Two days after breaking down his 200 IM best time from the Des Moines Pro Series in one of his daily vlog posts during the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael Andrew took a look at his 100 breaststroke from the same meet on Saturday.
Andrew, 20, swam to a lifetime best time of 59.14 in the 100 breast final in Des Moines, 0.24 seconds under his previous PB of 59.38 set at the 2018 US Nationals.
Prior to watching and analyzing his performance, the five-time Short Course World Champion shared a few things he’s been working on recently in breaststroke.
- Andrew doesn’t want his feet breaking the surface “nearly as much as they used to.” It’s commonly happened in the past during his breakout strokes or during the back half of a race when he fatigues — the heels recover above the surface, creating extra drag.
- On pullouts, a coach at the World Championships showed him that his hands are stuck to his side, resulting in him pulling his arms out of line on the recovery which creates extra frontal drag. He cites trying to implement what 50 and 100 breast world record holder Adam Peaty does, recovering the hands overlapping underneath to keep things more streamlined.
- Perfecting his timing and efficiency in the stroke, in all aspects.
A few notes Andrew makes during the race:
- He was focusing a lot on the length of his strokes during the race: “I’m trying to get as much length as possible. He wanted to maintain the length, but add power, compared to his prelim swim. “I am going super-long, really power-driven stroke,” he said during the first 50. “The goal is shooting my arms into line as fast as possible, and then maintaining that rhythm and glide by following it with a very powerful kick.”
- He turns in 27.48, which he says is the fastest he’s ever gone out in the 100 breaststroke (he’s actually been faster, 27.47, at the Columbus PSS in July of 2018 where he finished in 59.79).
- Coming off of the 50m turn, he says his hands are diving deep: “On my recovery, my hands are going down, instead of out,” he said. Similar to what he explained when analyzing his freestyle in the 200 IM, he plans on working to make sure he can maintain a clean stroke, not letting his hands drop, when he’s coming home (or under stress).
- He really didn’t like his finish. Everything was on pace for a 58-high before he rushed the final five meters and jammed the wall. He says part of the reason why this happened is that he thought about his competition for a split second, and then rushed to the finish which threw off the rhythm of his stroke.
- His 31.66 split on the second 50 is his fastest ever, edging the 31.67 he came back in at the Bloomington PSS in 2019 (where he went 59.52).
- He gives us a look at the fastest swims of his career and how many strokes he took on each 50. He generally comes back in 19 strokes, which he also does in this race, but his goal is to come home in 18. He wants to lengthen out the pullout, maintain his distance-per-stroke throughout the 50, and avoid shortening up over the final few meters.
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Andrew’s swim in Des Moines ranks him sixth in the world for the 2019-20 season and the fastest among Americans.