Ryan Murphy qualifies for Tokyo Olympics in 100-meter backstroke

Clayton Freeman
Florida Times-Union
View Comments
Ryan Murphy reacts after winning the men's 100 backstroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. [Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo]

Ryan Murphy is on the road to Tokyo.

The former Bolles School swimmer, world king of the backstroke, clinched his qualifying spot for next month's Olympics at Tuesday night's U.S. Olympic Team Trials for swimming at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb.

Murphy finished first in the men's 100-meter backstroke final in 52.33. He secured the top American qualifying berth for the event, seizing the lead off the block, making the turn crisply and touching the wall just ahead of Hunter Armstrong of Ohio State.

Tune in:How to watch Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Murphy and Jacksonville swimmers at U.S. Olympic Trials

Splashing through lockdown:Gold on hold: Ryan Murphy, Caeleb Dressel keep swimming toward Olympic dreams

Now, he's got a chance to defend his gold medal from Rio de Janeiro in 2016, when he won three golds — one in the 100 back, one in the 200 back and one in the men's medley relay.

Murphy's Olympic Trials are not yet finished. He's scheduled to compete in the 200 back as well, which he also won at the 2016 Olympics.

Meanwhile, Clay High School graduate Caeleb Dressel began his march toward gold in one of his strongest events, the 100 freestyle.

Dressel, who won seven gold medals at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Hungary and six golds (eight medals in all) at the 2019 finals in South Korea, placed second in his heat in 48.25 to advance comfortably with the fifth overall time from Wednesday morning's preliminaries. 

He had previously scratched two events, the 200 free and 200 butterfly, and could still compete in the 100 fly, 50 free and perhaps the 200 individual medley. 

In Wednesday's heats, Paxon's Tyler Watson finished 17th in the men's 800 free, while Clay's Sara Stotler was 26th in the women's 200 fly and Dillon Hillis from the Bolles Sharks club came in 49th in the men's 200 breaststroke.

Episcopal's Jace Crawford and Cole Crane missed out on the finals of the 200 fly, finishing 13th and 16th in their semifinals late Tuesday night. The meet isn't finished for the former Eagles, though: Both Crawford and Crane, who dramatically improved from their pre-meet seed times i, are scheduled to compete in the 100 fly beginning Friday.

View Comments