Cal Swimmers Ryan Murphy, Hunter Armstrong Qualify for Olympics

Murphy, Armstrong finish first and second in 100 backstroke in U.S. Olympic Trials
Ryan Murphy competes in the 100-meter backstroke
Ryan Murphy competes in the 100-meter backstroke / Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY

Two swimmers with Cal affiliations will be going to the Olympics based on their 1-2 finish in the 100-meter backstroke finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis on Monday night.

Ryan Murphy, a 2017 Cal graduate, will be going to his third Olympics after finishing first by a sizable margin in the 100 backstroke in a time of 52.22 seconds. 

Hunter Armstrong, a member of the Cal postgrad training group, finished second in a time of 52.72.  The top two finishers in each event at the U.S. Swimming Trials traditionally earn berths to the Olympics, and Armstrong made it my the skin of his teeth. He finished just 0.02 of a second ahead of third-place finisher Jack Aikins.  They were so close that it required the electronic timer to determine which one finished second.

This will be the second Olympics for Armstrong, who won a relay gold medal in the 2020 Olympics.

Olympic competition has become old hat for Murphy, who is the American record holder in the 100 backstroke. He has won six medals in the 2016 and 2021 Olympics, and four of those medals were gold. He won the 100 and 200 backstroke gold medals in the 2016 Olympics, but his two other gold medals were in relays.

He was the No. 1 seed in the 100-meeter backstroke at these trials, and he is not done.  He is also the No. 1 seed in the 200-meter backstroke events and is seeded No. 6 in the 100-meter butterfly.

Also Monday, Brooks Curry, a member of Cal's post-grad training group, finished fifth in the 200 freestyle final. He was 0.51 of second behind the second-place finisher and 1.00 second behind the winner..

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Jake Curtis


Jake Curtis worked in the San Francisco Chronicle sports department for 27 years, covering virtually every sport, including numerous Final Fours, several college football national championship games, an NBA Finals, world championship boxing matches and a World Cup. He was a Cal beat writer for many of those years, and won awards for his feature stories.