GREENSBORO, North Carolina, February 28. ON Thursday night, Florida State senior Paul Murray entered the ACC final of the men’s 50 free as the highest returning finisher, having finished second to now-graduated teammate Mark Weber a year ago. This time around, Murray had unfamiliar foes on either side of him in the final, as North Carolina State’s David Williams, Simonas Bilis, and Jonathan Boffa were seeded first, third, and fourth, respectively.
In last year’s final, technical elements cost Murray in his runner-up performance, but he pounced on this year’s race right away, posting the fastest 25 yard split of 9.30, and he pulled away to touch in 19.04. That mark broke FSU’s school record and also Cullen Jones’ eight year-old conference record of 19.07. Jones had gone on to win the NCAA, U.S. National, and Pan Pacific titles that year.
After the race, Murray took a few minutes to chat with Swimming World’s David Rieder about the swim. Murray discussed his feelings on becoming an individual ACC champion in his senior season, his thoughts on breaking a record held by an ACC legend such as Jones, and his expectations for the remainder of the meet.