2013LCNationalsRyan Murphy places first in the prelims of the 100 backstroke.
Courtesy of: Peter H. Bick
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By David Rieder

ATHENS, Georgia, July 12. THE U.S. Sectionals meet at the University of Georgia in Athens featured a handful of strong swims on night two, but Ryan Murphy provided the big highlight with a world top-ten performance in the men's 100 back.

Bolles' Murphy touched in 53.57, falling just short of his lifetime best of 53.38 he clocked to finish third at U.S. Nationals two weeks ago in Indianapolis. That swim ranks him sixth in the world for 2013. As he did in Indianapolis, Murphy took the race out hard, clocking 25.99 to the feet at the 50, before closing in 27.58 to seal the victory. Murphy obliterated the field, beating second-place Ty Stewart by almost three seconds. Stewart touched second in 56.21, while Andrew Kosic took third in 57.40. Kosic touched second at the 50 in 27.58, already more than a second and a half behind Murphy.

North Carolina's Cari Blalock cruised in the women's 400 IM with an eight-second victory. Blalock posted an impressive time of 4:45.34, a time which would have placed her fourth in qualifying in the event at U.S. Nationals two weeks ago. Blalock took a chunk off her best time of 4:48.10 and moved her into the top ten in the country, just ahead of Haley Anderson's 4:45.36. Cardinal's Tanja Kylliainen finished second in 4:53.14. Blalock's NCAC teammate Kendall Surhoff placed third in 4:59.81.

Lakeside's Sydney Sell clobbered her lifetime best for the win in the women's 100 back. She took the win in 1:02.91, beating her prelims lifetime best time of 1:03.80, which in turn beat her top time entering the day of 1:04.75 by more than a second. Auburn's Sarah Reynolds ended up finishing second in 1:03.74, and Mount Pleasant's Micah Bohon finished third. Bohon also lobbed more than a second off her best time, dropping from 1:05.06 to 1:04.02.

For the second straight day, the trend of huge time drops continued in the women's 200 free, where Kristen Wilson won in 2:03.05, improving upon her entry time of 2:05.56. She needed every one-hundredth of that performance to touch out Mason Manta Rays' Rebecca Postoll, who finished a fingernail behind at 2:03.06. Marieta Marlins' Stephanie Peters grabbed third in 2:03.70, edging Dynamo's Kylie Stewart (2:03.73) in another tight finish.

Stewart's Dynamo teammate Matias Koski picked up the win in the men's 200 free in 1:50.01. Koski beat out the field by nearly a second and a half, as Auburn's Zane Grothe ended up taking second in 1:51.48. Bolles' Josh Booth, who actually held a half-second lead over Koski with just a 50 to go, 1:21.81 to 1:22.39, faded to third with a final time of 1:51.60.

Dynamo won a second men's event on the night with a 1-2 finish in the men's 400 IM. Kevin Litherland cut more than four seconds off his best time to win in 4:27.75, while teammate - and twin brother - Mick Litherland grabbed second in 4:31.03. Peddie's Ryan Signorin grabbed third in 4:31.19.

Athens Bulldogs' team of Lauren Harrington, Jessica Graber, Abbie Fish, and Annie Williamson won the women's 400 free relay in a time of 3:50.87, edging Stingrays', whose team touched second in 3:51.14. Dynamo finished third in 3:52.47. Dynamo, the dominant team on the men's side on night two, took the men's relay, as Gunnar Bentz, Knox Auerbach, Sam Lewis, and Koski combined to touch in 3:27.12. Bolles grabbed second in 3:28.03, while Athens Bulldog finished well back in third at 3:32.40.

Results: Speedo Championships, Athens: Day Two