Swimming World Presents “Ryan Murphy: Refocused and Ready to Make a Run in 2020”

Swimming World January 2020 -Ryan Murphy - Refocused and Ready To Make a Run in 2020 - 50 back semifinal 2019 world championships by Becca Wyant

Ryan Murphy: Refocused and Ready to Make a Run in 2020

By David Rieder

At last year’s World Championships in Gwangju, Ryan Murphy came home with three silver medals, but his first individual long course World title still eluded him. With his focus now set on the 2020 Olympic summer, the 100 back world record holder and 2016 triple Olympic gold medalist is looking ahead to Tokyo with confidence.

When Ryan Murphy made his Olympic debut in Rio, he quickly became the world’s undisputed backstroke king, the only male swimmer aside from Michael Phelps to win multiple individual Olympic golds that week. He became just the sixth member of an exclusive group: men who have swept the 100 and 200 back at an Olympics. To cap off the week, he added his first career world record, breaking Aaron Peirsol’s 100 back mark leading off the 400 medley relay.

Almost four years later, Murphy knows he’s a better swimmer, and he has empirical evidence to back up that claim. “When I look at my training performances over the past three years, in every single aspect of my swimming, I go faster than I did then,” Murphy said. “Everything came together in Rio. I know I’m better.”

With some time to reflect on Worlds, Murphy remembers some particular images of disappointment, but Murphy isn’t the sort of swimmer that uses setback to sustain his drive toward the next season.

“I’m not someone who needs bulletin board material. It’s not hard for me to go to practice every day and work my butt off. That’s something that’s pretty natural for me to do,” he said. “I don’t go through training having a personal vendetta about someone that had a good race. I go through training trying to be the best Ryan Murphy I can be.”

Murphy admits that he wants to be the best. Of course he does—what top-notch athlete doesn’t? But that won’t frame Murphy’s quest for a second Olympics. Murphy’s deeper ambitions lie somewhere less concrete than stats, numbers and honors.

“One of the things that I was brought up with is being authentic. That’s something that I really try to do. The way I think of that is making sure that I go into every season and give it a solid, honest effort, but then also my interactions with people. I’m not someone who is going to be putting out a lot of different faces,” he said. “What that’s leading me to is I would love to be remembered in terms of the people that I’ve inspired, as opposed to my résumé.”

Looking ahead to the Tokyo Olympics, that will be a critical point in Murphy’s career, and even after a modest showing in Gwangju, Murphy, who will have just turned 25, will head to Tokyo as a co-favorite in both backstroke events.

To read more about Ryan Murphy’s road to Tokyo,
Check out the January issue of Swimming World Magazine, available now!
Swimming World January 2020 Cover with Ryan Murphy

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FEATURES

016 THE TOP 5 STORIES OF 2019
by Dan D’Addona
From the debut of the International Swimming League to a worldwide youth movement, 2019 marked the start of a new era in swimming.

018 2019 ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
by Shoshanna Rutemiller, Dan D’Addona and Michael Randazzo
Diving: Shi Tingmao & Xie Siyi
Artistic: Svetlana Romashina &  Svetlana Kolesnichenko
Water Polo: Ashleigh Johnson & Francesco Di Fulvio
Disabled: Sophie Pascoe & Reece Dunn

020 EVENT SPECIALIZATION…WHEN?
by Michael J. Stott
Many coaches are postponing specialization in favor of creating well-rounded swimmers for what lies ahead, leaving preordination behind so that other coaches, human nature and physical development can take its course.

022 READY AND REFOCUSED
by David Rieder
At last year’s World Championships in Gwangju, Ryan Murphy came home with three silver medals, but his first individual long course World title still eluded him. With his focus now set on the 2020 Olympic summer, the 100 back world record holder and 2016 triple Olympic gold medalist is looking ahead to Tokyo with confidence.

026 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: THE BOYCOTT
by John Lohn
Years of hard work went unfulfilled. Dreams turned into nightmares. Sadness and anger abounded. The repercussions of the United States’ decision to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow were severe. This summer marks the 40th anniversary of a toxic mix of sports and politics.

030 2019 WORLD & AMERICAN RECORD PROGRESSION
by Taylor Brien

032 ISHOF: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
by Bruce Wigo
Dr. Kevin Dawson, who recently received the Harriet Tubman Prize for his book, Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Culture in the African Diaspora, corrects and revises the history of swimming to include and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of Africans to aquatics.

036 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH RYAN MURPHY
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

010 LESSONS WITH THE LEGENDS: RAY DAUGHTERS
by Michael J. Stott

014 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: STRATEGIES TO ACCELERATE SKILL LEARNING
by Rod Havriluk
There are many different skill-learning approaches that can help a competitive swimmer improve his/her technique. For example, competitive swimming strokes “can be taught in their entirety or broken down into parts.” While both the “whole” and “part” approaches can help swimmers progress in all four strokes, selecting the most appropriate method can accelerate skill learning.

042 SPECIAL SETS: GETTING READY TO RACE
by Michael J. Stott
As college swimming rolls into its championship season in February and March, meet warm-ups take on even greater importance.

044 Q&A WITH COACH WENBO CHEN
by Michael J. Stott

045 HOW THEY TRAIN SARAH BACON
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

013 DRYSIDE TRAINING: TIME TO RESET—READY, SET GO!
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047 UP & COMERS: RYAN HOGAN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009 BEYOND THE YARDS

025 THE OFFICIAL WORD

035 GUTTERTALK

048 PARTING SHOT

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