Ryan Murphy Holds Off Xu Jiayu For Gold In Men’s 100 Back

Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

American Ryan Murphy edged out China’s Xu Jiayu to take home the gold in the first individual event of the evening. Murphy touched first in 49.23, just .03 ahead of Xu who finished in 49.26. Both swimmers were off of Xu’s world record from last month during the 2018 FINA World Cup in Tokyo. Murphy and Xu have had a healthy rivalry the last few years: the American won Olympic gold in the event in 2016, while Xu fired back with a win over Murphy last summer at the 2017 World Championships that just missed the world record in the event.

Murphy (on the tight finish): “That was super close. It wasn’t the cleanest race for me, but it’s good to be tough and to race the best.”

Murphy (on Team USA at this event): “I think everyone is in good spirits. A lot of us haven’t really raced short-course meters before so we’re kind of coming in her with no time expectations, which takes a lot of the pressure off. So we’re just coming in, having fun and racing.”

In third was rising Russian star Kliment Kolesnikov in 49.40. Kolesnikov was only sixth at the turn, but used a stellar back half to work his way onto the podium. Notably, Brazil’s Guilherme Guido was first at the 50-meter mark (23.44), but faded in the second half to finish fifth. Other notable swimmers who finished off the podium were Australian Mitch Larkin, who finished fourth in 49.46, and Matt Grevers, who finished sixth in 50.02.

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