Murphy outduels gold medalists in Pro Swim Series
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Ryan Murphy, Chase Kalisz and Missy Franklin are taking different roads to qualifying for the U.S. Olympic swim team this summer and each likes how the route is developing.
Each won events with impressive performances at the second day of the Arena Pro Swim Series.
Murphy, who is still swimming for the University of California-Berkeley, beat a packed field that included gold medalists Michael Phelps and Matt Grevers to win the men's 100-meter backstroke with a time of 53.47.
''I've always been a guy who feeds off energy and swimming against (Phelps and Grevers) definitely adds another level of excitement,'' Murphy said. ''My goal is to get gold medals at some point so looking at them and the way they approach things, I want to get to that level.''
Kalisz, who is redshirting this season at the University of Georgia, won his second event in two nights, taking the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1:57.93. He won the 400-meter individual medley the first night. He said he misses swimming with the Bulldogs in the SEC and NCAA championships, but is sure he's on the right track to make the U.S. team this summer.
''Giving up my family and friends and a year toward a degree, it's all worth it for me to say I gave my best effort going into the Olympic Trials,'' Kalisz said. ''I find myself giving an honest effort every day so I would definitely say it's been worth it.''
Franklin, who turned pro after last year's NCAA swim season, recorded the fastest time in the world this year in winning the women's 100-meter backstroke in 59.80.
''It felt so good finally getting those four digits (under one minute) up there,'' Franklin said. ''I feel like I'm training faster than I've ever trained before and that wasn't translating to races, but now it feels like things are starting to turn over.''
Murphy may have had the best swim of the meet. He trailed Gri Tarasevich of Russia going into the turn at 50 meters, but caught him quickly and won going away. Tarasevich was second at 53.84 and Grevers, the reigning Olympic champion in the event, was third at 54.20. Phelps never seriously challenged the lead, but took fourth with a time of 54.42.
''Anytime you swim in finals at meets like this, the field is going to be stacked so this is just good racing experience,'' Murphy said. ''There are still a lot of improvements to be made, but this is a pretty good starting point.''