Lawrence teen hopes to swim in 2016 Olympics

Posted at 4:52 PM, Feb 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-04 15:49:10-04

At just 16 years old, Michael Andrew has already learned to enjoy his career in swimming. Yes, his career. His latest sponsor is sports giant Adidas.

“So when I first went pro at 14, I dealt with a lot of pressure,” said Michael. “I put a lot of pressure on myself.”

WATCH: Go underwater with Michael Andrew!

Even with the Olympic team trials in Omaha coming this June, he said he recently found a new perspective that keeps the pressure from being overwhelming.

“Swimming was my idol and God was kind of on the side. We’ve switched it around and everything has changed,” said Michael.

Freedom from that pressure helps when people are asking if he is the next Michael Phelps in the pool.

Right now Michael holds 24 national age group records and has posted faster times than Michael Phelps at a similar age in more than one event.

Poolside in Lawrence on a Friday morning, his father Peter holds a stop watch and walks alongside his son in the water. Peter is his coach. His mother Tina is his manager. 

“We try to take it day by day, moment by moment,” said Tina. “We try to relish the whole journey.”

The Andrew family dove into Michael’s career with him. His sister Michaela is supportive too, preparing the family’s meals. Peter noticed Michael’s skill when he watched him at swim practice when he was just seven years old.

“I knew right away,” Peter said.

“Really the first crazy decision was when we decided to build the pool!” Tina said, laughing.

Behind their Lawrence home sits an indoor two-lane 25 meter training pool. “It is such a blessing,” said Michael.



On the walls you’ll find inspirational quotes.

The family offers training to other swimmers here too. Michael often trains there in the mornings after breakfast and spending time alone with God. He tries to to swim at most three hours per day.

This is the second home where they built a training pool. The Andrew family moved to Lawrence a few years ago after visiting for a meet. They loved the friendly and welcoming attitude of the local pool.

“We love our kids,” said Peter. “God has given them to us for a short period. I mean, we’re going to invest in them.”

His parents are athletes themselves. Peter swam and Tina starred in a gladiator show that aired in the UK and South Africa. The two immigrated to the United States from South Africa and started a family.

Now Michael is swimming in Kansas and dreaming of Rio.

Sitting at his kitchen table after his morning workout, the thought of the Olympics makes him take a deep breath.

“Crowds, lots of joy, lots of sadness too,” said Michael.

When years of training come down to moments of swimming, the Andrews are watching even the slightest time they need to shave.

“Those 20 seconds is pure guts out, and there’s no holding back,” said Michael. “So going into trials I have to be positive, I have to know that I will make the team.”

“We’re living our gold medal daily,” said Tina.

“He’s still very much a dark horse,” said Peter. “We believe and know that he can do it but yeah if he doesn’t, I mean his career is just starting.”

USA Swimming reports the male swimmers on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team averaged to be about a decade older than Michael at just over 25 years old. Michael isn’t letting that stop him.

“Thinking about Rio, I get chills every time,” Michael said.  

His family is right behind him.

“If he makes it, it will be a miracle,” said Tina. “But we believe in miracles. We believe. We dream crazy dreams.”


Lindsay Shively can be reached at

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