Paris-bound! Ryan Murphy makes history again at U.S. Olympic Trials swimming

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Paris-bound! Ryan Murphy makes history again at U.S. Olympic Trials swimming

Ryan Murphy is punching his ticket for Paris.

Winner of four Olympic gold medals already, the Bolles School graduate wrote a new chapter in his aquatic career, racing to first place in the men’s 100-meter backstroke at Monday night’s U.S. Olympic Trials for swimming inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Murphy touched the wall in 52.22, finishing a half-second ahead of Hunter Armstrong, to seal the automatic berth with the fastest time recorded in the world for 2024. The 28-year-old from Ponte Vedra Beach launched first off the block and was never seriously threatened, taking advantage of an excellent turn to stretch an 0.08-second lead at the 50-meter mark to a more comfortable edge.

Second-place finisher Armstrong is a near-certainty to qualify as well, but must wait until later for USA Swimming to officially confirm whether his runner-up spot will materialize.

In his previous Olympic trips, Murphy won three gold medals in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 (the 100 and 200 back as well as the medley relay) followed by a gold, silver and bronze in Tokyo.

Ryan Murphy looks up at the board after competing in the 100-meter backstroke semifinals Sunday, June 16, 2024, during the second day of competition for the U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

He can still qualify in his other specialty, the 200 back, which holds preliminaries and semifinals Wednesday followed by the championship round on Thursday night. As in the 100, Murphy entered the meet with the No. 1 seed. He is also eligible to race the 100 butterfly, although it’s uncertain whether he will attempt that event.

Winning the 100 back outright means that Murphy averts the tense wait that looms for runners-up.

Under USA Swimming selection procedures, only event champions receive automatic qualification for Paris in most events. The exceptions are the 100 and 200 freestyle, where the top four finishers qualify to make up the relays. The roster is then completed with runners-up in other races, followed by the fifth-place and sixth-place finishers in the 100 and 200 free, as long as the total number of swimmers does not exceed 26 men and 26 women.

While USA Swimming has not had to exclude a second-place finisher from an Olympic team because of the 26-swimmer roster cap, it remains a theoretical and painful possibility.

By qualifying for Paris, Murphy becomes the first athlete from Jacksonville or its adjacent counties since sprinter Dannette Young-Stone (1988-96) to qualify for the United States in three Olympics. Ribault sprinter Chandra Cheeseborough also qualified for the Olympics three times between 1976 and 1984, but did not compete because of the 1980 Olympic boycott.

When will Ryan Murphy swim in the Paris Olympics?

The 100 back preliminaries for the Olympics begin on Sunday, July 28, followed by the semifinal rounds the same day.

The Olympic championship in the 100 back is scheduled for 9:22 p.m. Eastern on Monday, July 29.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: U.S. Olympic Trials 2024, Swimming: Ryan Murphy wins 100 back final

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