Vyatchanin let Murphy take to the front in the first 50 yards. The two were fairly close through the second two 50′s, though Murphy was able to pick up a crucial few tenths on each lap.
In the last lap, the older and therefore more physically mature and experienced Vyatchanin, closed very well. Very few swimmers are able to close this 200 backstroke in under 25 seconds, and perhaps nobody is able to do it in the 24.39 that Vyatchanin came home in.
Murphy’s lead from the first 50 carried him though, as he was able to squeak out a win in 1:38.15 – a new 17-18 National Age Group Record (read more about that record here). Vyatchanin was 2nd in 1:38.22, as those swims rank as the third and fifth fastest, respectively, in the history of the event.
USC’s Alex Lendrum was 3rd in 1:42.29 followed by Indiana’s Eric Ress in 1:42.72. Those are two of a handful of competitors for this NCAA title, both seniors, which give’s Lendrum a bit of a psychological edge perhaps. Michigan State’s Jacob Jarzen took 5th in 1:43.10 (he was half-a-second better in prelims).
Arizona’s Michael Sheppard won the B-Final in 1:42.77.