RACE VIDEO: Michael Andrew 100 Back NAG Record in Slow Motion, 48.1

Swimming Video is courtesy of Team Andrew / Indie Swimming.

Reported by Braden Keith:

Michael Andrew has re-broken his own National Age Group Record in the 100 yard backstroke on Sunday evening, swimming a 48.10 in the A-final at the College Station sectional meet.

That improves upon his 48.37 done in prelims, and placed him 3rd in the race. The record coming into the day was also his, and the second-fastest 13-14 in history is Thomas Anderson from KING in 48.73. The five fastest swimmers on the all-time age group list have done their best swims in the last year, showing how men’s backstrokes have progressed. Andrew is now a full second faster than Gray Umbach’s old record of 49.20 set in 2009.

The comparisons between Andrew’s three best swims in this race are below:

Jrs ’13 – 23.58/25.10 = 48.68
Prelims – 23.68/24.69 = 48.37
Finals – 23.30/24.80 = 48.10

He attacked his finals swim as hard as he’s ever attacked this race, and though he didn’t finish as well as he did in prelims, the overall time (aka, what counts) was almost three-tenths of a second faster.

The win in the 100 back went to Brock Bonetti, who will race in this pool in the fall as a Texas A&M Aggie, with North Texas Nadadore Brett Ringgold placing 2nd in 47.76.

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Where’s the video?


never mind. It must have not loaded yet.


The first thing I noticed were his under-waters, or lack thereof. I’m pretty well educated on USRPT (I’d like to think) but I can’t imagine short under-waters are a specific strategy for a 100 back in SC. Is it just another thing he’s working on implementing?


My guess is that the difference between his speeds underwater and above water is small enough that it doesn’t take as long off the walls to fall back down to swimming speed, so he comes up earlier. I think there’s a misconception among some (certainly not all) in the swimming world that dolphin kicks are faster than swimming. The reality is that the streamline and dolphin kicks just help to sustain the speed obtained from pushing off the wall, which is faster than swimming. If his dolphin kicks are preventing less deceleration than they should, then it makes sense that he’d come up sooner. I’m sure this is something they’re working on, but in the meantime, they seem to be… Read more »


If you are sustaining a speed off the wall with kicking and that initial speed is faster then swimming, isn’t then the kicking faster?


Yes, but a weaker kick would mean that that high initial speed would degrade to swim speed quicker, and so the underwater should be shorter. Likewise, a weaker push off would mean that there is less of a difference between underwater and swim speed, and so even if you delay the degradation in speed via good kicks, the underwater should still be shorter than if the push off was great. That’s the point I was trying to make. If you have one without the other, the ideal underwater for your abilities gets shorter. If you have both an explosive push off and fast dolphin kicks, then you’re going to spend more of your race at a greater-than-swim speed, and so… Read more »


There is enough evidence that, for those who are good at it, underwater is faster, and, I believe, gives you the advantage of breaking a race into different systems, thus allowing you to perform better in that last bit of your race when results are most affected by performance(kind of like super setting in the gym, you can push off specific fatigue longer through switching back and forth between exercises). The key part of the above sentence is: “for those who are good at it.” If you are faster on top of the water, come up early. Just ask The big sprinters(Ervin, Adrian, Cielo, Bousquet) who grew up before the huge push towards underwater proficiency. I think we will eventually… Read more »


I’d like to see more data on this. My thought, though, is that if you take any two swimmers of roughly the same ability and have them start from the middle of the pool, one doing underwater SDK and the other doing fly/back, the higher top speed would be reached by the one swimming. My contention is that dolphin kicks are only faster when pushing off of something. I disagree about 15m’s in the 50, unless we’re taking about long course simply because of the start. Look at Caeleb Dressel’s 18.94: 13 or 14 meters off the start, down to 8ish meters off the wall. He’s part of the generation that was raised under the fifth-stroke gospel, and it shows,… Read more »


Do you understand that Dressel just about doubles the underwater length of those world class guys I mentioned? But besides that being purely anecdotal, I think you should keep an open mind, because the hard data backs underwater dolphin kick, and the fact is, we do have walls to push off of. We aren’t doing mid-pool starts anytime soon man, get outta here with that, it makes no sense. Especially because the best way to start from mid-pool is to lunge(breastroke kick) or to hip-over. (<— that is up for debate in the water polo world.) So you'd have to follow your silly argument that breastroke kicking and hipping-over are the fastest way to swim? U wot m8?


Easy there, killer. If what I said earlier came across as an attack, I apologize. I brought up Dressel because I was partially agreeing with you on underwaters becoming more relevant between generations. Make sure you understand what I’m saying before you automatically go on the defensive. You stated that dolphin kicks are faster, I proposed a scenario where one could find out, and yes, it involves a mid pool start. It was clearly a proposal for an experiment, and it would be dishonest to try to construe what I said as being an idea for a race. The whole point of starting in the middle of the pool is that there is no start because, as I said, we’re… Read more »

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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