2024 U.S. Olympics Trials: Triple Double for Ryan Murphy as He Sweeps Backstrokes


Winning an event at the Olympic Trials is in, amongst itself a momentous feat and deserving of recognition. To win the same event, three Trials in a row is a miracle, to win two events at three trials in row is well, Legendary. 

With his win tonight in the 200 back, Ryan Murphy completed a feat by sweeping the backstroke events at the 2016 Olympic Trials as a 20-year-old, again at the 2021 Olympic Trials as a 25-year-old, and again this week at age 28. Murphy is a six-time Olympic medalist and the reigning silver medalist in the 200 and bronze medalist in the 100.

100 Back Olympic Trial Victories

50 100 Second Place Finisher Margin of Victory
2016 25.23 52.26 (27.03) David Plummer (52.28) .02
2021 25.25 52.33 Hunter Armstrong (52.48) .15
2024 25.28 52.22 Hunter Armstrong (52.72) .50

200 Back Olympic Trials Victories

100 200 Second Place Finisher Margin of Victory
2016 55.46 1:53.95 Jacob Pebley (1:53.95) .83
2021 55.31 1:54.20 Bryce Mefford (1:54.79) .59
2024 55.71 1:54.33 Keaton Jones (1:54.61) .28

What makes the feat even more interesting is the fact that every runner-up to Murphy in the 200 back has trained with Ryan Murphy and Dave Durden at Cal. The 100 doesn’t follow an exactly similar path as David Plummer went to college in Minnesota, and Hunter Armstrong started in West Virginia and transferred to Ohio, but he did find his way to California eventually.

Laura Rosado, my colleague upon seeing Murphy’s win wrote in our group chat:

Death, Taxes and Ryan Murphy +1 in the 200 back

While Muphy may have been the first to complete a triple-double in the backstroke, Michael Phelps pulled off the same feat in the butterfly as he swept the 100 and 200 from 2008 to 2016. He would have won them four trials in a row, except that in 2004, Phelp’s placed 2nd to Ian Crocker‘s WR of 50.76 in the 100 fly.


  • World Record: 1:51.92 — Aaron Piersol (USA), 2009
  • American Record: 1:51.92 — Aaron Piersol (USA), 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:53.08 — Aaron Piersol (USA), 2009
  • World Junior Record: 1:55.14– Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 2017
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: 1:54.20 — Ryan Murphy
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 1:57.50

Top 8:

  1. Ryan Murphy (CAL), 1:54.33
  2. Keaton Jones (CAL), 1:54.61
  3. Jack Aikins (SA), 1:54.78
  4. Tommy Janton (ND), 1:57.12
  5. Jay Litherland (TXLA), 1:57.16
  6. Daniel Diehl (WOLF), 1:57.60
  7. Caleb Maldari (FLOR), 1:58.31
  8. Hunter Tapp (WOLF), 1:59.30

The Backstroke Bears reign again. For the third straight Olympic Trials, the Cal Golden Bears have gone 1-2 in the 200 backstroke.

The constant throughout that streak is Ryan Murphy, who just became the first man to sweep the 100/200 backstroke at three straight Olympic Trials. Murphy did not leave anything to chance in this race, leading from start to finish. He earned the win in 1:54.33, lowering the fastest time in the world this year.

Likely joining Murphy in the 200 backstroke in Paris is Keaton Jones, who had a quietly strong freshman season at Cal. Jones arrived in Indianapolis as the 7th seed with a PB of 1:56.79 from this April. Over the rounds, he’s lowered his best by 2.18 seconds to the 1:54.61 he just hit to grab second place.

Jones was running third behind Murphy and Jack Aikins at the final turn. Aikins was .09 seconds ahead of Jones, but Jones outsplit him 28.92 to 29.18 over the final 50 meters to get his hand on the wall .17 seconds ahead of Aikins.

This is Aikins second third place finish of the meet. He touched third in the 100 backstroke, .02 seconds behind second-place Hunter Armstrong.

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26 days ago

Was it not Jacob Pebley back in 2016 for the Rio Olympics that joined Ryan ?

Steve Nolan
26 days ago

Even the splitting is insanely consistent