If Michael Andrew swims in the US Olympic Trials next month, it will be almost eight years before he signs his first endorsement contract at the age of 14, cementing an already roadless path in the sport. </ Andrew has ridden choppy waters at times in the last two Olympic cycles, but he's exactly where he wants to be at this point.
Andrew had the most impressive bath of his career in Indianapolis on Thursday.
Am Tomorrow he took 0.32 from his personal best in the 100m breaststroke, one of three events where he has a strong chance of reaching the Tokyo Olympic team.
That evening, Andrew went another .15 faster and ran 58.67 seconds to win the final pre-trial Tyr Pro Swim Series meeting. It’s the second fastest time in American history, just behind Kevin Cordes’ 2017 American record of 58.64.
For the full results, click here. The meeting continues on Friday, live on the Olympic Channel: Team USA’s home at 6 p.m. ET.
« It’s a big time, » said Andrew. « But overall, I still feel like there are so many things I can still tweak to be faster for trials. »
The first two per individual event at trials in Omaha make the Olympic team. Andrew has been first in the 100m chest and second in the 50m freestyle and 200m medley since early 2019, an unusual combination for a swimmer who has always done things his own way.
His trainer and father Peter is a former college swimmer and Navy diver from his native South Africa.
The family met with younger sister Michaela on a swimming road trip across the country in a black GMC Full-size Savana Presidential Edition 2014 delivery van.
Andrew was homeschooled from fifth grade and also practiced alone. His unorthodox, racing training has been scrutinized – typical workouts from 2,500 to 3,000 meters, about a third of the amount logged by typical elite swimmers, although he recently increased the distance.
« We have a lot of interesting feedback from the swimming world, « said Andrew at his breakout competition, the 2018 US championship, in which he won four national titles and qualified for his first major international meeting.
In 2019, Andrew was happy to make the final to reach every 50 meter event at the World Championships, but sad not to win individual medals. Three of the 50 meter events are not on the Olympic program. There was still work to be done.
At the beginning of March 2020, he was back on track and won the 100-meter chest at a Pro Series meeting in a personal best. He hit a field that every other American competed in to form an Olympic or world team. Andrew was a favorite to make up the Olympic team.
Later that month, the Olympics were postponed. Andrew still swam like an Olympic team candidate this year, setting the US’s fastest 200-meter IM (though slower than his March 2020 time) and holding his own against Olympic favorite Caeleb Dressel in a 50-meter free kick last month.
In between, he completed a three-week three-week training course at the American Renaissance Academy on Oahu.
Andrew swam on another level on Thursday. It’s up there with the best swimmers of his life, but not at the top.
« It still doesn’t mean much, » said Andrew. « The goal is to repeat that swim in trials now. »
At other events on Thursday, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger prevailed against Regan Smith in a matchup between the two best 200-meter butterflies in the USA . Flickinger drove 2: 07.41, overtook 19-year-old Smith in the last 50 meters and won with .54. Smith, the world record holder in both backs, was able to swim both butterflies in trials.
As expected, Olympic bronze medalist Leah Smith won the 400 m free. Emma Nordin finished second and reached her personal best twice on Thursday. The 21-year-old Nordin from the US state of Arizona took 2.33 seconds this spring and is fourth in the US in 2021.
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