Leaving his teenage years behind, US sprint phenomenon Michael Andrew is setting some ambitious goals for the next chapters of his swimming career. As a junior athlete Andrew collected records and medals like eggs at Easter. But now the 20-year-old swimmer has to step up his game to set his mark on the “big” stage. In Gwangju, South Korea, Andrew will face some tough races at his first World Championships in the Olympic long course pool.
While others at this point in their career might set some softer goals like reaching the semifinals or finals, Michael Andrew is aiming for the top. “I want to become the fastest man in the world”, said Andrew during an interview for the German swim paper “swimsportMagazine” back in spring. “I have set my eye on the 50m freestyle, which means I have to be faster than 20.91 seconds.“ He pointed out that this doesn’t have to happen at the world championships this year but maybe at some point during the next year.
Indeed it’s a high benchmark that he is setting for himself. Andrew’s current personal best is a 21.46 seconds, more than half a second away from the world record. Normally that’s a whole other dimension in sprint swimming but with his development during the past years in mind it doesn’t seem impossible. At the world championships Michael Andrew is not the only athlete who could swim near the world record over the 50 freestyle. His teammate Caeleb Dressel, the Brasilian Bruno Fratus or Ben Proud from the UK are certainly some athletes to keep an eye on.
Besides the 50 free Andrews will have some more chances to set his mark in South Korea. He will compete in all 50m events as well as the 100m breaststroke and could also have some relay appearances. “These world championships will definitely be the biggest event of my career so far. It’s great to know, that I belong there, that I earned my spot. I don’t have to proof it to anyone”, said Andrew who has already been part of Team USA at the short course world championships 2016 where he was allowed to start after some other US-athletes couldn’t or didn’t want to compete. Even though he won a gold medal over the 100 IM in 2016 it can’t be compared to the upcoming world championships in the Olympic pool. Andrew knows: “This is another level. The stage is much bigger”.
"It’s great to know, that I belong there,
that I earned my spot.
I don’t have to proof it to anyone"
“My junior years are over, I’m not just some young guy who swims fast anymore.” Andrew started of this next chapter of his career by moving his training base from Kansas to California. The sunny west coast suits Andrew’s optimistic mindset and judging his recent results it also provides his swimming another boost. While actually concentrating on his freestyle and breaststroke he set an astonishing new personal bestober the 50m backstroke with a 24,39s , which makes him currently the second fastest swimmer in this event wordwide.
“The last ten years for our family have been focused a lot on swimming and my career. And I feel like I’m at a place now where I’m set up and I can go in any direction.” So the family decided, it’s time to give something back to his sister Michaela, who’s always been one of Andrew’s biggest supporters. “One of her dreams was to live in California, so we moved there.”
"It’s a chance for us to bring some
real change to the world of swimming"
Life is a family thing for the Andrews. So it was no big surprise when it not just Michael got announced as one of the star athletes headlining the new professional swimming league “International Swimming League” but also his mother Tina who is now managing the pro-team New York Breakers. “It’s a chance for us to bring some real change to the world of swimming”, Michael Andrew said with some real enthusiasm in his voice showing his pioneering spirit not just for the life inside but also outside the pool. “For the first time, swimmers have the chance to not just be some poster athletes but also participate in the earnings made with our sport and names.”