Ryan Murphy and Evgeny Rylov Face Off for First Time Since Tokyo in ISL Playoff Match 5

Ryan Murphy -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Ryan Murphy and Evgeny Rylov Face Off for First Time Since Tokyo in ISL Playoff Match 5

At the Tokyo Olympics, 26-year-old American Ryan Murphy was the defending gold medalist in both the 100 and 200-meter backstroke events, but this year, Russia’s Evgeny Rylov took both titles away from Murphy, setting a European record in the 100 back (51.98) and an Olympic record in the 200 back (1:53.27). Murphy had to settle for bronze in the 100 back and silver in the 200 back.

After that 200 back showdown, Murphy caused a bit of a stir when he noted that he was “swimming in a race that’s probably not clean, and that is what it is.” He added that he had no intention of making allegations against Rylov, although Rylov was competing under the banner of the “Russian Olympic Committee” with Russia technically banned from the Olympics for the country’s support of a state-sponsored doping program.

In this ISL match, Murphy faced off with Rylov in the 100 back and in 50 back skins. In the 100 back, Mark Nikolaev actually earned an upset win over Murphy, 49.43 to 49.61, while Rylov ended up a half-second behind Murphy in third place. Murphy and Rylov then ended the match with an exceptional showdown in 50 back skins. LA Current’s Murphy and Energy Standard’s Rylov were the two swimmers who advanced to the final, and in that third round, Murphy got the better of Rylov, 24.22 to 24.38.

Murphy did not compete during the ISL regular season, but since returning for the playoffs, he has won seven of nine individual backstroke races along with backstroke skins in the previous match. Murphy has posted the quickest times so far this ISL season in the 50 back and 200 back.

Energy Standard dominated the final day of the match and won with 561.5 points, followed by London Roar (498.5), LA Current (415.5) and DC Trident (289.5).