Ultimate Swimmer Podcast – Ryan Murphy: The New King of Backstroke


Ultimate Swimmer Podcast – Ryan Murphy: The New King of Backstroke


Ryan Murphy, a.k.a “The King of Backstroke,” is a multi-time Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record Holder. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Ryan came home with three gold medals (100/200 backstroke, 400 medley relay) and broke Aaron Peirsol’s world record in the 100 backstroke leading off the medley relay in a time of 51.85. Collegiately, Ryan swam four years at Cal Berkeley and was a dominant force at the NCAA Championships, becoming one of four swimmers ever to win the 100 and 200 of a stroke four years in a row. Ryan dominated the backstroke events, setting multiple NCAA records on his way to becoming one of the most decorated swimmers in NCAA history. Below are some highlights from our great interview with Ryan!


Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

Summer League Relay Spot: Ryan Murphy joined his first summer league team in Jacksonville, Florida when he was only four years old. Summer league has been the catalyst for so many who have gone on to have extraordinary careers, but for Ryan he remembers “hating it” until one shining moment. Ryan’s coaches had to decide who the fourth swimmer would be on their 6 & Under 4 x 25 freestyle relay and it was between Ryan and his good friend Billy. Ryan was reluctant at first, but ultimately stepped up on the blocks to try to earn his spot on that relay. It was a close race but Ryan ended up winning and being able to represent his team at the Summer League Championships. This moment would be the fuel to the fire that started and continues to sustain an incredible swimming career.

Best Swimming High School In the World: The Bolles School in Jacksonville is well know as one of the premier swimming high schools in the country and is responsible for producing some of the highest-caliber swimming talent of all-time. Names like Ryan Murphy, Joseph Schooling, Santo Condorelli and Caeleb Dressel (didn’t attend the school, but swam on the associated club team) were all produced in the same city in Florida. Are you kidding me!? In my opinion this is one of the most under-recognized swimming facts as it relates to elite level swimming. Murphy. Schooling. Dressel. Condorelli. Unreal.

“You Belong:” Sergio Lopez was Ryan’s coach at the Bolles School and in Ryan’s words, “I had Sergio at the perfect time in my career.” Sergio taught his swimmers to understand that they belonged in the BIG heats at the BIG meets. When Ryan swam at the 2012 Olympic Trials, just days before his 17th birthday, he finished fourth and six, respectively, in the 100 and 200 backstroke. Ryan says, “A year earlier I would have been terrified to be in that final, but Sergio made me feel like I belonged.”

Swimming with the Cal Pros: Ryan describes Nathan Adrian as “Chairman of the Board” or “The Godfather,” in that everyone at Cal (college guys and pros alike) want to be like Nathan and have a career like Nathan has had. In addition to Nathan, the group is comprised of Tom Shields, a guy who will “push his body to the absolute limit,” and Josh Prenot,who is a guy that “absolutely loves to WORK.” Finally, Andrew Seliskar rounds out the group and can swim nearly every event (2019 NCAA champion in the 200 IM, 200 free, 200 breast) and is a threat to push anyone in practice regardless of what Dave Durden throws at the guys. Swimming with such an accomplished and hardworking group has brought Ryan great success which he hopes to ride through the 2020 Olympics and beyond.

Ryan’s Favorite Stuff (Lightning Round!):

  • Favorite Color: “Blue.”
  • Favorite Food/Restaurant: “Steak, and I guess to be specific, Ruth’s Chris Steak House…unreal.”
  • Favorite Pool to Race In: “I do really like the Texas pool.”
  • Favorite City: “Monaco.”
  • Favorite Event: “I think 100 back short course is really fun. It’s hard for me to say the 200 is my favorite because I have to put in so much effort…man that is not an easy event.”

To hear Ryan Murphy’s entire journey to becoming an Ultimate Swimmer you can find the full episode of the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or anywhere you listen! Hosted by 3x Olympic gold Medalist and captain of the 2000 USA Team, Josh Davis, Ultimate Swimmer is a holistic approach to the sport of swimming; building strong hearts, minds, and bodies. This podcast is geared primarily for those of us in the aquatic disciplines of age-group swimming, college swimming, para-swimming, open water swimming, and masters swimming but we welcome all who are interested in peak performance, pursuing excellence and swimming with purpose.

The Ultimate Swimmer Podcast includes interviews with the biggest names in the sport of swimming past and present and we can’t wait for you to join us on the journey to BECOMING an ULTIMATE SWIMMER!

Past Ultimate Swimmer Guests:

  • Missy Franklin
  • Nathan Adrian
  • Hali Flickinger
  • The Foster Siblings
  • Cody Miller
  • Jason Lezak
  • Cullen Jones
  • Dana Vollmer
  • Ella Eastin
  • Lily King
  • Caeleb Dressel
  • Rebecca Soni
  • Kim Vandenberg
  • Amanda Beard
  • Kelsi Dahlia
  • Rowdy Gaines, Matt Grevers, Allison Schmitt
  • Will Licon
  • Michael Andrew
  • Kristy Kowal
  • Eddie Reese
  • Anthony Ervin
  • Brendan Hansen
  • Lenny Krayzelburg
  • Bruno Fratus
  • Kyle Chalmers
  • Roque Santos
  • Elizabeth Beisel
  • Mary Wayte Bradburne
  • David Plummer
  • Gary Hall Jr.
  • Jill Sterkel
  • Jack Roach
  • Daniel Krueger
  • Matt Biondi
  • Megan Jendrick
  • David Marsh
  • Ryan Murphy
  • Dave Salo


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