To see all the 2014 Swammy Award winners, presented by TYR, click here.
2014 HONOREE: Ryan Murphy
Ryan Murphy played a part in many records and swam at an elite level throughout the season, helping the Cal Bears add another championship to the trophy case in Berkeley.
Murphy, now a sophomore at Cal, had a remarkable freshman season , finishing at the top of his field in the 100 backstroke, a school record, and 200 backstroke, an NCAA record, and played a significant part in the Bears’ victories in the 200 free relay, American record 200 medley relay, and 400 medley relay. He also placed eighth in the 200 IM at the NCAA Championship meet.
Murphy produced an incredible amount of points throughout the championship weekend and helped Cal bring the title back to Berkeley.
Murphy opened 2014 for the Bears with back to back duals against Arizona State and Arizona in late January, both Cal victories.
Murphy took first in the 200 yard freestyle in 1:37.51, first in the 100 freestyle in 44.27, and was on the on first place 200 freestyle relay, where he split 19.87. The next day, against Arizona, Murphy split a 21.80 on the backstroke leg of the winning 200 medley relay, won the 100 backstroke in 46.85, won the 200 backstroke in 1:41.88, and led off with a 43.92, the fastest split of his relay, on the winning 400 freestyle relay.
Cal and Murphy then hit the road for another pair of dual meets, against CSU-Bakersfield and USC on the second weekend of February, both Cal wins. Against Bakersfield, Murphy swam a 48.74 in the 100 fly, and split a 20.15 on the 200 freestyle relay, both victories. Against USC, he won both the 100 and 200 backstrokes in 46.95 and 1:43.11 respectively.
In the final meet before the Pac-12 Championships, Murphy and Cal dismantled Stanford, with Murphy splitting 21.86 in the backstroke on the 200 medley relay and winning the 100 backstroke 47.02. He also placed second in the 50 freestyle with a 20.34.
At the Pac-12 Championships, Murphy and Cal opened up with a second place finish in the 200 medley relay. Murphy’s 21.32 backstroke split was second in the field to Stanford’s Dave Nolan. He claimed a victory in the 200 freestyle relay with a 19.36 split. He took eighth in the 100 fly with a 46.85.
Murphy then outdueled Nolan in the 100 backstroke. Nolan took the lead through the first 50, splitting a 22.06 compared to Murphy’s 22.34, but Murphy closed in a 23.25 to Nolan’s 23.60. Murphy swama 45.59. Nolan touched in 45.66.
He then split a 45.91, the fastest in the field by over a second, on the Cal 400 medley relay, which took second behind Arizona. He set a Pac-12 Championship Meet record in the 200 backstroke in 1:39.21 and was the only swimmer to break 1:40, despite being seeded third going into the final.
Although the 400 freestyle relay disqualified, Murphy still split a 42.04 for Cal. Cal won the Pac-12 title handily, thanks in part to Murphy’s fast swimming.
Murphy built on his Pac-12 performance, which included being named the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year, to help Cal to their third NCAA title in four seasons at the NCAA Championship Meet two weeks later.
Cal opened up the weekend with a victory in the 200 freestyle relay, on which Murphy split an 18.75. The Cal team finished in 1:15.27 and narrowly missed the American record of 1:15.26, set by Stanford in 2011.
Murphy snuck into the A final of the 200 IM the same day with a 1:42.24 performance in prelims, just .03 seconds ahead of Indiana’s Cody Miller, who was 1:42.27 to finish ninth in prelims. Murphy touched eighth in the A final with a 1:43.91.
Cal got their second relay victory of the evening in part thanks to Murphy’s 44.91 backstroke split. the fastest split in the field on the backstroke. Cal touched in 3:02.66, two full seconds ahead of Florida’s A relay, which touched at 3:04.77. Through day one of the meet, Cal trailed Texas 146-145.
With day two came more Cal victories, as well as an American record. Murphy, Chuck Katis, Tony Cox, and Tyler Messerschmidt combined for a 1:22.83 to break the American record of 1:23.02, held by SwimMAC. Murphy split a 20.90, the second fastest split in the field, behind Kip Darmody’s 20.88.
Murphy got his first individual victory of the meet in the 100 backstroke in 44.63, narrowly missing out on Ryan Lochte’s 44.60 championship and NCAA record. Murphy took down Penn State’s Shane Ryan, who was second in 44.78 and the only other swimmer under 45 seconds. Texas led Cal 318.5 to 312.5 through day two of the meet.
On day three, Murphy blew out the field in the 200 backstroke, and set an NCAA and Championship record in the process. With his 1:37.35, Murphy beat the rest of the field by almost a second and a half and broke Tyler Clary’s record of 1:37.58. Cal took second in the 400 freestyle relay with Murphy putting up the fastest split of his relay, and second fastest in the event, with a 41.67.
With three relay victories and two individual victories, Murphy played a large part in helping his team to the NCAA title.
Over the summer, Murphy took third in the 100m back and fourth in the 200m back at the Pan Pacs. He took second at Phillips 66 Summer Nationals in both the 100m and 200m backstroke.
So far this season, Murphy has helped his team to victories over Pacific, Hawai’i, Stanford, and Wisconsin, as well as a victory at the Georgia Invitational.
At the invitational, Cal’s toughest meet of the season so far, he anchored the winning 200 freestyle relay with a 19.36. He finished sixth in the 200 IM with a 1:45.05, and he led off the 400 medley relay with a 45.30 backstroke split, the fastest time in the nation so far.
On the second day, he posted a 21.26 as the leadoff leg of the 200 medley relay, and won the 100 backstroke with a 45.55. He also swam a 1:34.98 anchor leg on Cal’s runner up 800 free relay.
On the final day, he posted a 1:39.32 in the 200 backstroke, and was on the Cal A 400 freestyle which disqualified. Murphy’s victories played a large part in the Cal victory, as the Bears won the meet by only five points.
Murphy’s dominance of the backstroke events at the NCAA level have clearly had a major impact on the Bears, from the first day Murphy stepped on campus. He ended the 2013-14 season as the top backstroker at the NCAA level, while showcasing his freestyle prowess as well. He ended the season with a pair of individual titles, three relay titles, several NCAA records, and an American record. He continued dominating the backstroke again to open up the 2014-15 season, posting top times in both the 100 and 200 backstroke through the first half of the season. He showed he is the top backstroker, and one of the top all around swimmers in the country, and is our pick for the 2014 male NCAA swimmer of the year.
- Marcin Cieslak- Marcin Cieslak was named the SEC swimmer of the year and was the high point winner of the NCAA Championship meet for the Florida Gators. He finished 2014 and his NCAA career with a victory in the 100 fly (44.84) and 200 IM (1:40.58). He also set school records in the 100 and 200 fly (1:40.19).
- Chase Kalisz- Chase Kalisz posted another strong season for the Georgia Bulldogs by repeating as the NCAA 400 IM champion with a 3:34.50, breaking the American and US Open record in the process. He also took second in the 200 butterfly and helped the Bulldogs to a top five finish at the NCAA championships.
- Kevin Cordes- Kevin Cordes posted the fastest 100 (50.04) and 200 (1:48.66) breaststroke times in history and was named the Pac-12 and NCAA swimmer of the year. He won gold at Pan Pacs as part of the 400 medley teams, and was seventh in the 100 breast.