Ryan Murphy (swimmer)

Ryan Murphy (born July 2, 1995) is an American competitive swimmer who specializes in backstroke. He is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the men's 100-meter backstroke (long course).

Ryan Murphy
Murphy in 2018
Personal information
Full nameRyan Murphy
National teamUnited States
Born (1995-07-02) July 2, 1995
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Height1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight91 kg (201 lb)
StrokesBackstroke, Freestyle
ClubBolles School Bulldogs,
Jacksonville, Florida
College teamUniversity of California, Berkeley

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Murphy swept the backstroke events by winning gold in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke.[1] Murphy also won gold in the 4×100-meter medley relay and his leadoff backstroke leg broke Aaron Peirsol's former world record set in 2009.

Early life and education

Murphy graduated from Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida in 2013 and went on to the University of California, Berkeley. Swimming for the California Golden Bears, he is an eight-time NCAA individual national champion, winning the 100-yard and 200-yard backstrokes in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.[2]

Swimming career

In 2011, Murphy earned the first international medals in his career, both in the 200-meter backstroke. At the 2011 World Junior Swimming Championships in Lima, Murphy won a bronze medal in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 1:59.63.[3] Later in 2011, at the 2011 Pan American Games, Murphy won another bronze also in the 200-meter backstroke. In the final, he recorded a time of 1:58.50.

At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials, the qualifying meet for the 2012 Olympics, Murphy missed the Olympic team by finishing sixth in the 100-meter backstroke (53.92) and fourth in the 200-meter backstroke (1:57.39).[4][5]

Following the Olympics, Murphy competed at the 2012 World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, where he won a gold and bronze medal. His bronze came in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 1:48.86, finishing behind Radosław Kawęcki and Ryan Lochte. Murphy also earned a gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay for his participation in the heats, swimming the backstroke leg with a time of 50.91.

At the 2013 US National Championships, Murphy just missed qualifying for the 2013 World Aquatics Championships by finishing third in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, finishing with times of 53.38 and 1:56.37.

In 2014, Murphy won the 100 and 200 yard backstrokes at his first NCAA D1 Swimming Championships. His 100 backstroke time of 44.78 was US 17–18 National Age Group (NAG) record,[6] and his 200 backstroke time of 1:37.23 broke Tyler Clary's NCAA record in addition to the 17–18 NAG record.[7] He also placed 8th in the 200 IM and swam on Cal's 200 and 400 medley and freestyle relays on way to Cal winning the team championship.


At the 2015 NCAA Championships, Murphy broke the American record previously held by Ryan Lochte in the 200-yard backstroke.[8] He also won the 100 yard backstroke, breaking Lochte's NCAA record, as well as once again sweeping both backstroke events, along with fifth in the 200 IM. He was named CSCAA Swimmer of the Meet.[9]


NCAA Championships

At the 2016 NCAA D1 Swimming Championships, Murphy continued his backstroke streak by winning the 100 and 200 yard backstrokes in record time. His times of 43.49 and 1:35.73 broke his NCAA, American, and US Open records. He also placed third in the 200 yard individual medley in 1:40.27. He once again was named CSCAA Swimmer of the Meet, this time sharing the title with former Bolles teammates Joseph Schooling and Caeleb Dressel.[10]

US Summer Olympic Trials

At the 2016 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, Murphy made his first Olympic team by placing first in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke events. He also made the 4 x 100 medley relay by virtue of his win in the 100 backstroke.[11][12]

2016 Rio Summer Olympics

2016 Summer Olympics
100 m backstroke 51.97
200 m backstroke 1.53.62
4×100 m medley 3:27.95

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Murphy won gold in the 100 and 200-meter backstroke, and in the 4x100-meter men's medley relay together with Cody Miller, Michael Phelps, and Nathan Adrian. He broke Aaron Peirsol's world record for the 100-meter backstroke with his relay split time of 51.85.[13]


NCAA Championships

At the 2017 NCAA championships, Murphy completed his 4 for 4 sweep of the 100 and 200 yard backstroke events, becoming only the fourth man in NCAA history to sweep 100 and 200 events of a stroke four years in a row after John Nabor (back), Pablo Morales (fly), and Brendan Hansen (breast).[14] He also placed 3rd in the 200 individual medley, leading after the breastroke but getting overtaken on freestyle.

World Championships

2017 World Championships
100 m backstroke52.59
200 m backstroke1:54.21
400 m medley relay3:29.66
400 m mixed medley relay3:40.28 (WR,CR)

At the 2017 US National Championships, the qualifying meet for the 2017 World Aquatics Championships, Murphy won the 200 meter backstroke and placed second to Matt Grevers in the 100 meter backstroke to qualify for the World Championships later that year in Budapest.[15][16]

At the 2017 World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Murphy placed third in the 100 backstroke behind Xu Jiayu and Grevers and second in the 200 backstroke behind Evgeny Rylov and ahead of countryman and former college teammate Jacob Pebley. He also earned gold medals by swimming in the prelims on the US 400 medley and mixed medley relays. His mixed medley relay set a World and Championship record of 3:40.28 in prelims, though it was later broken by the US in finals.

Personal life

Murphy is a Roman Catholic who credits his athleticism to God: "I believe God has given me a great talent, for which I'm eternally grateful. My faith gives me comfort despite the outcome of a race. I ultimately believe ― I know ― God has a larger plan for me."[17]

Personal bests

As of March 25, 2018
Long course
Event Time Meet Date Note(s)
100 m freestyle48.88 2017 US Championships June 27, 2017
50 m backstroke24.24 2018 US Nationals July 27, 2018 NR
100 m backstroke51.85 2016 Summer Olympics August 13, 2016 WR
200 m backstroke1:53.57 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships August 11, 2018
Short course
Event Time Meet Date Note(s)
100 y backstroke43.49 2016 NCAA Championships March 25, 2016 NCAA, American, US Open records
200 y backstroke1:35.73 2016 NCAA Championships March 26, 2016 NCAA, American, US Open records


  1. Ryan Murphy: Tonight felt like my night (Video). Swimswam.com (June 28, 2016). Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  2. NCAA Division I Men's Championships: Ryan Murphy Cracks Ryan Lochte American Record in 200 Back – Swimming World News. Swimmingworldmagazine.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  3. "2011 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships – 200 m backstroke results (final)". Omega Timing. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  4. "2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials (swimming) – Men's 100 metre backstroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  5. "2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials (swimming) – Men's 200 metre backstroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  6. Ryan Murphy Lowers Yesterday’S 100 Backstroke NAG Record on Day 2 of NCAA’s. Swimswam.com (March 28, 2014). Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  7. Ryan Murphy Re-breaks His 200 Backstroke NAG Record at the NCAA Championships. Swimswam.com (March 29, 2014). Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  8. Ryan Murphy Breaks Ryan Lochte's 200 Back American Record To Repeat As NCAA Champion. Swimswam.com (March 28, 2015). Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  9. Video: 2015 CSCAA Men's Awards Swimswam.com (March 29, 2015). Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  10. Murphy, Schooling, Dressel tie for CSCAA'S 2016 Swimmer of Year Award. Swimswam.com (March 26th, 2016). Retrieved on March 26, 2018.
  11. "2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials (swimming) – Men's 100 metre backstroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  12. "2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials (swimming) – Men's 200 metre backstroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  13. Rio Olympics 2016: Michael Phelps bows out of Games with gold in men's relay, BBC (August 14, 2016)
  14. Ryan Murphy: "This was the Best Four Years of My Life" (Video) Swimswam.com (March 25, 2017). Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  15. "2017 Phillips 66 National Championships (swimming) – Men's 100 metre backstroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  16. "2017 Phillips 66 National Championships (swimming) – Men's 200 metre backstroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  17. http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/olympic-gold-medalist-ryan-murphy-i-hope-always-to-live-life-based-on-gods/
Preceded by
Aaron Peirsol
Men's 100-meter backstroke
world record-holder (long course)

August 13, 2016 – present
Succeeded by
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