 400 free final. But he went like 2.5 seconds faster.

hmmm
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

Ummmm…. no? But what does that have to do with his training style? Yeah, he would have been good under pretty much any circumstance, but how often do you see anyone, even someone with his genetic talent, able to compete in such a wide range of events? He’s become the fastest American in the 200 IM besides Phelps and Lochte, and Phelps and Lochte could never touch a 21.4 in the 50 free.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some serious flaws in his swimming. He clearly looked over at Nic Fink in the 100 breast, and it should have cost him the race. In the 200 IM he breathes like 3 times inside the flags (to me, if he… Read more »

John
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

Would any of us be better if we were shorter and had less mass? What kind of ridiculous point is this. Held so much more than his height and mass.

CasualSwimmer
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

You don’t really need to be tall to be fast. It helps in some aspects but it’s clearly not everyting

I can think of many swimmers like Pernille Blume or Mélanie Henique, who both are around 1,70m (5’6 i guess) and are crazy fast, even faster than some of their taller counterparts like Freya Anderson (1,91m) or Marie Wattel (1,80m). For the guys you just have to look at Daiya Seto (1,74m so 5’7”) who’ s just crazy fast.

Short people shouldn’t feel like they can’t swim fast just because they lack some precious inches in height, that’s what makes swimming a great sport. You can find your own way, your technique, by using your other strenghts…

Anonymous
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
1 month ago

Janet Evans 5’4. Erica Brown 5’6

1he1ruth
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

This is a valid and important question. MA has physical and genetic gifts that lend to success in swimming no matter the training program. This program may work best given what his father knew about the sport when he started coaching. It also may make the most sense for MA since he is at an advantage when it comes to his stature and strength potential. Why grind 12k a day from ages 15-21 when there was a flashier approach (they are always looking to monetize and differentiate) that leverages his size and genetics, and suits their unique training environment (pool costs, no teammates, etc.). Given the family’s “outsider/do it differently” approach to many things, it makes sense that they looked… Read more »

sbr waver rider
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

He identifies as 5’9” and 150

WestCoastRefugee
Reply to  Toocool4you
1 month ago

Using that logic, Japan and Korea wouldn’t be able to field a men’s team at the OG. That Korean 18 year old that just popped a 48 low 100 FR and 1:44 200 can’t be more than 5’10”.

SkiSki
Reply to  WestCoastRefugee
1 month ago

That kid is 6’1. Your point still makes sense tho

hmmm
Reply to  Hmmmm
1 month ago

I don’t know if this is who you’re talking about, but that sounds like Josh Davis to me. He came back and exclusively did 50s at pace, and broke a few masters records.

This is the side of USRPT I don’t like. It’s effective, but without a control group we can’t say for sure if he would have had worse, similar, or better times under a different training program.

But the training worked for him nonetheless. I just know I would get bored doing 50s on a minute everyday, so I would need to mix in other stuff.

Swammer
Reply to  hmmm
1 month ago

It’s effective, but without a control group we can’t say for sure if he would have had worse, similar, or better times under a different training program.

I feel like this is true for most training schemes, though. There’s a fad for a while, then some coach has success by changing the method, and everyone slowly changes over, and the process repeats itself. And every swimmer is different. Take taper, for instance. Do we really have solid scientific evidence about what the exact best taper is for any given swimmer?

96Swim
Reply to  hmmm
1 month ago

It would be really interesting to see what would happen if MA and Dressel switched coaches for a year.

Afrikanman
Reply to  96Swim
1 month ago

Simple MA would be MUCH faster

Unknown Swimmer
Reply to  Afrikanman
1 month ago

If he doesn’t improve that free technique he’d be out with shoulder injuries within a month…

eagleswim
Reply to  hmmm
1 month ago

If it’s gold in the water, you may be remembering Dara Torres. From a similarly hazy memory, she had to stop training with the stanford team due to butting heads with jenny thompson so she more or less trained on her own at SCSC doing her own thing mostly race pace stuff, which in the book was contrasted to Dick Jochums’ style of training.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Hmmmm
1 month ago

Ever read one of Sam Freas’s books?

Meow
Reply to  Hmmmm
1 month ago

Speaking of Gold in the Water, I was wondering recently if there are any other similar books? I’d love some swimming reading for an Olympic summer.

Greg
Reply to  Meow
1 month ago

Consider Chuck Warner’s Four Champions, One Gold Medal. Based on the build up to the 1976 Olympics and the pursuit of the 1500 mtr gold medal. Definitely not USRPT but a great read.

Budd Termin at Univ at Buffalo was a strong proponent of USRPT. His teams would be really fast in season and drop a little at the shave. Milers would go out fast and then get reeled in at the end.

The bottom line is there are many ways to train and the athlete and coach need to believe in what they are doing or the result is doomed. If there was only one way then there would be only one program in the country / world.

Happy… Read more »

Coach who uses RPT
Reply to  Hmmmm
1 month ago

There is a reason why MA has so much success- he is the only person his coach has to watch. After implementing this type of training for the last 5 years I have found the following:

USRPT works, but it works BEST if you can record ALL swims. This allows you to track training AND performances. I was able to do this when I had a high school team of 20 athletes. We recorded all times to the hundredth. We tapered the exact same way as Peter talked about. The next year my team more than doubled- it became tough to initiate this type of training for almost 50 swimmers. Easy for me to give the workout, but tough on… Read more »

Coach who uses RPT
Reply to  Hmmmm
1 month ago

Its James Fike I believe… he is pulling best times at age 40

FluidG
Reply to  PBJSwimming
1 month ago

I think it’s accurate to say that the sample size isn’t the problem. It’s that most people don’t know anything about USRPT but voice strong negative opinions about it based on their misconceptions, namely, that it is easy—a few fast 25s and 50s and a perpetual taper. The truth is USRPT is extremely demanding.

Yabo
Reply to  FluidG
1 month ago

I don’t disagree that it’s demanding, but for me to feel confident at the end of a season in swimming a 200br or 4IM or smthing longer I prefer to have done 300br’s and multiple 4IM’s in practice during the season

BillyBob
Reply to  Yabo
1 month ago

That might be because you don’t understand usrpt. To train for a 400 IM you’d be doing sets of 40×50 at your IM pace with 10 seconds rest in between reps. That’s going to prepare you better than a couple slow 400 IMs in practice.

Yabo
Reply to  BillyBob
1 month ago

Who said the 4IMs were slow? I’m just saying actually going though the race or a longer distance of a similar race multiples in practice makes me feel confident about swimming that race at the end of the season. I didn’t say that’s necessarily more advantageous than USRPT, just how I personally feel.

Unknown Swimmer
Reply to  Yabo
1 month ago

Just curious – Yabo – have you actually committed to a USRPT training type for a season or more to really compare? Or are you basing this based on how confident you feel with our current training?

Drew Dweetzer
1 month ago

Fantastic interview. The US Olympics Coaches are very fortunate to have Peter Andrew on the staff. He brings a lot of fresh ideas to the mix. Plus, he comes across as a genuinely nice guy. Indeed, watch closely and you’ll notice that his eyes seem to sparkle with enthusiasm. Good luck in Tokyo!

Svird
1 month ago

Hopefully MAs trials results will finally end the “MA doesn’t drop time during taper because of USRPT” takes that I have continually seen.

But people were still saying this in spite of it being demonstrably false already from recent years of MA dropping time at championship meets, so idk.

Yepsir
1 month ago

“Length is speed”
Guess flexibility is important.

Olympian
1 month ago

About time for someone thinking out of the box to have such success.
Appreciate the Andrew family, America!! So much to learn from they.

Xman
1 month ago

I loved the part about the backstroke. Why did you do it? To get some racing in, it seemed like a good idea until the final.

More reason for Murphy to swim fly 🙂

I kind of hope Peter Andrew gets recruited into becoming an assistant coach at a college or club of one of the power 5 schools.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Xman
1 month ago

Smart to do the backstroke because the addition to the schedule will mimic the relays in Tokyo.

Anonymous
Reply to  Xman
1 month ago

Michael had mentioned in an interview that his backstroke was a little off so maybe racing it helped.

DLSwim
Reply to  Xman
1 month ago

I think he made a mistake swimming the 100 back and should have swum the 100 fly instead.

Admin
Reply to  DLSwim
1 month ago

This was another popular subject of conversation in Omaha last week.

I would have loved to have seen him swim a 100 fly – based on his 200 IM opening 50, he had a BIG swim in him, I think, and I think he could’ve made the team in all 3.

But the question is – would he have medaled in all 3 on that schedule in Tokyo? I think probably not. I think he has medal potential in all 3, in a vaccuum. But that’s a tough schedule. So maybe he was just working ahead in his thinking.

Xman
Reply to  DLSwim
1 month ago

With this interview it’s clear he swam it to get more backstroke race swims in and not to make the team in it.

We don’t know if this actually helped the IM or not but it all worked out and maybe gave Michael the confidence he needed.

Peter said this could have backfired on the 100 breast final.

The addition of relays are going to be tough.
4 events (Fly) plus at minimum 2 relays is hard.

The finals being in the morning are going to be good for him. He seems to recover from a good night’s rest.

Spectatorn
Reply to  Xman
1 month ago

I thought Ryan swim fly because he really wanted to race Caelab but he won’t back, so Ryan has to flip over to swim fly…hahaha, just kidding

Last edited 1 month ago by Spectatorn
Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Always is. U.S. coaches could learn a few things from him.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

I think it’s just a fundamental generosity. They are as eager to share what they learn as to learn. Might be part of their faith commitment. Whatever, it’s a far cry from trying to figure out how Dressel trains, for example.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Maybe it’s the innate scientist in him? Truthfully, science should be shared

Guerra
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Totally agree and well said! I’d really like to see someone be able to implement this philosophy with a training group of 10-15 athletes.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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