Ryan Murphy settles for bronze in 100-meter backstroke

Ryan Murphy participates in the men's 200 backstroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Charlie Neibergall, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Ryan Murphy still got a medal, just not the one that he wanted.

Russian Evgeny Rylov beat Murphy in the 100-meter backstroke, ending US streak of 12 straight gold in men’s individual back

The Bolles graduate finished third in the event on Monday night, taking the bronze in one of the most stacked fields in Olympic backstroke history. Five of the seven fastest racers ever were in the finals. Murphy finished .21 seconds behind Rylov, who took gold.

Russian athletes swept the top two spots in the 100-meter back, with Evgeny Rylov claiming the gold medal in 51.98 seconds and teammate Kliment Kolesnikov taking the silver in 52.00. Murphy, the defending Olympic champion, settled for the bronze in 52.19.

It was the first backstroke defeat for the U.S. men at the Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games. They won 12 straight golds at the last six Olympics, including Murphy’s sweep of the 100- and 200-meter backstroke at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

But the streak finally ended at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Now, Murphy must turn his attention to the next event.

Murphy will look to defend his gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke, with heats on Tuesday morning.

Murphy won two individual gold medals and another on a relay squad in the 2016 games in Rio. Murphy has dominated the backstroke since high school and on in to college at California. He won the 100 and 200 backs all four years at the NCAAs. Murphy set the world record of 51.85 in the 2016 Games.

Murphy’s bronze means that two swimming medals are already in the books for area products.

On Sunday night, Clay High graduate Caeleb Dressel won a gold as a member of the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay team.


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.