PHOENIX, Arizona, October 25. TODAY'S edition of The Morning Swim Show features new California Golden Bear Ryan Murphy, who talks about the factors that led to his decision to move from Florida to northern California.
Murphy, one of the country's top backstrokers, has Olympic prospects, but he plans to take each of the next four years one at a time in Berkeley. Before he makes the move to California, he has the Florida state championships in a couple of weeks, in which he could help the Bolles School men's team set national high school records. And though the records are nice, it's Murphy's own personal goals that he says motivates him most. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, October 25th, 2012. I'm your host Jeff Commings. Ryan Murphy was one of the hottest male recruits this season, and it was the University of California at Berkeley that won the battle to get this very fast backstroker. Ryan joins us now in the FINIS Monitor from Jacksonville, Florida. Ryan, good to see you. How are you today?
Ryan Murphy: I'm doing good. Thanks for having me.
Jeff Commings: Good to have you. So tell me how does it feel to be able to say you're now going to be a Cal Golden Bear?
Ryan Murphy: It's a great feeling, more of a relief than anything. The college recruiting process was a pretty long and exhausting process, so happy to have it done.
Jeff Commings: Yeah, tell me about that that. I mean, what made it so difficult? Was it just the agonizing thought of having to pick one school out of all these great schools that you considered?
Ryan Murphy: Yeah, I mean, there's a reason why everyone doesn't go to the same school because it's all personal opinion and there's definitely pros and cons to every school. There's no perfect school out there. That was one of the hard things I had throughout my process, I was trying to take bits and pieces from each school, and then once I got over that there is no perfect school kind of helped push the process along a little bit.
Jeff Commings: And what are the schools that you considered going to?
Ryan Murphy: So I took trips to — my first trip was Cal-Berkeley and then Texas with the next weekend and I had a week off and then Auburn, Florida, and then Stanford.
Jeff Commings: So it's kind of interesting, you know, I think probably a lot of people were thinking you'd want to stay close to home, go to Florida, and have the Ryan Lochte connection, both of you 200 backstrokers, and you know, like you said, every school had a little bit to offer for you. What was it specifically about the Cal team or the school that made you feel like this was the right fit for you?
Ryan Murphy: Well, I kind of looked at it as there's kind of three big components that I was looking for in a college. The first was athletics. The next was academics. And the third was what kind of person I would be after I left college. So within athletics, relationship with the coach, Dave Durden is awesome. The team I thought, like, the team had very similar goals to me and I can definitely tell they're focused. And willingness to make sacrifices to reach their goals, that was really good. The weight coach, Nick Folker is awesome also. Then academics, Cal-Berkeley I think it's the number one public school in the nation. And then the person I would become, I could tell the guys on the team, they're all really quality guys and I couldn't ask for a better role model than Dave Durden.
Jeff Commings: Now, I know you put a lot of work there at Bolles. Sergio Lopez, your coach there, puts you through a lot of hard work there. How will the Cal program compare or differ from what you're doing now at Bolles?
Ryan Murphy: That's a good question. I think Sergio's program, we do a lot of speed work. I wanted to say we do a lot of yards. I mean, in conversations with different coaches, I tell about my practice, and I remember one coach in particular I told him the amount of yardage we did for a week, and I thought it was, like, a high number for the week and he was, like, oh, that must have been a relatively low volume week for you. But I think Cal definitely has the quality over quantity focus also. Obviously, excited to work with them.
Jeff Commings: Yeah, definitely so. Now, at the NCAAs everybody swims, especially the top swimmers, swim three individual events. We're kind of assuming 200 back, 100 back are going to be two of them. What do you think your third event might be?
Ryan Murphy: I'd say, right now, 200 IM just — I mean, I'm a little bit limited with my breaststroke, my feet go in instead of out, so that's a little bit of an issue. But right now, probably 200 IM, but we'll see. Maybe do two events in the second day or 50 free or 500 free the first day. Who knows what they'll make me.
Jeff Commings: Yeah, that would be tough to be. I have to do that 500 free, but, you know, like, I think that's one of the things that–
Ryan Murphy: It's their choice.
Jeff Commings: Yeah, yeah, you're at the hands of them — you're at the mercy of whatever the team needs, I would imagine. Do you have an idea what your major might be at Cal?
Ryan Murphy: Yeah, I think it's called a different major everywhere. But at Cal it's called Integrated Biology. It's pretty much exercise science, human performance, that's what it was called at some different universities.
Jeff Commings: Interesting. So is that — are you — what got you interested in wanting to study that?
Ryan Murphy: I mean, basically, like I have no idea what I want to do career wise, so my plan is just I'm interested in that and so I figured why not make that my major and then I'll take some business courses as well and then, hopefully, I'll continue swimming after school and go to graduate school for either business or the Integrated Biology track.
Jeff Commings: Well, it's a good plan. Well, now that you're committed to Cal, you could kind of put all your focus on the Florida State Meet in a couple of weeks. Are you going to be fully tapered or are you going to be partially tapered like you've been before?
Ryan Murphy: I think the plan is to go all out for states this year. We have a really good team this year, I mean with, Joseph, Santo, Josh Booth, I mean, I could go on and on with the names. I think we have a chance to do something pretty special, especially with the relays, so I know I'm going to be doing three relays and 100 back. I won't be doing a second individual. But I think it's — we're going to go fast, and I think it's two weeks now.
Jeff Commings: Well, we saw those national records you guys did a couple weeks ago. From what we understand you guys weren't shaved or tapered, so we're all looking forward to it. And what's interesting is that you were also part of that national high school record in the 200 medley relay a couple years ago. So you kind of have that distinction of having all three national high school relay records. Is the goal to kind of drop that medley relay record as well?
Ryan Murphy: Yeah, definitely, because the week we went the 1:20 and I think it was 2:58, at a dual meet that week we went 1:31 in the medley relay without wearing suits and we did — and we had school that day and I think we had morning practice, too. So I think just throwing a time out there, I think we could go — probably go 1:27 in the medley relay and then we'll probably, hopefully, drop the other two relays as well.
Jeff Commings: That's going to be amazing to see, and you got that 100 back as well. It's kind of interesting that the Bolles School record is one of those unbelievable swims by Alex Lim from the 1990s, I believe it's 46.7. I would imagine you've been staring at that time on the record board for a while.
Ryan Murphy: Yeah, they've got a big record board up at Bowls, so it's definitely a motivating factor. It's not about records. It's just about I make my own personal goals and if that's the record, then great, if not then oh well.
Jeff Commings: Too bad they don't have a 200 back in high school. It would be interesting to see if you could go 1:39 before you get to college, which is what, you know, everybody's — everybody is thinking that 1:39 is kind of, like, going to be nothing for you when you go to college next year.
Ryan Murphy: We will see.
Jeff Commings: We will see, absolutely right. So, are you going to also, in addition, go to the short course nationals in December?
Ryan Murphy: Yeah, I'm going to go to short course nationals because I got selected for the short course world team in Turkey. So I think the way it works out with the traveling, I couldn't do juniors and we tried to talk them out of it, but they wouldn't budge, so I'm going to nationals. So I'm going to miss juniors. Juniors is probably my favorite meet that we go to, but –
Jeff Commings: Yeah, you won't be able to swim in it when you're 18 years old. That's unfortunate.
Ryan Murphy: Yeah.
Jeff Commings: But, I guess, a trip to Turkey can kind of outweigh all that. Well, that would be very exciting to see you swim in Turkey. I want to talk a little about Olympic Trials. You got fourth in the 200 back. What were your emotions after that race? What did you think about getting fourth place?
Ryan Murphy: It was kind of a mix of emotions, because after semifinals I was really happy with my swim. I think you interviewed me after the 200 back semis. I think you could tell, like, I was upbeat because I felt like I've saved up a little bit in semis. And then at finals, I mean, I really don't know what happened, like, I got really nervous. I think that took a little bit of energy out of me and I ended up going the exact same time as I went in semis. So I was a little bit disappointed with the time. The place was incredible, I mean, I can't complain about fourth place, but there's definitely room for improvement for the summer.
Jeff Commings: Yeah, a lot of — not many 17-year-old males could say they got fourth place at the Olympic Trials, so it definitely isn't college, but, you're right, a lot of — I think a lot of people after that semis, myself included, had kind of expected you to go a little faster. But I would imagine this gets you hungrier for the next four years.
Ryan Murphy: Yeah, I mean, I'm not really thinking about four years down the road right now. Right now, I'm just focused on states coming up and then, hopefully, when I get to college I'll sit down with Dave and we'll — I know he's a big planner. So I think we'll kind of create a plan for the next three years and see where it takes us.
Jeff Commings: Well, I think it's — I think you're going to be going far with it, Ryan. I'm really happy to hear about your college commitment. Congratulations on picking Cal and good luck in a couple weeks. We'll all be watching.
Ryan Murphy: All right, thank you. Thanks for having me.
Jeff Commings: All right, thanks so much, Ryan. All right, so that's Ryan Murphy. As you noticed, he was wearing a shirt and tie, took some time off from his day at Bolles School to talk to us. We really appreciate that. That's going to do it for today's edition of the Morning Swim Show. As always, reminding you to join us on swimmingworld.com on Facebook or on Twitter to keep up with the latest news. I'm Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.
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