World Championships, Day Four Finals: US Olympic Champion Ryan Murphy Wins 50 Metre Backstroke Gold After False Start Fiasco

MURPHY'S LAW: Nice touch from Ryan Murphy who adds the 50m backstroke gold to his 100m title in a re-swim following a sensational false start and immediately consoles a luckless Isaac Cooper. Photo Courtesy World Aquatics.

A Special Thanks to Deep Blue Media for providing the images from this meet

Deep Blue Media

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, Day 4, Men’s Events: US Olympic Champion Ryan Murphy Wins 50 Metre Backstroke Gold After False Start Fiasco

US Olympic champion Ryan Murphy has won a sensational “re-swim” of the men’s 50m backstroke after a false start fiasco forced officials to re-schedule the race – an hour after it was originally swum.

Murphy won the re-swim in 22.64 to add the 50m title to his 100m backstroke gold earlier in the meet and out-touched Australia’s luckless Isaac Cooper (22.73) with Poland’s Kacper Stokowski just 0.01 behind, taking the bronze in 22.74.

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It was Cooper who was left the ponder “what if” after he had touched the wall first in the aborted “no race” ahead of Murphy in a time faster than his own Junior World Record of 22.52 set in the semi-final last night – the fastest swim of the night.

The rising star of the Dolphins men’s team led the field through the 25m mark in the re-swim in 11.06 but the power of Murphy saw the American backstroking star surge to the finish to win in a real nail biter.

As Murphy celebrated his victory, Cooper, the 18-year-old from Queensland, an  Olympic rookie in Tokyo, was motionless as he pondered what might have been before gathering his thoughts and congratulating Murphy, who was also seen consoling a distraught Cooper and Murphy said after the race: “It worked out in my favour, but I feel for Isaac, he’s 18….and winning a world title certainly means a lot. I am going to talk to him in the warm down pool and give him my congratulations.I am used to swimming multiple times in a session and you just tap into that even if it’s kind of   unexpected.”

Cooper broke down when he hugged his father Alan and brother Ben in the grandstand before joining Murphy and Stokowski, putting on a brave face for the photographers.

“That is part of his growing up and also living with it..but is very disappointing to see that’s the result that has come out of it,”  said his father Alan on Channel 9, who also interviewed Australian Head Coach Rohan Taylor about the incident.

“It was a mal-function of a starting system which was presented to us…half the field didn’t swim so as far as fairness goes the only way was to re-swim the race – there was no other alternative…it was disappointing…he has had a fantastic meet, and he still has some relays to go and he’s disappointed as we all are but unfortunately you’ve just got to roll with it,” said Taylor.

The starting error at the beginning of the “first final” forced the event to be rescheduled to later in the session. After the eight athletes heard the starting signal for the title race, multiple beeps from the starting system immediately rang out. The signals caused immediate chaos, with three of the athletes stopping and five proceeding through their races.

According to reports, the situation was the result of a starting error and officials were forced to determine a new time for the event. Ultimately, the decision was made to place the event later in the Night Four program, following completion of the 100 individual medley races.

The havoc in Melbourne marks the second straight edition of the World Championships in which the final of the 50 backstroke has been controversial. At the long-course World Champs in Budapest last summer, American Justin Ress initially appeared to capture the gold medal, only to be disqualified for a finishing violation. Eventually, that DQ was overturned and Ress was awarded the title, with countryman Hunter Armstrong given the silver medal.


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John Rothschild
John Rothschild
1 year ago

Typo – change ‘gatherinbg’ to ‘gathering’.

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