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Rio 2016 Olympic Calympian: Ryan Murphy, Men's swimming, USA

The rising Cal senior is the best bet among the Calympians to not only win multiple Golds, but also challenge a couple of world records.

With wins in both 100 Back and 200 Back at the U.S. Swim Trials, Ryan Murphy is the best bet for a Calympian to set World Records in Rio.
With wins in both 100 Back and 200 Back at the U.S. Swim Trials, Ryan Murphy is the best bet for a Calympian to set World Records in Rio.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Ryan Murphy

Sport: Men's Swimming (100 Back, 200 Back, 4x100 medley relay)

Country: U.S.A.

Twitter: @ryan_f_murphy

Birthday: July 2nd, 1995 (age 21)

Hometown: Ponte Vidra, Florida

Cal affiliation: current California Golden Bears student-athlete (rising senior)

Years at Cal: 2013 - current

Olympic appearances: 2016 will be Ryan Murphy's 1st (of probably many) Olympic games appearance

Cal Achievements:

Ryan Murphy has dominated backstroke at the NCAA's since his freshman year. Murphy has swept both the 100 Back and 200 Back for all three years that he has swam for the Golden Bears. In addition, Murphy has been a big part of every Cal relays. He has been a part of 4 NCAA winning relays in his career as well.

Here is Ryan Murphy talking about his very successful freshman campaign, which included not only individual successes for him but also plenty of relay/team successes.

Here is the full list of NCAA national titles won by Ryan Murphy in his 3 years, thus far, as a Golden Bear:

  • 2014 - Cal Men's Swimming and Diving NCAA Champions
  • 2014 - 100 Back, 44.63
  • 2014 - 200 Back, 1:37.35
  • 2014 - 200 free relay, 1:15.27, Tyler Messerschmidt, Ryan Murphy, Tony Cox, Seth Stubblefield
  • 2014 - 200 medley relay, 1:22.83, Ryan Murphy, Chuck Katis, Tony Cox, Tyler Messerschmidt
  • 2014 - 400 medley relay, 3:02.66, Ryan Murphy, Chuck Katis, Marcin Tarczynski, Seth Stubblefield
  • 2015 - 100 Back, 44.21
  • 2015 - 200 Back, 1:36.77
  • 2015 - 200 medley relay, 1:22.74, Ryan Murphy, Chuck Katis, Tyler Messerschmidt, Justin Lynch
  • 2016 - 100 Back, 43.49
  • 2016 - 200 Back, 1:35.73

International Achievements:

Too young to make the U.S. Olympic team in 2012 (6th in 100 Back and 4th in 200 Back), Ryan Murphy has ascended to be one of the best backstroker in the world in recent years. Already familiar to Cal swim fans, the 2015 World Championships in Kazan was when he really announced himself internationally. Murphy finished 5th in the 200 Back, but made his mark swimming the leadoff 100 Back of the 4x100 mixed relay, where he posted the best time in the world of 2015 in the prelim of the mixed relay. Due to that swim, Murphy got to swim in the 400 medley relay final and helped the U.S. to win the Gold.

Earlier in his international career, Murphy earned his first international medals in the 200 Back at the 2011 World Junior Swimming Championships in Lima (a Bronze) and then the 2011 Pan American Games (another Bronze). Murphy then earned a Bronze (200 Back) and a Gold (swam the prelim of the 400 medley relay) for the United States at the 2012 World Short Course Championships in Istanbul. After a pair of 3rd place finishes to just miss out on making the 2013 World Championships, Murphy finally made the jump to be that top 1 or 2 backstroker in the United States.

Murphy won the silver in 100 Back and gold in 200 Back at the 2013 US Open Championships. He followed with a pair of silvers in the 2014 US National to make the US National Team for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and the 2015 FINA World Championships at Kazan.

More on Ryan and his Rio outlook:

Steadily and surely, Ryan Murphy has dropped time in his 100 Back and 200 Back swims to become a real threat to not only win the Gold but to set the World Record. Since only in the United States and the NCAA swims do they use the yards standard, it is of little surprise that Ryan Murphy owns basically all of the top times in both the 100 yard and 200 yard backstroke (time has steadily been increasing due to both better technology and training), breaking the records of a guy named Ryan Lochte.

Ryan went to Bolles school in Jacksonville, Florida - a private school that has a long history of producing top athletes, including future baseball Hall of Famer in Chipper Jones. Interestingly, Ryan Murphy's teammate at Bolles include Josh Schooling, who is attending Texas but will represent Singapore in the Olympics. Florida's Caeleb Dressel, who will also make his Olympic debut made Team USA with a 2nd place finish in the 100 free (behind Calympian Nathan Adrian), didn't attend the school but was a part of their swimming program. Of course, Ryan Murphy traded that group of Olympians in high school for this group of Olympians at Cal.

At the recent U.S. Swim Trials, Ryan Murphy won both the 100 Back and the 200 Back. In the 200 Back, Murphy will be joined by his Cal teammate in recent graduate Jacob Pebley.

In addition to these two individual events, Murphy will also swim the leadoff leg of the 400 medley relay (another good chance for a Gold). The United States have dominated the 400 medley relay in the Olympics by winning every single ones since its inclusion in the 1960 Rome games.

Looking ahead to Rio, Murphy should be in good position to win both individual backstroke events. In the 100 Back, Ryan Murphy swam that 52.18 in the prelim of the 2015 World Championships. He is expected to challenge Aaron Peirsol's world record of 51.94 in Rio. Fellow U.S. Olympian David Plummer did finish just behind Murphy at the Trials, but his stiffest competition may be Australia's Mitch Larkin, who won both the 100 Back and 200 Back at the World Championships in 2015. Swap out Plummer for Calympian Jacob Pebley and we have a similar story for the 200 Back.

I am pencilling in three medals for Ryan Murphy from the Rio games. With him being in his prime and the fact that he will be pushed to be at his best by the competition, do not be surprised if Ryan Murphy not only posting his career best time but also gets the World Record in either the 100 Back and/or the 200 Back in Rio. Cal fans certainly won't want to miss his races.

Best of luck to Ryan in Rio and GO BEARS!