WATCH: Michael Andrew Analyzes His Own 1:56.8 IM & That Freestyle Split

Some interesting insight from Michael Andrew‘s latest vlog, as the U.S. National Teamer breaks down his nation-leading 200 IM from earlier this month.

The 20-year-old Andrew is vlogging daily through the current coronavirus/COVID-19 quarantine. This time around, he plays the race video of his 1:56.83 200 IM from the Des Moines Pro Swim Series, giving commentary over the top about his race strategy and how he can improve.

Andrew has done some cool research, compiling a bunch of the top 200 IM swims in the past three years and breaking them out by split to see where each of his strokes line up.

A few notes we pulled out:

  • Butterfly:
    • Andrew clearly feels good about his butterfly. He talks about not pushing the first 50 as a major part of his race plan, but also notes he had the fastest fly split in the world for the season at 24.07. (That’s even faster than Ryan Lochte‘s split of 24.89 in his world record swim).
  • Backstroke:
    • Andrew points out his ‘crossover pullout’ on backstroke, which appears to be the top-arm breakout that’s started to become popular.
    • Tempo is a major focus on backstroke, as Andrew says he can’t swim the leg like a 200 back without losing a huge amount of speed.
  • Breaststroke:
    • Andrew thought his breaststroke pullout looked “a little messy.” Andrew says he was short on air and rushed his pullout some, and now sees that as a place to improve.
    • He also notes the fatigue in his lats and arms in the final 15-meters of breaststroke, which is causing him to dive down with his hands in the recovery phase. He says that’s a key focus, and sees his 33.4 breaststroke split as a place for major improvement, setting 32 as a goal.
  • Freestyle:
    • Fear not, commenters – Andrew is well aware of his freestyle shortcomings in the IM. “This freestyle looks rough,” he laughs. “My freestyle is by far the weakest link in my entire 200 IM.”
    • He notes that the 200 IM is a relatively new race for him, and he’s still learning how to balance fatigue in that race, specifically.
    • Of the swims Andrew has compiled, he’s at the top with his fly split and middle of the pack in back and breast, but his freestyle is well behind the rest of the field.
    • In looking at some underwater footage, Andrew notices that his arms are dropping very deep underwater on freestyle. He compares to Andrew Seliskar one lane over, and says he plans to try to develop more of what Seliskar is doing, “lifting the hand almost, before he sets his catch,” allowing him to get a high elbow and efficient catch.

You can watch the vlog below. Andrew starts analyzing his IM race at the 4:12 mark:

A few other interesting notes from the vlog:

  • Andrew expresses full support of postponing the 2020 Olympics to next year, which mirrors the sentiment of most athletes we’ve heard from.
  • Under quarantine rules, most athletes have struggled to find places to train. Public pools have mostly closed. Andrew could previously train some in the ocean, but that, too, has been closed now.
  • Focusing on the positive, Andrew feels he’ll be stronger and more developed as an athlete by 2021, and sees that as an advantage of the Olympic delay.

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1 year ago

If MA works hard this year and does what he says he is going to do, he will break 1:56 next year.

Reply to  run-dmc
1 year ago

I think he will break into the 1:54s if he makes the improvements he says he will. And I think he knows it too.

B1G Daddy
Reply to  run-dmc
1 year ago

I think he could go 1:54. I don’t know any other way to say it, but that was not a GREAT race from him and he still went 1:56.8. He can be much better, and perhaps just by finding a way to come home in :28.5

Reply to  B1G Daddy
1 year ago

i’ll actually go as far to say that this race was embarrassing. and to go 1:56.8 as an embarrassment is wild. i do think he’ll go 1:54 in no time. i mean, seriously, 30 on the last 50………….?
this was meant as a compliment, by the way, lol

Justin Thompson's
Reply to  run-dmc
1 year ago

I like how he’s going about this and realizing what he needs to do to continue to improve. Acknowledging the freestyle and a major modification in his stroke is necessary.

Reply to  Justin Thompson's
1 year ago

I agree with working on his free technique. It’s a 25 yard sprint technique that he can hold for 50m. After that the lack of shoulder role gets him. He can improve it though!

1 year ago

Just getting a sense from the hive mind.
Like if he makes it to the Olympics in 2021. Dislike if he doesn’t.

Mark Nedza
Reply to  Mustangswimdad
1 year ago

Your question is interesting, however, I don’t think it’s really appropriate or particularly nice.

Reply to  Mark Nedza
1 year ago

Why isn’t it appropriate? Are we not allowed to talk about the Olympics now? MUSTANGSWIMDAD didn’t make any derogatory comments about MA. He’s speculating about his Olympic prospects which people (including the authors) do on this website for other athletes all the time. That’s sort of the point of SwimSwam.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Mark Nedza
1 year ago

There’s no crying on SwimSwam.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Bitching and ridiculing is OK, but definitely not crying.

Reply to  Mark Nedza
1 year ago

If this is not an appropriate question for SWIMSWAM, then I don’t know what is. It’s also quite “nice” given the responses — I think MA would like to see that “make the 2021 team” is running at a 40:1 ratio!

Reply to  Mark Nedza
1 year ago

definitely. i actually think he’ll possibly break the world record sometime. as i said above, it’s gnarly, and i mean GNARLY to bring it home that slow…so, if he just literally figures out how to not do that, he’ll be a great. he’s not a great yet, but he could be

Reply to  Mustangswimdad
1 year ago


Reply to  RenéDescartes
1 year ago


Reply to  Mustangswimdad
1 year ago

I would have said there was a chance he could have missed it in 2020, but that chance is much smaller for 2021. Gotta remember that he’s still young for a male pro so the extra year should help

Reply to  Mustangswimdad
1 year ago

I’ll put it this way, I will not make our same bet for MA for 2021 :).

Reply to  Blackflag82
1 year ago

That 200 IM more than the 100 Breast was an eye opener for me. Awaiting Gold Medal Mel’s predictions these are mine in descending order of probability of him making the team.
50 Free: 21.2
200 IM: 1:55.4
100 Br: 58.6
100 Fly: 50.6

1 year ago

A lot of people on here like to tease Andrew for his training style on this site, but the way he learns from past swims makes me know he’s going to be special.

Reply to  anon
1 year ago

I know a couple of guys that have this exact same issue. Thanks MA!!!!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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