Xu Jiayu Wins Stacked Men’s 100 Back Final Over Rylov, Larkin (RACE VIDEO)

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Xu Jiayu Successfully Defended His 100 Back Title. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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World Swimming Championships

Gwangju, Day 3 finals

Men’s 100m backstroke

It was a race that featured the last three world champions as well as the reigning Olympic Champion and world-record holder. But at the end of the day, China’s Xu Jiayu successfully defended his 100 back world title with a 52.43. It wasn’t a particularly fast time as Xu has been under 52 seconds in the past, but the gold medal will last forever as he now joins Aaron Peirsol as the only swimmers to successfully defend the 100 back at the World Championships. Peirsol won three titles from 2003-2007.

The 2013 World Champion Matt Grevers, 2015 World Champion Mitch Larkin and 2016 Olympic Champion and world-record holder Ryan Murphy were part of the stacked race, but could not dethrone the Chinese champion. In fact, it was Russia’s Evgeny Rylov who won the silver medal in 52.67 while Australia’s Mitch Larkin won the bronze medal at 52.77. Larkin returns to the podium for the first time since winning gold in 2015.

USA’s Murphy went out fastest at 25.05 and was under his world record pace. He was leading for about 75 meters before he tightened up over the final 25 and finished in fourth, .01 off the podium at 52.78. Grevers finished in fifth at 52.82. This is the first time the men’s 100 back podium won’t feature an American since 2011.

Murphy indicated before the meet that his focus was not on peaking at the World Championships, but instead defending his Olympic titles next year in Tokyo. Still, it was a surprise to see the veteran struggle down the stretch and watch others cruise by. Murphy covered the last lap in 27.73, sixth-fastest in the field and more than a half-second slower than the coming-home speed of Xu.

Japan’s Ryosuke Irie, competing in his sixth straight World Championships final in the 100 back, placed sixth at 53.22. Irie only has one medal in this event as he won bronze in 2011.

Brazil’s Guilherme Guido (53.26) and Romania’s Robert Glinta (54.22) placed seventh and eighth in the final.

1 XU Jiayu People's Republic of China CHN 52.43
2 RYLOV Evgeny Russian Federation RUS 52.67
3 LARKIN Mitchell Australia AUS 52.77
4 MURPHY Ryan United States of America USA 52.78
5 GREVERS Matt United States of America USA 52.82
6 IRIE Ryosuke Japan JPN 53.22
7 GUIDO Guilherme Brazil BRA 53.26
8 GLINTA Robert Romania ROU 54.22

13 comments

    • avatar
      svayam

      Not much talent for all the money they invest in swimming 🙁

    • Dave Hoover

      Resting for the Olympics…

  1. Brett Davies

    The USA team seems a little unprepared for these World’s.
    That is excepting Caleb Dressel

    • Sean Abbey

      Lilly King is performing as well. Team on a whole looks like dogs though. Not only not medaling but not even putting swimmers in the finals. Relays look to be heading for some major disappointment.

    • Brett Davies

      Sean Abbey Yep just not really there as a whole. Both mens and womens 200 free no finalists. Now when last did that happen to USA.

    • Dave Hoover

      The Men’s 4 x 100 free relay was pretty outstanding with Zach Apple going 46.8 and Adrian a 47.0. It’s nice to get a good World’s meet but it’s the Olympics that matter . The U.S. always seems to show up for that one and leave the SC worlds, etc to the want-a-be’s…

  2. Steven Chung

    Apart from Dressel, the rest of the US team are in free fall. Too much relaxing in Singapore?

    • Pike Hightower

      Which is not the same as being caught with your fly down

    • Dave Hoover

      I don’t know if I’d go that far yet. But we’ve had some mediocre World’s in the past, only to back in your face full throttle at the Olympics, when it truly matters.

  3. Jason Swaim

    A bad weekend once or twice every 4 years is expected. Don’t worry, let’s see what happens next summer.

  4. Yanjing Wang

    Well done everyone hard work.